Showing posts from March, 2019

Yet Even Now…

By  Rev. Kristen Van Stee , Associate to the Bishop As a pastor, I usually prepare for Ash Wednesday every year by reading the assigned Gospel text for the day from Matthew 6 in which Jesus instructs his followers in how to give alms, pray, and fast.   And indeed, that is what I and probably most congregations focused on for Ash Wednesday March 6 th , 2019…but only a week later as I felt the fear of a rising Elkhorn River only a mile south of Pilger where I live, I remembered the often-overlooked text from the prophet Joel that was the first reading for Ash Wednesday:             1 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near— 2 a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness spread upon the mountains a great and powerful army comes; their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them in ages to come. 12 Yet even now, says

We are dust, but we are loved

By Lisa Kramme, Director of Faith Formation And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.   - John 14:16-17 As I stood at the sink washing Mom’s dishes the day after Dad died, she walked up to me, gave me a kiss on the cheek, and said, “That’s from your dad.   He gave me that kiss before he left in the ambulance, and now I’ve given that kiss to you and your brothers and sister, too.”   This happened over 25 years ago, and it’s still a treasured memory in my heart.   The reading from John comes only four chapters before Jesus is arrested and the arduous journey toward the cross begins.   Reading these verses, I’m reminded of my dad’s kiss. I feel convinced that both Jesus, and my dad wanted the people they love to know they are loved and to continue feeling supported by

Lent: not for Sale

By Deacon Karen Melang, Synod Council Secretary One thing you can say for Lent: it isn’t over commercialized. Oh, sure, you’ll see the occasional fish special in the grocery ads, but that’s about it. The business community has never gotten a grip on Lent the way it has on Christmas. And I guess it’s no wonder. After all, if you get people feeling all warm and fuzzy inside and then plunk down in front of them a beautiful, rosy-cheeked, always sleeping baby, his cool and collected mother and surround them both with pudgy angels – why we all fairly beg businesses to take our money just so that feeling can last! But in the real world – the world of political scandals, of hunger at home and abroad, the world of strange and hostile global entanglements, and private worlds of desperation – in that world the warm and glowy feelings engendered by tiny baby Jesus cannot carry the day. There may be no cashing in on a bloody, beaten Jesus, but still the discipl

Dust, the Great Equalizer

By Deacon Timothy Siburg This might make me a bit of a heretical Lutheran, but I am going to start with a confession. I have never been the biggest fan of Lent. It’s not because I don’t appreciate reflection, spiritual practices, slowing down, taking stock of life, and breathing to better listen to what God might be saying. It’s not because a certain liturgical word that might start with an A or H goes unsaid, and in some congregations, is buried. It’s not even because my boss’ favorite hymn might be, “Through the Night of Doubt and Sorrow.” I suspect it’s because for whatever reason, much like the season of Advent, the music that accompanies the season is generally in a minor key. On this point my wife and I couldn’t disagree more. She is an avid cello player. The cello was built for the seasons of Lent and Advent. But what has always left me mystified about Lent is the feeling that perhaps our why of going through all this minor drudgery is to bring ourse