BSPC Lenten Devotional – Monday, March 21 – Saturday, March 26

Holy Week

Scripture: Mark 11:1-11
When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

Palm Sunday
Where have the forty days of Lent gone?
We’ve had forty days to remember who Jesus is,
Forty days to find out who Jesus is,
Forty days to look and to listen to this man from Nazareth,
This man who walked into the hearts of people,
The man who ‘stirred their imagination,’
This man who is still walking into the hearts of his people,
And stirring the imagination of the people,
Holy Week is upon us.
We will raise our palms in joyful recognition!
We do know him.
Surely we do know him…
Ann Weems, Holy Week 

Loving God, open hearts to experience the holiness of the earth-shattering events of this week. Amen 

Monday, March 21
Let this blessing gather itself around you.
Let it give you what you will need for this journey.
You will not remember the words–they do not matter.
All you need to remember is how it sounded when you
stood in the place of death and heard the living call your name.
–Rev. Jan Richardson, from The Magdalene’s Blessing

Resurrected God, thank you for calling my name and transforming sorrow into joy. Amen. 

Tuesday, March 22
“It seems that all my bridges have been burned
But you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works.
It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart
But the welcome I receive with the restart.”
–Mumford and Sons, “Roll Away Your Stone”

God of renewal and rebirth, please help me remember that your grace helps me become a new creation, even when I think I have messed everything up. Amen.

Wednesday, March 23
“The resurrection completes the inauguration of God’s kingdom…It is the decisive event demonstrating that God’s kingdom really has been launched on earth as it is in heaven.”
–N.T. Wright
Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church 

God, help us to daily live your kingdom here on earth. Amen.

Thursday, March 24 – Maundy Thursday

Scripture: John 13:1-35
Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world, and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feel?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.” After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord–and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”

“If someone is sick or in pain I’m quick to have compassion. But if someone is acting badly, maybe hurting themselves or others, I often blame them, feeling frustration, anger, even fury. That’s refusing to wash feet. It implies that life-success is in avoiding ugliness. Foot-washing, however, says that life-success is right there, with the dirty feet, cleaning up the ugliness.”
–Alex Cook

Remind me, O God, that washing feet is not optional work-it is your work-it is holy work. Amen. 

Friday, March 25 – Good Friday

Scripture: Mark 15:42-47
When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus saw where the body was laid.

O Lamb of God
O Bread of Life,
O Light of the World,
O Prince of Peace,
O Bright Morning Star,
Lead us through our lukewarm faith
through the death-shrouded Friday
to the justice and mercy of your Easter dawning.
May we have the faith to speak your gospel of life
In this world of death
And the love to live abundantly.
We would see Jesus!
–Ann Weems, The Anointed One

Dear God, on this day of darkness and starkness, may I hear the whisper that a new day will dawn soon! Amen. 

March 26 – Holy Saturday
So give us the palms and give us a parade,
but O God, whisk us right from Palm Sunday
to that “great getting-up morning.”
Have our Easter baskets filled and waiting for us, O God,
because this year we’re tired and we’re scared
and we just want a little peace and quiet.
And so we turn and run
or we kneel and pray for mercy and for miracles
and the eyes to see this Jesus
named Emmanuel,
the eyes to see that God is with us.
Ann Weems, From Advent’s Alleluia to Easter’s Morning Light

Patient God, be with me as I wait for what I cannot see. Amen.

March 27 – Easter Sunday

SCRIPTURE: Mark 16:1-8
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

3 thoughts on “BSPC Lenten Devotional – Monday, March 21 – Saturday, March 26

  1. Martha Campbell

    How lovely that the entry for Palm Sunday is a poem by Ann Weems who died last week. A tribute to her faith, eloquence and everlasting contribution to our own understanding of faith.

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BSPC Lenten Devotional – Monday, March 14 – Saturday, March 19

THEME: Generosity – Scripture: Mark 14:1-9
It was two days before the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him; for they said, ‘Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.’

While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. But some were there who said to one another in anger, ‘Why was the ointment wasted in this way? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.’ And they scolded her. But Jesus said, ‘Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.’

