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Ash Wednesday worship is February 26

Service at 6:30p

Ash Wednesday worship is Wednesday, February 26, at 6:30p in the Sanctuary.
Join us as we begin the journey of Lent in worship led by our Confirmation Students.


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Be the hands and feet of God in the world in and through Lake Harriet UMC. There are volunteer opportunities for people of all ages, interests, and abilities! And, you don’t need to be a member to volunteer!
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Welcome and thanks for visiting! Please take a few minutes to explore the site and get a sense of what the LHUMC community has to offer. We also hope you’ll come visit us for worship or an upcoming event. We look forward to connecting with you and going deeper in our faith together. You are welcome here!

Rev. Karen Bruins

Lead Pastor
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Recent Blog Posts

Running With Mark 57

Day Fifty-Seven – February 23, 2020  



Mark 8:27-9:8 New Revised Standard Version

This passage is rich and full, beginning with Peter’s declaration of Jesus as the Messiah.  Yes! we say, yes! Peter seems at last to understand just who Jesus is.  Yet in just the next paragraph, when Jesus tells them that he must suffer and die, Peter says “NO!”.  A Messiah who teaches and heals, Peter accepts.  A Messiah who will suffer and die, Peter cannot accept.


Jesus goes on to talk about “taking up their cross” and that anyone who would follow him must do that.  He is saying this just a short time before he himself will take up his cross, carry it to Golgatha where he will be crucified.  Along the route, a man named Simon of Cyrene, will be called upon to help carry the cross.  Simon will be one of the first to take up the cross, both literally and figuratively.  Simon’s life would be forever changed by what he witnessed that day.


Finally, Jesus takes Peter, James and John up the mountain.  There Jesus is transfigured.  Transfiguration is, according to the dictionary, “a complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state”.  The gospel says that Jesus’ clothes became dazzling white.  Do you suppose his physical body changed?  Certainly his countenance changed in that moment when, just before he will suffer and die, God grants to Jesus a powerful time of connection. 


I like what author Frederick Buechner says, “It was the holiness of Jesus shining through his humanness.”  In that holy and sacred moment, the three disciples saw who Jesus truly was. 


Prayer for Transfiguration Sunday

Our request for the light of God to shine in our lives brightly and in full force is heard and will be answered.


Radiant God, source of light,

as you surrounded Jesus with your glory,

so you come to us in penetrating brightness.


You catch us off guard and expose our weakness.


We choose the limelight while you call us to explore the shadows

and brighten the darkness.


We seek the spectacular while you bind up the broken in

countless acts of mercy.


We seek to stay on the mountain or in a comfortable pew while

you walk to the valleys of need.


Radiant God,

fill us with light and courage to carry good news into all the

corners of the world and to bring back the joy of your presence.





Transfiguration by Hillsong

Jesus Take Us to the Mountain – Hymn


Prayer Focus:

Pray for your own life to be transformed.


Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

[1] https://www.manyvoices.org/blog/resource/prayer-for-transfiguration-sunday/


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Running With Mark 56

Day Fifty-Six – February 22, 2020  



Mark 9:14-29

I believe Lord, help my unbelief.  What an interesting statement.  What does it mean to say I believe and help my unbelief?


I read a helpful article on the United Methodist Church website called, “Rethinking Doubt” by Rev. Mandy Sloan McDown.[1]  She writes:


Anne Lamott, a writer of disarming honesty about her faith, tells a story of talking with an Episcopalian priest and confessing her doubt in God. His response was this: “Anne, the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty.”

He went on to say, “Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.”


Every religious tradition builds a framework for how we understand God and God’s relationship to us. This is what defines our doctrine, which gets conveyed in our teaching and preaching.

But the problem with doctrine is that it leaves very little room for wonder on our part, or mystery on God’s part.

