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All are welcome to worship at Sharon Lutheran Church.  Worship gathers us as one body, invites us to hear God's Word, leads us to experience God's grace in baptism and communion, and then sends us out to engage and serve the world.

Sharon Lutheran Church
1720 S. 20th St. 
Grand Forks, ND 58201

Office: 701-772-3122
Email: office@sharonlutheran.org

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Lent 2017 - Pastor Dominique

What Wondrous Love is this!

Dear Friends,

Easter is coming up and conversations about Lent have begun: “What are you giving up for Lent this year?” “Isn’t it more popular to add something than take something away nowadays?” “Do Lutherans even give things up for Lent?”

Max and I were planning a meal recently and picking out which pop to bring. Our friend stopped us and said, “Oh no, don’t worry about that, I don’t drink pop. I gave it up for Lent one year and just never picked it up again. I used to drink it like water, but now it actually makes me sick.” This is a silly example, but how fitting that their life — well, at least their pop drinking habit — was changed forever during Lent. After all, Lent is the season that we use to prepare for Easter: when Jesus changed our lives and the world forever.

I doubt we really feel like we need to prepare or brace ourselves for Easter. It’s not like there’s going to be a ton of surprises; we’ve heard the story of Jesus’ death told on Good Friday and the story of the resurrection told on Easter before. No matter how many times we hear these stories though, it’s hard to really take in their meaning: that all of our sins are forgiven, that we are never alone in suffering, that love wins, and that we are offered new life here and now.

The love of Jesus is wondrous. If we could really let it sink in, we wouldn’t carry guilt or shame. We would live in a world where people love their neighbors as themselves. We would experience a new kind of life. This love changes your life forever. One way we are intentionally preparing as a community to hear this message about Jesus’ love and let it change our lives is by gathering together for worship every Wednesday in Lent. Our worship will center around the theme: What Wondrous Love is This!

What part of the story is hardest for you take in? What part of Jesus’ love is most difficult to accept or to share? You may already have a favorite Lenten practice, but if you are still looking for something meaningful, the Prophet Isaiah gives us some helpful insight. In Isaiah 58 God is talking to the Israelites and gives them direction about the type of fast that will help prepare them to see, know, accept, and share God’s love.

This is the kind of fast day I’m after:

to break the chains of injustice,
to lighten the burden of those who work for (or with) you,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to cancel debts…
Share your food with the hungry,
bring the homeless poor into your house,
cloth the naked and shivering,
be available to your own families.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn… (Isaiah 58.6-8).

These verses could be a helpful place to start in choosing a Lenten practice. Did one of these verses stick out to you? What’s one thing you could do each day or each week in relation to that verse? How might God be preparing you to take in and share Christ’s wondrous love? Could it change your life forever?

God’s peace to you this Lenten season,
Pastor Dominique Buchholz 

Last Published: March 22, 2017 8:31 AM