Monday, March 14
“The woman who anoints Jesus compels me with the way her being seems to match his in its integrity, its wholeness of purpose. Her power is not only that she has intuited the wounding that will come to Jesus and offers balm to him but also that her action of breaking and pouring out somehow mirrors his own. In a world in which women in particular are acculturated to be endlessly accessible, to empty ourselves constantly in the service of others, the tableau of Jesus and the anointing woman tells us: choose well where you pour yourself out.”
–Rev. Jan Richardson, “Sanctuary of Women”

Renewing God, as I pour myself out, help me also to be replenished by the Living Water.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 15
“The fact is, we are all both sheep and goat. We are both bearers of the Gospel and receivers of it. We meet the needs of others and have our needs met. And the strangeness of the good news is that –like those who sat before the throne and said, Huh? When did we ever feed you Lord? –We never know when it is that we touch Jesus in all of this. All that we have is a promise, a promise that your needs are holy to God. A promise that Jesus is present in the meeting of needs and his kingdom is here.”
–Rev. Nadia Boltz-Weber, ECLA

The poor are with us even now, Lord. Help me worship you by serving all.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 16
“Sometimes–oh, just once in a blue moon–I resist being receptive to God’s generosity, because I’m busy with a project and trying to manipulate (God) into helping me with it, or with getting my toys fixed or any major discomfort to pass. But God is not a banker or a bean counter. God gives us even more, which is so subversive. God just gives, to us, to you and me. I mean, look at us! Yikes. God keeps giving, forgiving and inviting us back.”
–Anne Lamott

Generous God, thank you for always giving, forgiving, and inviting me back. Your extravagant generosity leaves me breathless and in awe of you.  Amen.

Thursday, March 17
All to Jesus I surrender; all to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.
All to Jesus I surrender; humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken; take me, Jesus, take me now.
All to Jesus I surrender; make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit, truly know that Thou are mine.
–J.W. Van Deventer

O God, accept my all–my time, talents and gifts–my life.  Amen.

Friday, March 18
“Generosity is freely sharing what you have with others. It is being willing to offer money, help or time when it is needed. To be generous means giving something that is valuable to you without expectation of reward or return. Many traditions measure generosity not by the size of the gift, but by what it cost the giver.” –Anonymous

O God, give me a generous heart willing to give what is valuable to me without expectation of reward or return.  Amen.

Saturday, March 19
“Rather than offering justification for neglecting the poor, Jesus is identifying with the poor and defenseless and affirming service to them. In an act of spontaneous and lavish love, the woman ministered to Jesus as he faced the ultimate vulnerability of death. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve Jesus directly.
Jesus reminded the disciples they would not always have him physically present to serve and adore. But you will always have the poor! Jesus tells his disciples that ‘in my physical absence, the poor are to be seen as those on whom you lavish your love for me.’ The point is made explicit in Matthew 25 when Jesus said, ‘Inasmuch as you did to the least of these you did to me.’
‘The poor you always have with you’ is not a resignation to the intractability of poverty or a calloused excuse to ignore the plight of the poor. It is an invitation to meet, love and serve the Crucified and Risen Christ in ‘the least of these.’”
–Bishop Kenneth L. Carder

Help me to show generosity and lavish love to all in your kingdom.  Amen.

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BSPC Lenten Devotional – Monday, March 7 – Saturday, March 12

THEME: Forgiveness – Scripture: Jeremiah 31:31-34

The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt-a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

Monday, March 7
Forgive, O God, our agenda keeping rather than covenant keeping.
Forgive the arrogance of preferring our own words to yours.
Forgive our egoism that leads us to think we are wiser than you.
Forgive our busyness that makes us turn away from the war-pocked world.
Forgive our divisiveness that they might say of us again:
“How those Christians love one another!”
Forgive our controlling ways, our bowing down to power and wealth and greed.
Forgive us for making rules we’d rather follow than yours.
Give us eyes to see Jesus, the courage to stand up and speak out his name.
–From the poem “Diluting the Gospel” by Ann Weems

Dear God, give me eyes to see your Son and the courage to stand up and speak out his name. Amen.

Tuesday, March 8
“Praying means to stop expecting from God that same small-mindedness which you discover in yourself. To pray is to walk in the full light of God, and to say simply without holding back, ‘am a man (or a woman) and you are God.’ At that moment, conversion occurs, the restoration of the true relationship. Man (or woman) is not the one who once in a while makes a mistake and God is not the one who now and then forgives. No, man (or woman) is a sinner and God is love.”
–Henri Nouwen

O God, call me back into right relationship with you! I’m human and you are God. I’m a sinner and you LOVE! Amen.

