Special Lenten Worship Event

By Susan Bell and Pastor John Christopherson

At both the morning (11:15 a.m.) and evening (6:30 p.m.) services on Wednesday, February 21, pastor and artist, Paul Oman truly captivated the family of First Lutheran by creating two large paintings based on the Lenten Week 2 theme of "I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). Pastor Oman's skill and fluency with his large brushes, dipped in a multitude of vibrantly-colored acrylic paints, was a delight to watch. As each worship service unfolded (from the opening Welcome, to the Scripture Readings and Sermon, to the singing of congregational hymns), Oman's large sweeping brush-strokes, as well as his quick dabbing touches of detail, came together to reveal the amazing impression of Jesus embracing and weeping with Lazarus' sisters, Mary and Martha (morning service), and Jesus calling Lazarus to rise from his burial tomb (evening service). The Gospel message in this Gospel story, so full of pathos, came to life for the eye as well as the ear – assisting the "delivery" of the wondrous resurrecting power of God's love – when words struggle to carry such heavy freight.

As Pastor Oman began to paint the canvases, there were several minutes into the services where it was quite suspenseful as we tried to “figure-out" what he was portraying. (At one point, during the evening Children's Sermon, Pastor Lars Olson asked the children what they saw early on in the painting's development.  He teased them by saying, "Well, I see a hippopotamus!" To which they all laughed with delight.)  "Ooohs!" and "Ahhhs!" could be heard from the congregation when Pastor Oman turned the canvases 180 degrees to reveal the swishes and dabs as buildings in the background, a crowd of people watching, a tomb and lush greenery surrounding the main figures in the stories. His technique of adding strokes of bright colors for shading and white for highlights brought forth two vivid paintings and a worship experience unlike any other.

Several members of the congregation I spoke with were amazed and inspired, hoping to experience his artistry again in the future. If you missed the services or simply want to take-in Paul's fine work again, both paintings are hanging in the atrium through the Lenten season. Prints of the two paintings may be ordered in a variety of sizes. Pick up an order form at the Information Desk.

Both worship experiences were broadcast with Facebook Live and received many views and comments. To learn more about Paul Oman and his Drawn to the Word ministry, please visit:

Lenten Daily Devotional

Our annual Lenten Devotional is available in the church atrium or click the cover image for a PDF to read or download.

Beginning Ash Wednesday, forty days of devotions written by the community of First Lutheran for your encouragement and shared prayer throughout Lent. If you are not yet a subscriber of our digital publications, you can sign up to receive the daily email devotion and weekly congregational eNews by clicking the Subscribe button above.


“I AM...” Lent 2018

The gospel of John has seven famous “I Am” sayings of Jesus. Each week in Lent the First Lutheran community will gather around Wednesday worship and daily devotions to hear how Jesus claims to be God in the flesh who provides care, compassion, and his very life for the world.

...the Way, the Truth and the Life – John 14:6
...the Resurrection and the Life – 11:25
...the Bread of Life – John 6:48
...the Light of the World – John 8:12
...the Door – John 10:9
...the True Vine – John 15:1
...the Good Shepherd – John 10:11

Wednesday Lenten Schedule

February 14 – March 28
Worship: 11:15 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Meals: Soup & bread lunch - Noon
 Evening meal - 5 p.m.

Feb. 28 Lunch - Chicken noodle soup
Supper - Pork loin, mashed potatoes/gravy, green beans

Mar. 7 Lunch - Ham and bean soup
Supper - Chicken, cheesy potatoes, corn

Mar. 14 Lunch - Pasta fagioli soup   
Supper - Meatloaf, mashed potatoes/gravy, peas

Mar. 21 Lunch - White chicken chili
Supper - Taco bar

Mar. 28  Holy Week - No Wednesday worship services or meals

Holy Week Services

Palm Sunday, March 25
8, 9:30 & 11 a.m.
Preacher: Pastor Lars Olson

Maundy Thursday, March 29
Noon & 7 p.m.
Holy Communion
(Fifth-grade First Communion at 7 p.m.) 
Preacher: Jeff Backer, Intern Pastor

Good Friday, March 30
Noon &  7 p.m.
Preacher: Pastor John Christopherson

Easter Vigil: Saturday, March 31
5 p.m. Sanctuary, Holy Communion
Preacher: Pastor Katherine Olson

Easter Sunday, April 1
6, 8, 9:30 & 11 a.m.
Preacher: Dr. John Christopherson, Senior Pastor