Observing Lent

Pastor Andy Romstad
Cambridge Lutheran Church

You’ve never looked into the eyes of someone who didn’t need to grow spiritually. The season of Lent, which began Feb. 22, Ash Wednesday, is a time for spiritual growth.

Spiritual growth is a process. The process may include prayer, scripture, study and fasting or solitude. Spiritual practices help move us from death to life – death (despair, darkness, sin) being invaded by life through the Spirit. “For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death.” (Romans 8)

Historically, Lent has been practiced by Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans and more recently, other protestant churches such as Methodists.

The practice of observing Lent is ancient. The focus in Lent is on the more significant of life’s questions. Our focus this Lent at Cambridge Lutheran Church on Wednesdays is “Suffering & Hope.” Suffering is the question people ask. “If God is love, why is there suffering in the world?”

There is no simple answer. Words do not give adequate explanation. Platitudes and cliché’s are not helpful. If there is an “answer” to be found, it is rooted in our experience of life meeting our experience of God.

As a resource, we’re making available “A Book of Comfort: When You Are Suffering,” by the late Al Rogness, former president of Luther Seminary. Rogness spoke from the perspective of having lost a son in a tragic car accident.

Worship will be held Wednesdays in the Sanctuary at 11:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. In the Fellowship Hall, worship will be held at 7 p.m. We receive ashes with these words: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

In the Sanctuary, worship will include guest speakers. On March 7, storyteller Maren Hinderlie, born in a Japanese prison camp during WWII, will tell stories of “Suffering & Hope.” Maren was strongly influenced by Holden Village where her father, Carroll Hinderlie, was director for many decades.

On March 14, the director of Congregational Relations for Lutheran Social Services, Pastor Richard Andersen, will speak on “How LSS Brings Hope to Suffering.”

On March 21, Amy (Severson) Strydom, who grew up in Cambridge, will bring her perspective on hope in the midst of suffering.

In the Fellowship Hall, worship will speak of “Suffering & Hope” through the moving story of Ed Dobson’s experience with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). We’ll enter his story as he interprets faith as a follower of Jesus in the midst of disease. We’ll also use clips from Rob Bell’s Nooma films on “Suffering & Hope.” To wrap up the series, Paul Anderson, a Lutheran pastor in California for 25 years, will speak on healing and lead prayers for healing for individuals, Wednesday evening, March 28.

Suffering strengths our hunger for the hope available through Jesus Christ. During Lent, Christians and non-Christians are invited to participate in what the Christians before you have done for many hundreds of years, entering deeper questions of life’s meaning.