St John Evangelical Lutheran Church

In - Between
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Joe Natwick, Associate Pastor


Last month witnessed the start of Lent for billions of Christians around the globe. As per our rich and mysterious tradition, our journey through Lent began in ashes. As I’ve thought more this month, I have come to realize that Ash Wednesday is an incredibly strange experience. The world we live in pretty much avoids death at all costs. We do this in many ways, whether glorifying death in action films or ignoring it entirely. So it really is remarkable that we start the season of Lent with ashes and a promise, “you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Basically: you’re going to die.


No matter how you explain it or try to theologize it away, there will always be something pointedly unpleasant for pastors as we smear the ashes on the heads of young children. Looking into the bright eyes of a toddler and telling them they are ashes is utterly repulsive to a culture that upholds the promise of long and purpose-filled lives.


But Lent is a time to be honest. Death is a very real part of every person’s life. It is often a devastating experience for families made worse by the isolation of a culture that turns away. Much to the dismay of his disciples, Jesus was not afraid to talk about his death because he knew that death would not have the final word. So during lent we choose let someone mark us and remind us we all have an expiration date. That’s pretty honest.


Lent is really a time for calling a thing what it is. Life is hard. Life is messy. Sometimes, life is covered in ashes – ashes of depression, ashes of addiction, ashes of abuse, or ashes of fear. But the beauty of Lent is that we don’t have to pretend our lives are squeaky clean. We don’t have to pretend we have it all figured out. Jesus didn’t come to save us from our squeakiness. Jesus came to join us in the ashes, so that we would find hope of a new life in him.


So as we continue our journey toward Easter, we find ourselves somewhere between the honesty of ashes and the hope of an empty tomb. As we make our way toward Easter, we find ourselves somewhere between death and resurrection, between sinner and saint, and between death and new life. This is what I truly love about being a Lutheran. We can claim that our lives are a beautiful paradox in a world that prefers black and white. In a world that would rather have either sinners or saints, we say we are both, because it is there in the paradox – in the in-between – that we will always find the cross.

End of Year Celebration! Wednesday, May 18 @ 5:00 PM
Confirmation Wednesday, May 18 @ 7:00 PM
Handbell Choir rehearsal Thursday, May 19 @ 5:15 PM
Vocal Choir rehearsal Thursday, May 19 @ 6:30 PM
WORSHIP Thursday, May 19 @ 7:00 PM

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SUNDAYS 8:00 am & 9:30 am

9:30 am is also available on

Facebook Livestream &

broadcast on KDIX radio


WEDNESDAYS:  6:00 pm 

Church School worship


THURSDAYS: 7:00 pm









St John Lutheran Church
146 6th AVE W
Dickinson, ND 58601

Phone: (701) 225-6747
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