In The Garden

Posted: Friday, April 6, 2012 at 10:53 am
By: Doug Lund
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I grew up in a Christian home.  

Oh, there weren’t daily family devotions and we didn’t all hold hands while reciting grace around the supper  table. As I remember, grace was optional unless we had company; then it often fell upon me to impress the guests by reciting the Norwegian Table Prayer taught to me by my Aunt Esther.

“I Jesu navn gar vi til bords a spise, drikke pa ditt ord. Deg, Gud til aere, oss til gavn,
Sa far vi mat i Jesu navn.  Amen.

No, we were not overtly religious but mom did make sure all of her boys went to church every week and was especially proud that her middle son, me, managed to attain 15 years perfect attendance and was recognized by the church big wigs for doing so.  I received a certificate  and everything. I know a few times when I was sick but went to Sunday School anyway to keep the record intact.


ours were wrapped in purple construction paper

ours were wrapped in purple construction paper

 Mom also made sure that her boys wouldn’t be totally embarrassed when Easter morning arrived and none of us had put any money in the Lenten Coin Containers we’d been issued at the beginning of Lent to be filled with spare change for the poor. She always managed to make sure those cans weren’t empty when we marched up front with the rest of our Sunday School class to deposit them on the altar.



The Lunds lived with the image of Jesus in our living room  It was a print of the famous painting by German artist, Heinrich Hofmann, “Christ in Gethsemane.”  For years, I didn’t pay much attention to it because, you know, familiarity causes things to disappear into their surroundings. Mom, though, thought so much of it she insisted that it be the background for our first and only family Christmas card photo. “The Lord and the Lunds wish you a Merry Christmas.” didn’t actually say that but images are important and I’m sure mom wanted all our friends and relatives to know that we weren’t heathens.   

xmas card harry lund


altarIt was the same painting, on a much smaller scale of course, that graced the altar  at First Lutheran. (Still does)

Sometimes while day dreaming in on Stewardship Sunday..I’d stare at that image and think about the situation that inspired the artist. I’d wonder  if Jesus knew the reason he was put on this earth ( To die for  sinners) why did he beg  the old man to be let off the hook; praying so fervently  to have the cup removed that he sweat drops of blood. Looking at that picture made me see the human side of Jesus; how he  was understandably afraid of what was expected and soon to befall  him; betrayal, humiliation, torture and a lingering painful death hanging from a cross. I can certainly understand why the idea of being a savior didn’t seem all that appealing when it came time to actually follow through on the deal.  He did what I would do, ask dad to protect him from injury and pain. Christ’s anxiety was short lived, though. In the same prayer, he soon accepted the responsibility of his existence saying, “Not  my will but yours be done.”  The Gospel writer, Luke, says God then sent down an angel to give his boy the strength to endure the hours ahead.

I can’t help but feel that, had I been there, I probably would have been like the Disciples; asleep in the background while all that was going on and later denying the Master in order to save my own skin. I’m like a lot of us, big on promises..short on proving up.  But, he didn’t shirk his responsibility, and because of it.. we  have the luxury of being irresponsible and unreliable and yet  forgiven. As much as I hate the very thought of pain and suffering, I’m mighty glad that The Father allowed it to happen to his only son. But gladder still that in a short three days, the story would have a happy ending.

christ at gethsemene clearer version

Wishing you all a Blessed Easter.


  1. Gary Poppens says:

    Well put, May God Bless you and yours.

  2. Bill Maher says:

    It is really sad that a FAIRY TALE of this magnitude causes so much trouble and marginalization in the world today. The Christian church has done more harm than good, and it is time that it returns to the true message of Jesus: love and acceptance.

    Another disappointing blog and incredible lack of journalistic integrity. I wonder if Doug considers himself a journalist, because I would be much ‘gladder’ if he didn’t.

  3. Cam Lind says:

    Doug, well said. Not sure what cool memories today’s kids will have about growing up. I am always amazed at what my kids say about when they were little. Hopefully the under 12’s of this era will remember more than texting and talking on the phone. I am afraid they are missing the personal touches that we all grew up with. The main problem is that they do not/ can not make eye contact and hold an intelligent conversation with anyone whether they are 12 of 55. Happy Easter.

  4. Daniel Mann says:

    I think that it is easy to forget that just 2012 years ago such a major sacrifice was made for us. In todays society if it’s not small enough to fit in the palm of our hands and available at all times it is useless, good to know that that was taken care of so long ago. I say Doug that I am thankful for the sacrifices made for each of us, and thank you for being the lamppost in a world grown dim. I hope for your sake that you and your family have a blessed and wonderful Easter!!!