Wednesday, March 9
“When God forgives us and purifies us of our sin, God also forgets it. Forgiveness results in God dropping the charges against us.”
–Billy Graham

Merciful God, when I ask for forgiveness, thank you for forgiving and forgetting my sins. Help me, O God, to do likewise and move on in the assurance of your love and acceptance.  Amen.

Thursday, March 10
“I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes–it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured ‘I’m sorry,’ then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.’ If we all hold on to the mistake we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self.”
–Maya Angelou

Merciful God, may I look in the mirror each morning and see my face, my own glory, not my mistakes! Amen.

Friday, March 11
“When somebody you’ve wronged forgives you, you’re spared the dull and self-diminishing throb of a guilty conscience. When you forgive somebody who has wronged you, you’re spared the dismal corrosion of bitterness and wounded pride. For both parties, forgiveness means the freedom again to be at peace inside their own skins and to be glad in each other’s presence.”
–Frederick Buechner

Loving and forgiving God, I long for true freedom and peace found only in you. Help me to forgive when I have been wronged and seek forgiveness when I have wronged another.  Amen.

Saturday, March 12
“Knowing we are forgiven is about being free (and freed). Engaging in the act of forgiving is also about being free (and freed). It often seems easier to judge, regulate, and resent. But it is actually freeing when we discover we do not have to do any of that. We often do not want to forgive people, but we do want to be free. Freedom from our resentments leads us to living without fear. And we all want that.”
–Jane Shaw, “A Practical Christianity: Meditations for the Season of Lent”
Forgive me, Lord, and help me forgive others so that I can be free.  Amen.

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BSPC Lenten Devotional – Monday, February 29 – Saturday, March 5

THEME: Humility – Scripture: Philippians 2:5-11
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death-even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.

Monday, February 29
“Humility, self-giving, servant-hood, and sacrifice are the hallmarks of genuine Christian discipleship and genuine human community.”
–Larry R. Kalajainen, Disciplines, 2006

Master Teacher, guide us on our path of discipleship so that we may be good citizens of your community. Amen.

Tuesday, March 1
“If we all come from the same place, the same substance, and are reduced back to that substance at the end of our lives, what meaning do any of our achievements, our possessions, the things which we believe give us status (our jobs, children, the ‘right’ address, the ‘right’ house, an expensive car, entry into a particular social group) have? In the face of enormous social anxiety, Christianity forces us to realize, finally realize, that for all our achievements and riches, human beings are created equal, from the same substance, and more than that, in the image and likeness of God.”
–Jane Shaw, “A Practical Christianity: Meditations for the Season of Lent”

Loving God, I am created in your image, in your likeness. Nothing I can do, achieve, or have means more than that. Amen.

 Wednesday, March 2
These are the few ways we can practice humility:
To speak as little as possible of one’s self.
To mind one’s own business.
Not to want to manage other people’s affairs.
To avoid curiosity.
To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.
To pass over the mistakes of others.
To accept insults and injuries.
To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked.
To be kind and gentle even under provocation.
Never to stand on one’s dignity.
To choose always the hardest.
–Mother Teresa, “The Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living”

Loving God, show me your path; teach me your ways. Amen.

Thursday, March 3
“As to your Lent–not physical hardships beyond what normal life provides–but take each of these as serenely and gratefully as you can and make of them your humble offerings to God. Don’t reduce sleep. Don’t get up in the cold. Practice more diligently the art of turning to God with some glance or phrase of love or trust at all spare moments of the day…Be especially kind and patient with those who irritate you …Instead of wasting energy in being disgusted with yourself, accept your own failures, and just say to God ‘Well, in spite of all I may say or fancy, this is what I am really like–so please help my weakness.’ This, not self-disgust, is the real and fruitful humility.”
–Evelyn Underhill

O God, this is what I am really like–so please help my weakness. Amen.

