Pastor Olsen

From the Desk of Pastor Olsen

February 2015

The way Mark's gospel tells it, Jesus' disciples are clueless throughout the whole narrative of his life, death and resurrection. They never really get it. It seems, though, that on the Mountain of Transfiguration they might be getting closer. Jesus took Peter, James and John up on a mountain top where his likeness was changed into brilliant light. Appearing with him were Moses, the giver of the law and Elijah, the greatest of the prophets. So this is it. The glorification of Jesus. No wonder Peter wanted to build three booths for the messiah, the law giver and the chief of prophets. It doesn't get much better than this. But once again, we discover that the disciples still don't get it. The voice from heaven must refocus their attention on Jesus. "Listen to him," says the Lord. When the terrified disciples open their eyes, they find themselves in the presence of Jesus only. This is not the end of the road after all. It is only another beginning.

This story is a fitting way to wrap up the season of Epiphany during which the identity of Jesus is gradually unwrapped. "This is my beloved Son." How much clearer can it be? The story is also a good porthole into Lent because it reminds us that, as much as we might think we know about Jesus, we still don't quite get him. In fact, it seems that we are never in more danger of misunderstanding Jesus than when we are confident that we have got him figured out.

The disciplines of Lent remind us that knowing Jesus is a life-long calling. We are never done with learning to follow Jesus. We are constantly in need of having our eyes refocused on him. That is why, once again, you are encouraged to join the whole Body of Christ in renewing your commitment to discipleship on Ash Wednesday at one of our two Eucharist services. You are invited to share in our Midweek Advent Eucharist and fellowship lunch beginning on February 25th and continuing throughout the weeks of Lent. Together with our sisters and brothers from Grace Lutheran Church and St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Teaneck, we will be focusing on the image of the Tree of Life as illuminated by the scriptures. You will find the schedule for Ash Wednesday and the midweek services in this Newsletter.

Regardless whether you are able to join us for Midweek Eucharist, I hope that you will all seek ways of participating in the church's Lenten pilgrimage. I encourage you to make time for prayer in your day; make it a point to read some scripture for ten minutes in the morning or evening; make a positive change in your life that contributes to the building up of Christ's church or the care of creation; thank the people in your life who have motivated, inspired and encouraged you; take the first step toward reconciliation with someone from whom you are estranged. But more than anything else, keep your eyes on Jesus. There is more to him than any of us yet knows!

Pastor Olsen