Pastor Larson’s Corner: Learning and Lent

Pastor Larsons Corner

During my stay in Phoenix this winter I rented a car that was brand new and included many automatic features. The first time I drove the car at night I noticed that the headlights automatically came on. After driving only a few miles I was pulled over by the police for not having any tail lights. I learned the hard way that the lights that come on automatically are running lights and not your lights for night driving. The officer was somewhat sympathetic and said that he would not give me a ticket if I took a six-hour online safe driving course.

I gladly accepted his offer, although it took closer to 10 hours to complete the course. When I did, I knew more about the safe operation of a motor vehicle than I previously thought was possible. I always considered myself a safe and knowledgeable driver. I quickly discovered that I had a lot more to learn. For example, if I had read the section on familiarizing yourself with a vehicle before driving it, I may not have been stopped by the police in the first place.

It surprised me how much I could learn by taking a safe driving course. It also reminded me of how much we can all learn when it comes to our lives of faith. During the season of Lent many congregations offer special learning opportunities. Taking advantage of these opportunities can become for all of us an important part of the discipline of Lent. Many people make the mistake of thinking that knowing the basics of their faith provides them with everything they need to remain strong in their faith. Actually, if we are not learning and growing in our faith, we run the risk of losing our faith altogether. Perhaps this Lenten season can be a time for all of us to focus on increasing our knowledge and understanding of the things of faith.

Pastor Larson’s Corner is written by Jerry Larson and appears weekly in the Norwegian American Weekly.

Pastor Jerry Larson retired to his cabin in Zimmerman, Minn., after 39 years in parish ministry for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 2011 he published a book entitled “Speaking the Word Freely: Writing with purpose, preaching with power.” Contact him at

This article originally appeared in the March 20, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.