 Friday, March 4
“During Lent, we journey with Jesus into the truth about ourselves, trying to see who we are in God’s eyes, including both our strengths and our weaknesses–this is called humility. To many people humility is synonymous with self-hatred and ‘putting yourself down,’ the opposite of self-esteem. In fact, humility is simply the opposite of the illusion that I am perfect.”
–Albert Holtz, “Pilgrim Road: Benedictine Journey through Lent”

O God, help me to see myself as you do–imperfect, yet perfectly loved by you. Amen.

Saturday, March 5
“…To be in Christ, we need to practice discernment and contemplative prayer. In doing so, we ‘cease to set the agenda… [Instead,] we ‘make space’ for God to be God.’ ’ As we willingly humble ourselves, we set aside what we are entitled to, what we deserve, and instead discern the will of God and live our lives in obedience to it.”
–Quote by theologian Sarah Coakley; Katie Z. Dawson, “The Lord is our Salvation”

O God, this is what I am really like–so please help my weakness. Amen.

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BSPC Lenten Devotional – Monday, February 22 – Saturday, February 27

THEME: Memory – Scripture: John 2:13-22
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

Monday, February 22
“Lent is a call to weep for what we could have been and are not. Lent is the grace to grieve for what we should have done and did not. Lent is the opportunity to change what we ought to change but have not. Lent is not about penance. Lent is about becoming, doing and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now. Lent is a summons to live anew.
Lent is the time to let life in again, to rebuild the worlds we’ve allowed to go sterile, to ‘fast and weep and mourn’ for the goods we’ve foregone. If our own lives are not to die from lack of nourishment, we must sacrifice the pride or the sloth or the listlessness that blocks us from beginning again.”
–Joan Chittister

Holy and loving God, give me the courage to overturn and drive out the things in my life that are not of You. Amen.

Tuesday, February 23
“Steve Jobs said, ‘You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards and trust that the dots will connect again. This approach has never let me down.’ The trust the Bible commends is based on ‘looking backwards.’ Memory is the basis of hope.”
–William C. Green

God of all time, help me remember all that you have done for me in the past, are doing for me in this moment, and all that you will do for me in the future. Amen.

Wednesday, February 24
“…The whole sweep of scriptures comes rushing together at this moment, at this place. This wasn’t what anybody expected. But the place was right, the time was spot on, and Jesus had come to do what God had promised: to judge and to save, to sort things out once and for all, to bring heaven and earth together at last.”
–N.T. Wright, Lent for Everyone

O Lord, teach us to recognize the right place and the right time and the courage we need to act. Amen.

Thursday, February 25
“What is most important to discover in this scripture passage is that God does not dwell within the boxes we have created; God desires far more than ritual and rules. Even the temple disrupted, Passover still took place. People still found ways to praise God and to remember their history. It wasn’t the building that was important; it was their relationship with God and their living faithfully according to his will. And the same is true for us.”
–Katie Z. Dawson, The Lord is Our Salvation

Lord of all, focus our hearts and minds and souls on our relationship with you-only you. Amen.

Friday, February 26
“This seems to have been St. Augustine’s very notion of ‘memory’, not just nostalgia for some past moment, but connecting past, present and future in one complete contemplative knowing.”
–Richard Rohr

Eternal God, may I remember, as your disciples remembered, and believe the scriptures and all that you have said. Amen.

Saturday, February 27
“Well, it’s the most profound holiday in the Christian tradition. And I think two things really come to mind. One is something that the great writer Barbara Johnson said, which is that we are Easter people living in a Good Friday world. And I think that every year the world seems more of a Good Friday world. And it’s excruciating, whether it’s Japan, or Libya, or whether it’s your own best friends and their children who are sick, which is something that makes no sense when you think about a loving God. But it’s a time when we get to remember that all the stuff that we think makes us of such value, all the time we spend burnishing our surfaces, is really not what God sees. God loves us absolutely unconditionally, as is. It’s a come as you are party.”
–Anne Lamott

Loving God, remind me that everything you did–every act of healing, love and defiance–was for me, for us all. Amen.

