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  • Denise Murray

Lenten Reflection

Lenten Reflections

During recent services at Trinity Lutheran in Hovland, we have been reminded by Pastor Bill Beckstrand that Lent is a time for deep cleaning, for opening up space where God can create something new. It’s not really a time for “giving up silly things” like chocolate (thank goodness!) but a time for “giving up” things like bitterness, jealousy, impatience and complacency. Ouch! Opening our inner space for reflection and for the hard work of deep cleaning allows a place where God can offer gifts of renewal and meaningful change. The job of a custodian seems like an appropriate example of this necessary work. Serving as your custodian has, hopefully, allowed Bethlehem folks to focus on ministry areas other than mopping, vacuuming and cleaning bathrooms! It has been a joy to meet and visit with many of you as I’m cleaning and you come and go from the church building, living out the ministries that God has given you.

In the spring of 2021, my daughter and I were invited to contribute to a Lenten devotional for writers and artists. She and I collaborated on the following poem. It is based on John 6:41-51 and Ephesians 5:1,2. I invite you to read these texts during Lent. (below) I also invite you to explore the theme of changing from one form to another to produce a “whole” that is good. What is more delicious than freshly baked bread? Yet, notice the change that is required to produce something edible, and the extraordinary work on God’s part to bring about change in us. Are we ready?!

Living Bread

Yeast, Sugar, Water, Air

Dormant, waking

Mystery rising

Night sky rent, Divine One enters

How a king child in a stall?

Myrrh, incense

Fragrance rising

Bread of Heaven, humble all

Knead, Work, Muscle, Mold

Active, forming

Essence rising

Hearts are rent, Servant enters

How a God, flesh, us does call?

Learn, repent

Justice rising

Bread of Earth, hungry all

Fire, Change, Crust, Table

Expectant, waiting

Hope is rising

Noon sky rent, Salvation enters

Now Creator stems the fall!

Reach, restore

Forever risen

Bread of life, welcome all

By Kristen Carlsgaard

& Martine Redshaw

Author's Note: Like many folks in Cook County, Kristen Carlsgaard has worn many hats. Currently, she serves as Bethlehem’s custodian. She has recently taken on the role of Ministerial Assistant at Trinity Lutheran in Hovland.

Martine Redshaw, a high school junior, has a multitude of interests. She serves as a church council member at Trinity and enjoys mentoring confirmation students.

John 6:41-51

41 Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not complain among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me, and I will raise that person up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

Ephesians 5:1-2

1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, 2 and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

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