Lent 2022

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I am because you are

 

Wednesday Lent Services 

Ubuntu: The
Beloved Community

6:30-7:20 PM in the Sanctuary + Livestreamed

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Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs

MN Council of Churches

March 9

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Rev. Jon Anderson

Luther Seminary Director of Rural Ministry

March 16

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Astein Osei

Superintendent of SLP Public Schools

March 23

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Rev. Jen Nagel

University of Lutheran Church of Hope

March 30

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Rabbi Harold Kravitz

Adath Jeshurun Synagogue in Minnetonka

April 6

As Lutheran Christians, we understand what it means and looks like to be the beloved or new community John speaks of, through a somewhat narrow perspective, our lens is limited.  Ubuntu, i.e. I can only truly understand what this community might look like, when I hear how my neighbor understands what it might look like.  What am I missing? What can I learn by listening to my neighbor’s vision of this community?  What do these new learnings call me to do? 

 

The African understanding of Ubuntu, though not “Christian” in background, enriches what we believe God intends for this whole planet.  We’ll hear from our neighbors about their understanding of Beloved Community” 

March 9        Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs, MN Council of Churches 

March 16      Rev. Jon Anderson, Luther Seminary Director of Rural Ministry 

March 23      Astein Osei, Superintendent of SLP Public Schools 

March 30      Rev. Jen Nagel, Senior Pastor from the University Lutheran Church of Hope 

April 6          Rabbi Harold Kravitz, Senior Rabbi at Adath Jeshurun Synagogue in Minnetonka

Sunday Worship

Ubuntu: Embodied Among Us in Jesus

8:45 AM + 10:45 AM 

In John’s Gospel, he is showing us a Jesus who models what the ‘new community, the ‘beloved community’ (this concept is from I John 4:19-21 and MLK made it famous), but we’re lifting up the whole new way of living that Jesus brings and what that can look like: humble (foot-washing), caring for each other as family (Son, behold your mother. Mother, your son.), broken, but forgiving, grace-filled (woman caught in adultery), Jesus can bring new life from death, unbind and free people (raising of Lazarus). 

 

These qualities of John’s new community clearly align with Ubuntu values.  Looking at these texts in John helps us (Westwood, Lutheran, Christians) define this new community per our tradition, then on Wednesdays we expand our understanding, hear it through, perhaps a different lens from our guests. 

 
 

Sunday Westwood U

Ubuntu: Repairers of the Breach

9:50-10:40 AM in Good Shepherd Hall (recorded)

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Pastor Paul Slack

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Dr. Darrell Jodock

Darrell Jodock says that what God intends for the world is wholeness, healthy relationships amongst people…also reciprocity, mutuality.  (Ubuntu) So how does this happen when some people have benefitted from history and others have been disadvantaged by it?  It requires repentance (turning around to a new way), relinquishing power, and doing justice.  We will explore what changes are needed for communal relationships that live up to God’s vision. 

 

Westwood’s Racial Equity Statement includes this statement.  “We strive to live as ‘repairers of the breach’.”  What does this phrase have to do with Westwood’s racial equity commitment?  Further, what does it mean for a congregation who is about to launch a $1 million appeal with all proceeds going to a new affordable High-Quality Early Learning Center called Rise Early Learning Center.  Isn’t a congregation’s gift of this magnitude automatically an example of living out this call?  Or are there additional questions that our commitment to racial equity compels us to ask as we seek to be faithful to God’s call.  The phrase “repairers of the breach” comes from Isaiah 58:12.  

 

We invite you to join us on our Lenten Sundays from 9:50-10:40 as we explore these questions in light of our upcoming Prayer of Good Courage Appeal.  We are grateful for the leadership of Pastor Paul Slack, the Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion, who will facilitate these sessions.  We are also delighted to welcome back Dr. Darrell Jodock, Professor Emeritus of Religion at Gustavus College, to provide some theological reflections for our conversation. 

Schedule + Topic for Sunday Westwood U:

March 6   Pastor Jason Van Hunnik will share reflections on why we are having this conversation.  Pastor Paul Slack will have a dialogue with Pastor Jason following his reflection. 

March 13   Dr. Darrell Jodock will share some theological reflections for our conversation.  Pastor Slack will have a dialogue with Dr. Jodock following his reflections. 

March 20   Using Isaiah 58 and Westwood’s Vision and Racial Equity statements, Pastor Slack will invite us to wonder what the Prophet Isaiah proclaims about repentance, who it’s for, what it means, and why it matters for Westwood. 

March 27   Pastor Slack will continue the conversation from the previous week, this time focusing on the question of justice. 

April 3   Pastor Slack will conclude our series by focusing on the question of “healing” coming out of Isaiah 58.  What does “healing” mean?  Who is “healing” for?  What does it mean for Westwood as it prepares to launch the Prayer of Good Courage appeal?