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BSPC Devotional 2016 Monday, February 15 – Saturday February 20

THEME: Sacrifice – Scripture: Mark 8:31-38
Then Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’ He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’

 

Monday, February 15
“Lent is the opportunity to change what we ought to change but have not…Lent is about becoming, doing and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now…Lent is a summons to live anew…Lent is the time to let life in again, to rebuild the worlds we’ve allowed to go sterile, to ‘fast and weep and mourn’ for the goods we’ve foregone. If our own lives are not to die from lack of nourishment, we must sacrifice the pride or the sloth or the listlessness that blocks us from beginning again. Then, as Joel (2:12-18) promises, God will have pity on us and pour into our hearts the life we know down deep that we are lacking.”
–Joan Chittister

Help me, O God, to sacrifice all the things that block me from beginning again–all the things that keep me from experiencing new life.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 16
“But what I believe, and what my moderately left–and right– wing Christian brothers and sisters believe, is that Jesus preached a gospel of radical sacrifice, of giving away everything we possibly can–our time, our money, our prayers–to the have-nots, the same old/same old suffering people of this world, widows and whole nations.”
–Anne Lamott

O God, help me to live into a life of “radical sacrifice” for you.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 17
“Many people profess Jesus but bring him into their own worldview instead of being converted to Jesus’ worldview of the kingdom of God. Discipleship is the ongoing, focused process of being moved from believer to follower, from donation to sacrifice, from moralistic principles to lifestyles of self-denial, from the pursuit of success to true significance. Disciples learn to drop everything they have into the hands of Jesus to be directed by God’s purpose.”
–Mike Slaughter

Lord, melt me, mold me, fill me, use me; make me into a disciple of your Son the Christ. Amen.

Thursday, February 18
“Jesus crossed lines and broke rules for the sake of God’s love, and he willingly suffered the consequences. The cry, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ is the pained cry of a lonely man with natural, human doubts. Mark’s gospel strips away the triumph of certainty, and leaves us with a savior who sought the love of God from where he was, just as he was.”
–Jane Shaw, A Practical Christianity: Meditations for the Season of Lent

Oh God, Jesus sacrificed himself for me. Help me to sacrifice myself for others.  Amen.

Friday, February 19
“Fasting, perhaps as much as anything else, helps us to go into our ‘inner room’, the space within ourselves. Fasting helps us shut the door of our inner selves to the outside attractions which crowd in and dissipate our prayer time and energies. Fasting is the act of temporarily giving up something that is very important to us in order that we may use the time normally given to that thing for prayer and to reflect upon the pain of the temporary sacrifice to better understand the mystery and meaning of Christ’s passion and sacrifice for us.”
–Rueben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck: A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants

O God, give me the courage and will to fast this Lent. May I better understand the mystery and meaning of Christ’s sacrifice for us.  Amen.

Saturday, February 20
The rising of the sun had made everything look so different-all the colours and shadows were changed-that for a moment they didn’t see the important thing. Then they did. The Stone Table was broken in two pieces by a great crack that ran down it from end to end; and there was no Aslan.“Oh, oh, oh!” cried the two girls rushing back to the Table.
“Oh, it’s too bad,” sobbed Lucy, “they might have left the body alone.”
“Who’s done it?” cried Susan. “What does it mean? Is it more magic?”
“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of Time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”
–C.S. Lewis, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”

God of the Past, Present and Future, help us to remember you are present both in good times and in troubled times.  Amen.

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BSPC Lenten Devotional, 2016

Welcome to the BSPC Lenten Devotional! This devotional was created by staff and members at the First United Methodist Church in Hurst, Texas, and is used by permission.

Throughout Lent, a weekly theme and scripture will be posted along with a daily devotional and prayer. We will be adding a week’s worth of devotions on Sundays beginning with the weekly theme.

Helpful guidelines for using this devotional: 

  • Slowly read and meditate on the scripture passage. 
  • Read the reflection. Consider how the words speak to your life and experience. 
  • What is God is saying to you today? 
  • Use the provided prayer to be in conversation with God.

Wednesday, February 10 • Ash Wednesday
“Ash Wednesday, to me is about as plain as it gets-we come from ashes and return to ashes, and yet there is something, as the poets have often said, that remains standing when we’re gone. So in Easter, and Passover too, something that happens is that we stop. This is the ‘dark night of the soul’ stuff that John the Divine writes about; that in that stopping we may fall into an abyss that we have been trying to outrun since we were little children…and the American way, I think, is to trick out the abyss so it’s a little bit nicer. Maybe to go to Ikea and get a more festive throw rug. But in Lent, if you are a person of committed spiritual growth, you do stop.”
–Anne Lamott

O God, I want this Lent to be different. I want to stop, notice your presence, and listen for your voice. Amen.

