top of page

The Season of Inner Growth & Joyful Hope - A Good Friday Reflection from Rev. Dr. Tamara Nichols Rodenberg

“God refuses to give up, and we who are enlisted to be fellow workers with God know that the only reason we continue is that death did not have the last word;  that Good Friday was not the end of the story.” Desmond Tutu 

Easter is near to us! Life is unfolding around us in vibrant colors and life renews. This year, Lent holds significant meaning and relevance amid the complexities and challenges faced in today’s world. During this season, we are called to reflect and pray with a sense of expectation for new life. I love the idea of using this time to focus on a “Lenten Plan.” Often, we continue day to day as if nothing is happening around us, living from one concern or crisis to the next. A Lenten Plan can be simple, for your and God’s eyes only.  

Lent reminds us of the importance of self-examination and repentance, just as Christ spent 40 days in the wilderness in preparation for the fulfillment of his purpose. During this season, we are called to examine our thoughts, words, and actions, to acknowledge our shortcomings, to seek forgiveness for our mistakes, and to find renewal within our spirit. Finding a quiet moment, a Lenten Plan is simply writing down things we are concerned about, life-giving prayers we hold for ourselves, loved ones, and others, and considering our place in the world held closely in God’s heart.   

We are instructed in Romans 12:12: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” The prayer of the heart as my mother is often heard saying, “From my lips to God’s heart.” This simple statement forms a prayer every moment of the day when encountering difficult news, when acting in love for someone oppressed or vulnerable, and when asking God for compassion in a suffering world. Lent is personal. It is a prompt for each of us to consider whether or not we embrace and actively work toward a world where the voiceless have a voice and where the excluded are included. By embracing the values of humility, empathy, and service, we are reminded of our interconnectedness with all beings and our shared responsibility to care for one another and for the planet we call home. 

Mother Teresa once said, “The less we have, the more we give. Seems absurd, but it’s the logic of love.”

The Lenten season also offers a time for spiritual nourishment and renewal. Through prayer, meditation, and contemplation, we are invited to deepen our relationship with God, to cultivate a sense of gratitude and awe for the wonders of creation, and to find solace and strength in times of doubt and despair. It is a time to draw inspiration from the teachings of Jesus Christ, to embody his message of love, compassion, and forgiveness, and to live out our faith in practical ways that bring hope, healing, and reconciliation to a broken world. 


Rev. Dr. Tamara Nichols Rodenberg began her ministry as President of HELM on May 1, 2023, the first woman to serve in this capacity. She comes to HELM with a life-long career in higher education and a deep commitment to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Prior to accepting the call to HELM, Dr. Rodenberg served as the 20th President of Bethany College in Bethany, WV (2016 – 2022). From 2011-2016, Dr. Rodenberg served as Vice President for Advancement at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, TX. Additionally, Dr. Rodenberg served as the Dean  (SouthernCalifornia) and later as an intentional Interim President at Disciples Seminary Foundation in Claremont, CA (2006-2009; 2009-2011). Prior to her work in higher education, Dr. Rodenberg served in congregational ministry, campus ministry, and served for six years with the Division of Overseas Ministry/Global Ministries in the Kingdom of Swaziland [Eswatini], Southern Africa. In addition to her academic administrative work, Dr. Rodenberg is an ethicist, earning her Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. She earned her Master of Divinity from Lexington Theological Seminary and was ordained by the Christian Church in Kentucky in 1992. She completed her undergraduate work at Texas Christian University and remains a dedicated “Horned Frog.” Her passion is time with family and her hobbies include travel, golf, cycling, hiking, kayaking, reading, and photography.


bottom of page