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Pastor Elizabeth Rheinfrank 

As the sun with longer journey melts the winter’s snow and ice, with its slowly growing
radiance warms the seed beneath the earth, may the sun of Christ’s uprising gently
bring our hearts to life
” (“As the Sun with Longer Journey,” ELW 329).

Dear Friends in Christ,

As we continue our Lenten journey at St. John’s, we are finding numerous ways to grow
deeper in our relationship with Christ. In our adult Lenten book study on The Difficult
Words of Jesus by Amy-Jill Levine, we have been exploring how Jesus' original hearers
understood some of his most challenging teachings and how we can interpret them
today in the context of the Gospel and the Bible as a whole and find meaning for our
own lives. During our first session, one participant spoke about doing something new for
Lent this year rather than giving up something. While Christians traditionally observe
Lent with practices of prayer, fasting, and generosity, we explored, as a group, different
types of spiritual practices that can help us draw closer to God, including things like
establishing a time to read the Bible every day, changing the time of day we pray to
improve our focus, connecting with God through the arts, and spending more time in
nature. Our Wednesday evenings begin with dinner at 6:30 PM, followed by the book
study from 7-8 PM in the Undercroft. All are welcome!

This year, the youth at St. John's are engaged in their own practice for Lent called the
Lenten Tree. During the Sunday School opening, students reflect upon how they have
shown God’s love for others that week or spent time praying, reading the Bible, or
engaging in other spiritual practices. They write one thing they did on a piece of paper
shaped like a leaf and post it on the tree. What a fantastic way to get all of us thinking
about making time and space for our relationship with God!

While we know that we do not have to do anything to earn God’s grace and love, Lent
offers us an opportunity to rest in God's boundless love and to pay attention to God's
presence in our lives. When we create time and space for prayer, reading the Bible,
silent reflection, and other spiritual practices, we become more aware that God’s love is always present for us. Lent is a time of spiritual renewal. It is a time to explore new spiritual practices that help us feel closer to God or to strengthen existing ones, so that we may grow in faith and love toward God and one another and live life more abundantly, as God intends for us.

Many blessings to you this Lent on your journey to the foot of the cross and to wholeness and healing in Christ Jesus!

With you in Christ,
Pastor Elizabeth Rheinfrank

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