THEME: BAPTISM – Scripture: Mark 1:9-15
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’ And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’

Thursday, February 11
“I know that Lent is going to be a very hard time for me. The choice for your way has to be made every moment of my life. I have to choose thoughts that are your thoughts, words that are your words, and actions that are your actions. There are no times or places without choices. And I know how deeply I resist choosing you.”
–Henri Nouwen
Lord, I want to choose you in every part of my life. Help me to choose you always. Amen.

Friday, February 12
“Water expresses promises, not that we make to God but that God makes to us, to which we may respond in obedient faith. Water is a sign of God’s mercy to us and of God’s immediate presence in our midst. We are cleansed through water and brought into the community by baptism.”
–Thomas C. Oden
Loving God, when we encounter water throughout our day, may we acknowledge and offer thanks for your presence with us. Amen.

Saturday, February 13
“At its heart, baptism is a bold act. We are marked with God’s stamp that echoes the very story of creation: ‘God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good’ (Genesis 1:31). God says a resounding yes to us in our baptism. Yes, I claim you as my own. Whatever happens to you, I will be there with you, seeking to redeem you, bringing you to your right mind, holding you in my arms, rejoicing in your beauty and uniqueness.”
–George McClain and Tilda Norbert – The Call: Living Sacramentally, Walking Justly
Help me Lord, to remember that you have claimed me. Help me celebrate my uniqueness. Amen.

 

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Can You Be a Mentor?

Francine MarchelleMeet Francine Marchelle, Director of Broad Street Afterschool.  Francine spoke in worship last weekend and shared her expertise, enthusiasm and vision for BSA during a Minute for Mission.  Below, she talks about the effect of a mentor in her own life, as well as her hopes for Broad Street Afterschool.

Francine was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio.  She remembers being mentored by her fifth grade teacher, Elaine Pearson.  Ms. Pearson’s interest and care nurtured resiliency and hope in Francine during a period when she needed those gifts.   Decades later, she still recalls Ms. Pearson going the extra mile to show her a different world, including bringing her to a Columbus Orchestra performance of “Peter Pan,” which helped her see herself as an artist with talents to share.  Francine knows firsthand what a difference a mentor can make; how the kindness and coaching of a mentor can convey new life.  Francine’s own experience fuels her commitment to the children and families in Broad Street Afterschool.

Francine expands on her Minute for Mission by responding to a few questions:

How does mentoring benefit kids?
First and foremost, mentoring benefits kids by enabling them to identify new ways to live and think and feel.  Mentoring gives them an experience of a different perspective, a different way to be in the world.  Mentoring models opportunity and establishes a support system.  Kids can ask questions, share concerns and interests with an adult who is not their parent or guardian.

Mr. Ken and MylesHow does mentoring benefit mentors?
We learn from children  how to mentor them.  We participate in the growth and development of children.  Mentoring is an expression of intergenerational learning.  We’re learning, too.  We’re figuring things out.  Mentoring gives us an opportunity to value what we bring to that child.  Often we don’t realize the importance of what we have to offer.  BSA will allow us mentors (coaches and tutors) opportunity to develop a reciprocal relationship with a child.

What is changing at Broad Street Afterschool?
This fall we are moving from homework help to homework coaching.  For example, with coaching the interaction between the child and adult can shift from a conversation only about how to solve 4 + 4 to include the reasons we are doing math. Also, we can coach children to make homework completion a habit of learning.

BSAWhat is one of your goals for Broad Street Afterschool?
We want to reset the bar and encourage more engagement between student and adult.  I will coach our homework coaches.  BSA has always looked at the child holistically.  We want to take this to a deeper level with the goal of children achieving their highest possible level of education.  When children have trouble with schoolwork I always encourage them to say “I am not dumb.  I am smart.  I just don’t know something yet.”

To learn more about being a mentor (homework coach and tutor), call or email Francine at afterschool@bspc.org.  A training will be held on September 1, 2, and 3, 5:00-7:30 pm, with interested volunteers attending two days. Those interested will be asked to fill out this application.