  5. Chan says:

    Amen, Cam. I pray for our kids every day that they will protect the sanctity of our church. Already we have so many changes in the church and the kids seem to be in favor of things like accepting gays and other liberal ideas that destroy the fabrics of our societys. I truly hope that these people will grow up and become the people that we want them to be.

  6. jaycee says:

    Thank you for another wonderful blog and we wish you and yours a Happy Easter Doug.

  7. Thank you for your Christ centered blog during this Easter time. Happy Easter to you and yours and God’s Blessings as well!!!

  8. Slappy Happy says:

    Man, I can’t stand Easter. It used to be the day my dad got real drunk and beat my brother over the head with the turkey drumstick. Who eats turkey for Easter????


    I see Bill Maher ‘s ignorance is still intact and if he was not so focused on his EGO he might have a second of inspired thought to see out side the box . Doug your blog is well written and thought out and beyond Maher’s comprehension.

  10. Bill Maher says:

    Bill here again,

    Ignorant? I’d say following a god that will burn 2/3 of the world’s population in a firey pit and then later naming him all-loving is the definition of ignorance.

  11. Lynn says:

    Bill, would you be happier to blog on a non-Christian site, sharing your thoughts with them?

  12. DANIEL JOHNSON says:

    Bill,ever hear of a metaphor . The One who said “forgive them Father for they know not what they do” is not about to fry 2/3 of the Human race. Ancient writers had a tendency to exaggerate in their word usage in order to make a point .

  13. Lynnal Nelson says:

    Oh Doug, you write the nicest things…………..I remember our Sunday School lessons too. May you have a joyous & blessed Easter!!!

  14. Doug Lund says:

    Let’s all take a deep breath shall we?
    The fellow identifying himself as Bill Maher is not the TV comedian and outspoken atheist from HBO. It’s someone from right here who hides behind that pseudonym in order to comfortably state his opinions about religion ( Christianity in particular) and about me personally. I have the option of not letting him use this blog as a forum but chose to let him be heard all the while realizing his views would likely tick a lot of good people off.
    But, as the father of a son who is gay..I also take strong exception to other judgmental views about who is acceptable in God’s sight and who is not. On some of these questions, Bill makes a valid point. One of the two men crucified with Jesus that day probably was guilty of crimes and conduct that would never meet some Christian people’s criteria for heaven..yet the Lord, recognizing his sincerity and faith..offered him a free pass to paradise. There is much we don’t know.

  15. Bill Maher says:

    Hey Doug,

    So how are we supposed to take the Bible’s words stating we go to an eternal lake of fire if we do not accept the Lord Jesus as our savior?

    As you state “there is much we don’t know”, so the answer is…faith??? You can make that argument for anything.

  16. Bill Maher says:

    God has gifted us with this ability called logic, but we are not supposed to use it?

  17. Bill Maher says:

    And yes, the name to hide my character because I am afraid that a lunatic might just show up at my door, ya know? Like the crazies like to bomb Planned Parenthoods. I think it’s funny that you’d make light of me using a fake name, like I am too afraid to disclose my identity. I am!

  18. Per Pål P says:

    Nice article Doug….Great to see you and your family.. what a beautiful Christmas Card…
    I’m thankful that I can call you friend…. You’re wonderful faith inspires me. God Påske Dag………(Happy Easter)
    Don’t you wonder how many little “penger” your mother had hidden away to “help the Lund boys?
    Grant Peterson

  19. Doug Lund says:

    Well, finally wore out you welcome. I imagine you’ll cry foul and claim first amendment rights violations even though you know that’s not the case here. But you also must know..with your advanced intellect, that your sweeping generalizations about those people of faith whom you so flippantly villify are totally unfair..putting us all in the same box with the abortion clinic bombers and haters. You probably don’t recognize the irony of such comments.

  20. James says:

    Simply put, your faith should not harm others nor be judgemental. Doesn’t seem so difficult to understand that.

  21. DANIEL JOHNSON says:

    Had I know the Bill Maher name was a pseudo name I would not have gotten engaged . Thinking it was the real Maher I could not pass up the opportunity but since it was a case of mistaken identity I will retract the word ignorance in that had it been the real Maher as the writer it would have been more appropriate . Bill,I think it is Lake of Fire , Not Eternal etc . Big difference.

  22. James says:

    If using the name Bill Maher is pointless to call out, why do you use it? Seems pointless to appear as someone else.

  23. James says:

    Okay, Paris Hilton here, signing off…..