Religious doctrines seeking to answer questions that cannot be answered by humankind are working hard to present a coherent picture for how we could believe in a Spiritual force that is often un-seeable. Perhaps the instinct is to explain away the mystery, so that there is an air-tight argument for God.

The problem is that this approach eliminates the possibility of doubt as a reasonable way to seek to know God better. Doubt is seen as a lack of faith, an expression of our skepticism of God’s very existence. We seem to think that if we can’t fully understand or agree with everything the church teaches, then we must not believe in any of it.

How, then, do we invite our doubts to help shape our understanding of God? How can we re-think doubt as a tool of our faith, rather than an obstacle to it?


What do you think? How do we allow our doubts to help shape our faith?


I had a seminary professor who once encouraged us to doubt our doubts.  Good advice! 


“Doubt is the ants in the pants of faith.” Frederick Buechner



God of Grace and God of Glory

Canvas and Clay


Prayer Focus:


Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

[1] https://www.umc.org/en/content/rethinking-doubt


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Running With Mark 55

Day Fifty-Five – February 21, 2020  



Mark 9:9-13 New Revised Standard Version


This story immediately follows the Transfiguration, where Jesus had been transfigured and appeared with Moses and Elijah.  This encounter took place on a mountaintop, which in the Bible is the sacred place where encounters with God often occur. 


Jesus, Peter, James and John are coming down the mountain.  Jesus tells them not to say anything about what they witnessed on the mountain until after the Son of Man has risen from the dead.  That one sentence is packed with so much!  How are Peter, James and John feeling after what they have witnessed?  Do Jesus’ clothes still appear to be dazzling white or has that faded? Then Jesus talks again about the death of the Son of Man. Do you suppose the disciples are finally starting to believe him when he says he will suffer and die? 


Now he is talking about being risen from the dead.  The Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead, but the Sadducees did not.  Those that believed in the resurrection of the dead believed that it would happen to all at the end of time.  It would be confusing to the disciples to have someone risen from the dead while the rest of them were still alive.  The disciples talk amongst themselves about what it all could mean.


Jesus coming down the mountain, now begins his journey to Jerusalem. He still has a lot to say and do, which perhaps is why he doesn’t want the disciples to be talking about what they have seen.  It could also be that their understanding is still limited.


The disciples ask why Elijah must come first.  They know that Scripture teaches that Elijah will prepare the way for the Messiah.  Jesus says Elijah has already come, and they did to him whatever they pleased.  Jesus applies this prophecy to John the Baptist, the wild and wooly prophet who had declared a baptism of repentance.  John had baptized Jesus in the river Jordan, where God had appeared, in the form of a dove, declaring Jesus God’s own beloved son.  John was killed by an order of Herod.  John’s role is finished.  He has fulfilled his role in the coming of the Messiah. 


What remains is for Jesus to complete his Messianic mission.  This final journey will encompass the chapters 11-16 of Mark.


Chapters 1-8 have asked, “Who is Jesus?”

Chapters 8b-10 have asked, “What does it mean for Jesus to be the Messiah?”

Chapters 11-16 will show how Jesus becomes king.

Are you prepared to walk this final road with Jesus?  It won’t be easy, but I encourage you to do it.  Spend time on the daily readings from Mark.  Meditate on them as we walk with Jesus to the cross, the tomb and Easter.



Oh the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus – sung by Audrey Assad

How Glorious the Splendor – Tommy Walker


Prayer Focus:

What spiritual practices will you use this Lenten season?


Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

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Lake Harriet News: February

Lake Harriet United Methodist Church is a vibrant, active, inclusive congregation whose mission is to welcome, inspire, and nourish its members and community to be the hands and feet of God in the world.

Lake Harriet News is our monthly print newsletter for sharing the church’s programs, services, and abundant opportunities to participate in community ministries. We invite you to click on the image, read the document, and explore the opportunities to live out our mission in your daily life in and through the church.


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Address: 4901 Chowen Ave S.,
Minneapolis, MN 55410
Phone: 612-926-7645