Hope Lutheran Church seeks to strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ,
to proclaim the gospel to others, and to strive for unity in Christ.

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113 South Jefferson Street
P.O. Box 87
Minneota MN 56264

(507) 872-6446 Church Office
(507) 872-5215 Kitchen

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Hope Lutheran, Minneota, MN

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A Note from the Pastor:

Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning…return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love…Joel 2 12-13 (NRSV)

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety in him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves [and] keep alert…1 Peter 1:6-7 (NRSV)

Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:30-31 (NRSV)

Is such the fast I desire? A day for men to starve their bodies? Is it bowing the head like a bulrush and lying in sackcloth and ashes…No, this is the fast I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of [bondage] to let the oppressed go free…it is to share your bread with the hungry, and to take the wretched poor into your home; when you see the naked to clothe him, and not to ignore your own kin. Isaiah 58:5-7 (The Jewish Study Bible)

As you read this, we are well into the season of Lent. The word lent comes from the Germanic word for “long.” It probably refers to those long days in February and March when it seems that winter will never end, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. In the history of the church, what we now call Lent was a 40-day period of catechetical (teaching) preparation for baptism on Holy Saturday or Easter Sunday. Now those 40 days (excluding Sundays) serve as time for us to focus on our relationship with God, deepening that relationship, and renewing our commitment to serving our neighbor and the common good.

In the more recent past, Lent has become a time of focusing on our sinfulness, and doing acts of penance, in an attempt to make up for how awful we are. In the best of times, most of us do not need anything else to make us feel bad about ourselves. Last month I shared one of my favorite quotes, and it bears repeating. My friend Pastor Jim Gustafson once said, “Lent is not about how bad we are, but about how good God is.” We acknowledge that “we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves,” but we rejoice that “…God who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

In this season of Lent, let us focus on the goodness of God, and sharing our many blessings with the world.

Peace Y’all

Pastor Allen