  24. Beth says:

    Bill…I definitely agree we need to use our logic. Consider this…for one man to fulfill all of the prophesies that Jesus fulfilled has an actuarial probability of 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. These were totally out of his control, such as place, time and manner of his birth, manner of his death, people’s reactions, piercing of his side, and burial. It defies logic to not realize that this was more than coincidence. It defies logic to not realize that only the son of God could do this.

  25. Beth says:

    Doug…I loved your blog, and from reading what you wrote about your mother, I’m sure I would have loved her, too. I didn’t realize until reading your blog that she was a member of what we affectionately refer to as the “My Three Sons Club.”

  26. Carol W says:

    I have really enjoyed your blogs and this last one was really great for Easter weekend. Keep it up.

  27. Crawford T. says:

    Hey “Bill”, I have the same doubts about religious beliefs as you and a lot of other people, and I even watch the real Bill Maher’s show on occasion. I still think you are being the most colossal jerk/troll possible here, and whatever you may think of it faith (just like logic) is still a component in the human condition that won’t be going away any time soon.

  28. Deb says:

    keep blogging Doug, we all enjoy them,and look forward to all them .if this “Bill Maher” don’t like them why don’t he just stay off and not read them .apparently he has no don’t say much for him ,if he has to hide behind a “fake” name.maybe he should try attending church,it may teach him what religion is actually about.but i agree with Dan Johnson that “Bill Maher” is probulay to ignorant.we love ya and Linda have a happy easter.

  29. Hisroyalness (Frank Stride) says:

    NICE WRITING DOUG, and glad you are on the right side of it all. Enjoyable to read your works. Frank, in Lincoln Nebraska – more later along the way.

  30. Doug, Your are my kind of Christian. Open, sincere, not judging and appreciating your heritage. Your writings always brighten my day. Harvey Wollman

  31. Karen D says:

    Well written, Doug. You put into words the thoughts of many. Happy Easter!
    Bill, you don’t need to live in fear. Ask Jesus to come into your life. He will calm your heart and mind.

  32. Bruiser says:

    Bill, If you would spend as much time enjoying what Christ has to offer instead of trying to denounce it you would be amazed at the love you would feel in your heart instead of pain. I’ll be the first to admit that i am not a huge church go’er, but one thing is for certain in my life, when i have troubles in my life I have a long talk on my own with God, and every single time when i get done I feel better. What more proof could you ask for! Doug, keep up the great work……

  33. John Bjerke. says:

    Doug, I also received a 15 year perfect attendance pin. When we meet for coffee in the near future I will share with you the conversation our mothers had at the local Clover Farm grocery store. It was in dealing with the pin. They were both remarkable women and wish I would have told them so when they were still with us. Hoping your family has a joyous Easter and we will get together soon.

  34. grouse says:

    I would have had a perfect attendance pin too…but the Lord struck me down with rheumatic fever and I was forced remain bed ridden for 2 months. Now, this was when I was in the second grade, but when it comes to Lutheran child theology, you’re either in or you’re out. The Lord loveth him who He chastiseth. Sometimes, i just wish He wouldn’t love me so much.

  35. Jon Swenson says:

    Happy Easter Doug.
    Thanks for printing the Norwegian table prayer.
    I should learn to say as Carl used to say it before every holiday meal.

  36. Paula B says:

    My Mom had the Norwegian table prayer hanging in her kitchen for years. Thanks for sharing it today, it brings back good memories of also growing up in a Christian home. Easter Blessings to you and yours! Thanks for writing this blog and sharing your memories with us.

  37. Jeni says:

    Bill, to paraphase Abe Lincoln “If you look for the bad of people, expect to find the bad of people, the bad of people is what you will find.”

  38. GMAX9 says:

    Am wondering why the anonymity seeking Bill M. chose to post his comments on this page. It would seem that a wise man would know when to speak up and when to remain silent. Posting his comments here made about as much sense as me trying to convince my liberal west coast relatives to change their politics – it wouldn’t work and it would only serve to piss them off – which is the same result Mr. M. could expect here.

    As for me, I enjoyed your Easter comments and hope you will continue to include your readers in your memories of growing up in SD in the 50’s and 60’s – Christianity and all.

  39. Sweeps says:

    Doug, what a great blog. Several years ago when I worked in a movie theater, I advance-sold tickets to my local pastor, but unfortunately I sold them for the wrong show! Oh dear. I loved his response though: “That’s OK, she’s a forgiven sinner!” How appropriate to think of that this weekend. Thank you for your most relevant thoughts!

