Lent & Easter Schedule

 Lenten Truth Talks

Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ at Mount Olivet,

Lent invites us to focus on the cross and resurrection of Jesus as tangible signs of God’s profound love for us, reminding us that God will go to any lengths to communicate God’s acceptance and reassuring us that there is nothing we may experience in this life that God does not understand or cannot redeem.

I have always found it striking that the first words of the angelic messenger on Easter morning are “Do not be afraid.” Jesus’ cross and resurrection not only assure us of forgiveness for all that may have happened in the past, they also free us to live in the present and future with both courage and joy, as we know that God is with us through all things and that even death cannot defeat the power of God’s love. Indeed, the command to “be not afraid” is the most frequently repeated message in Scripture, occurring more than one-hundred and twenty-times, and has been chosen as our Lenten theme this year.

Anchored by God’s promise of presence and obedient to God’s command to “be not afraid,” this Lent we are introducing “Truth Talks,” a time when we gather as a family of faith to tackle topics that can seem frightening or difficult to talk about, yet demand our attention and care. This first year, we will talk about suicide, something that has touched many in our faith community both directly and indirectly.
I realize this is a sensitive, even difficult topic, but I also know it is vital that we take it on. Did you know that suicide is the second most frequent cause of death in Minnesota for those between the ages of 15-34(1) and that the rate of suicides has increased in the state by nearly 50% since 2000? (2) For these reasons, we feel this is a topic we cannot avoid. Moreover, we believe that we are in a unique position to discuss this topic from the point of view of the Christian faith.

We are working with members of our Pastoral Care team, Counseling Service, and outside experts to help us put together two “Truth Talks” that are age-appropriate, sensitive, faithful, and helpful. Our goals are:

  • to make sure those who may have contemplated suicide do not feel so alone and isolated by communicating that their church family is present for them;
  • to help all of us feel more equipped to support, love, and encourage those who have lost loved ones to suicide; and
  • to help us be alert to signs of suicidal thinking or behavior and to offer hope and resources to people in despair.

These conversations will be grounded in our faith and are an important part of living into our identity and commitment to be a community that supports each other in all circumstances and provides a safe place to discuss even difficult matters in response to God’s call to be not afraid.
The Truth Talks will involve sharing information and resources, time for prayer, and elements of Lenten worship. They will last approximately 40 minutes in total and will occur twice at each of our campuses.

The schedule for these Truth Talks is as follows:

Truth Talks Mpls 7pm Wed Feb 21 West 7pm Wed Feb 28
Suicide: Responding with Faith & Care “You Are Not Alone”
Pastor Lose and John R. Henrich, M. Div, PsyD, LP, Director

Truth Talks Mpls 7pm Wed Mar 7 West 7pm Wed Mar 14
Suicide: Responding with Faith & Care “What Can I Say? What Can I Do?”
Pastor Lose and Shannon Himango, MA, LMFT, Child, Adolescent & Family Therapist

We are planning for our Confirmation students to attend and arranging choir schedules so that as many of our youth as are interested can participate. We also are offering a $5 meal from 6pm to 7pm ahead of the Truth Talks to make it as easy as possible for all our households to attend, as we believe sharing this experience as a family can be very helpful.

Please join us as we enter into this Lenten experience obedient to God’s command to “be not afraid,” committed to becoming a place where we can face all things together, and confident of God’s promises of presence, grace, and redemption as made so clear in Jesus’ cross and resurrection. It will be an important time in the life of our congregation and community.

– Pastor Lose

(1) American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (afsp.org)
(2) Minnesota reached an all-time low of 8.9 suicides per 100,000 people in the year 2000, according to the Health Department. The state’s 2015 suicide rate was 13.1 per 100,000 people. https://www.twincities.com/2016/09/07/minnesotans-suicides-record-high-in-2015/