-Ann

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To Be Grateful

I came across this piece of writing from Henri Nouwen this morning, a few days after finishing last Sunday’s sermon.  It seemed so relevant to what I hoped I was saying when I was preaching “Leftovers.”   Nouwen invites us to be grateful for all of our lives, including those parts of our life that are filled with sorrow, failure and rejection because all of our lives has made us the people we are and brought us to this present moment.

To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy,
but to be grateful for all of our lives-
the good as well as the bad,
the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow,
the successes as well as the failures,
the rewards as well as the rejections-
that requires hard spiritual work.

Still, we are only truly grateful people when we can say “thank you”
to all that has brought us to the present moment.
As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget,
we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for.
Let’s not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now
and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God.

-Henri J. M. Nouwen

Today I invite you to give thanks to God for everything that has brought you to where you are now.

-Amy

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Why Ride?

Tomorrow some Broadstreeters will be riding 25, 50, 75 or even 100 miles in Pelotonia.  Others riding 155 and 180 miles will spend Saturday night at Kenyon College and continue the second portion of the ride on Sunday.  The latter won’t be in worship with us on Sunday.  But they will be involved in a spiritual practice.  This week I asked a few of them “why?” Why are you riding this year?

Susan says, “…Cancer just seems to be everywhere, impacting everybody. In the last months I have witnessed one friend lose her fight with cancer, another end her treatment, and yet another begin hers… Being in the presence of those struggling with cancer, I have witnessed unbelievable courage, resilience, faith, and inimitable strength which have influenced my own resolve to do what I can in this fight. So …riding my bicycle 50 miles…and raising $1250 to support the researchers who stand a chance to find cures, seems the least I can do.”
Peletonia
Rick says, “My children.
My wife.
My parents.
My community.
Riding by this husband @ mile #80 something.
Cancer’s life needs to end.”

Sean says, “…the cause is near and dear to my heart…grandmothers, grandfather, and close family friends have all been affected by cancer in some form or another…the combination of the personal physical challenge, the camaraderie with my family and friends who are also participating and the cause all became important components and motivators. Additionally – I quickly came to [consider] the long rides with my Dad out in the Ohio countryside …a version of sacred space.”

Jim says, “… for the past three years I have ridden and was inspired to ride as a tribute to my wife who is a Cancer survivor.  …[D]ue to health concerns and a failure to get sufficiently in shape, I have opted to be a “virtual rider” and let my supporters know that I will not be on the road…  I will be praying for an uneventful ride once again this Saturday/Sunday; patience for those drivers who may be inconvenienced for a few minutes to allow for the safety of the bike riders; for those researchers who will benefit from the funds raised; for each of those who has suffered, is suffering, or has lost the battle with cancer; and for an increased awareness of the public of the need to support medical research…”

Ginny says, “It is hard to sum up my reasons and emotions for Pelotonia…I can tell you I have big tears in my eyes right now just thinking about it!  Pelotonia is one of the greatest things I have ever been a part of …to fundraise, train and complete something that makes such a difference in research and healing and curing…is amazing!  …Imagine bikers as far as you can see in quiet motion, just the sound of the whizzing tires, starting down High Street as the day is …waking up…People line the streets all along the way cheering, holding up signs: “Thank you for helping to save my Mommy.”  …It’s not just the riders that count! There are so many volunteers and supporters financially and physically who make up this huge effort!  It is such an honor and thrill to participate. I hope I am able to do it for many years to come.”

Carol says “I want to be part of a community with one goal…. Beating cancer!!! I hope this ride will give hope to those in need of a cure.”

Bill says: “I am convinced that one of God’s miracles to us daily is the wonder of research like that being done to crack the code on cancer – in all of its mutations.  It touches us all and I have felt it.  I ride because we have created something in Columbus that allows us to put a shining light on those miracles.  And I ride for some very special people to my wife and me.”

In its first six rides, Pelotonia raised more than $82 million for cancer research.  Tomorrow and Sunday, let’s keep the riders in our prayers, and all cancer survivors…as well as those struggling with cancer today.

Thanks be to God for each and every person giving their time, energy, money and prayers to our community’s Pelotonia effort to ‘crack the code’ on cancer.

-Ann

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