  40. Blaise Pascal says:

    I’m still a member of the same religious denomination that I was confirmed in. I’m considering a change. Just curious if anyone in Doug’s blog audience has transitioned from one denomination to another. And I’m not talking changing from “X” to “Free X”. I mean a real change in theology, as in from Lutheran to something else.

    If you have made a change, what were your reasons?

    And if you haven’t changed your religious affiliation, why not? Have you seriously looked at other religions and decided that yours was better, or are you simply maintaining a family tradition?

    Please respect my use of an alias. I don’t want to burn any bridges in case I stay in my current faith. And I chose the name for a reason: It seems to me that there’s a tendency for people to use Pascal’s Wager as a reason to belong to a Christian church.

  41. kawalski says:

    to Blaise: from catholic to methodist, reason: marriage. still go to church on sundays, use the same bible, sing the same songs, still baptize babies. just don’t knell anymore and for my old knees, that’s a good thing.
    Doug, remember that picture in a lot of relatives homes. lots of different religions.

  42. GMAX9 says:

    Confirmed Methodist, parents switched to 1st Reformed shortly thereafter and made me change, too. Eventually changed to Catholic for family unity when my oldest child made his 1st communion. Still consider myself Catholic but rarely attend church since the divorce. One thing I found interesting – when I married my spouse he didn’t attend church so tried to get him to convert to Methodist but he stated he’d “rather be a bad Catholic than a good anything else”.

    I believe the most important thing is to worship, not necessarily where you do it. Many times I’ve gotten more from a solitary ride in the country on a beautiful Sunday morning than I ever would have in church. Works for me but might not for others.

  43. Sweeps says:

    To Blaise Pascal: I’ve been a lifelong ALC/LCA/ELCA Lutheran and intend to stay there, but I switched to a much smaller church after a conflict in the larger church I belonged to. If I hadn’t had the option to switch to another ELCA, I would have attended Episcopal. Both churches are very liturgical, and I find I really need the comfort of a standard liturgy, and I’m also welcome at the Lord’s Table without any questions asked, just for what I believe.

  44. Jeni says:

    Blaise, in my lifetime I have gone from non-demoninational (SIC) to Catholic to now Presbyterian. My family that I grew up in, religion was not discussed. No amosity toward any religion, but religion was not important. Our goal in life was to surviving day to day.

    I left the Catholic church because I disgreed with the philosphy/attitude, but mostly I left because I was not growing spiritually.

    There are many many books about different religions and philosphies such as Buddhism. The libraries have them, or bookstores.

    Try visiting with churches in the community that you might be interested in. Many have web-sites that provides information about the basic beliefs and philosphies. Visiting churches does not mean you have to join it, nor do you have to abandon your current church. For a while, I was Presbyterian on one day, and Catholic on another day (i.e. I attended services for both.) In fact, attending several services at a different church is highly recommended before you make a decision. Make sure you visit/interview the pastor as well.

    Best wishes with your spiritual growth.

  45. congruent triangles says:

    Thanks for your ability to stand up and allow messages to be heard and the klnowledge of when to take it offline for another place of discussion. You have reminded me of the importance of paiteince.

  46. Janie isham says:

    I enjoyed your story.As a proud member of FLC in Volga, I too have had a special place in my heart for this beautiful paintimg.Gods love and work is still alive and well in your old home church! God bless you!

  47. Erin says:

    @ Blaise, I have remained in the same religious denomination my entire life. Although many of my family members and my husband are part of the same denomination, and it is a “family tradition” to attend a Baptist church, the more important family tradition is the desire to grow in our faith and in our knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is important for me to attend a church where the Bible is preached and where God’s Word is more important than any book of catechism, theologian’s words, liturgy, or ritual. I encourage you to find a church that encourages you to place your relationship with Christ above all else. Not just a place where you live your faith on Sunday and put it on the back burner the rest of the week. Christ desires above all a deep and meaningful relationship with each of his sheep. I pray for you on your spiritual journey.

  48. Pam Holsen says:

    My father at age 93 still recites the Norwegian table prayer, first in Norwegian of course and then in English. It’s a treasure to hear him say it. Some grandchildren may attempt it but none of us can speak Norwegian which we regret? My father always took his children, nieces and nephews every Easter to sunrise services and out for pancakes after church while all the other aunts and uncles went to church later. Loving memories with cousins who still talk about it. Thanks for your blog. I enjoy reading it.

  49. Doug, Thanks for sharing the picture of your parents and brothers Dennis and Tom. It brought back great memories! Hope all is well.

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