Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 31

Triumphal Entry
by Steve Garnaas-Holmes

His “triumphal entry,” they call it,
riding into the city on a donkey.
Listen, you can tell where this is going
just by looking at him.
Dust of the roads on his feet,
speckled by sinners’ tears.
The smell of fish and baking bread,
incense and lepers on his clothes,
blood on the hem of his garment,
the frame of a man who walks a lot.
Rough knees and kind hands.
Eyes that sparkle with sadness,
everyone’s sadness, taking it all in,
and a smile that weeps with you,
that knows a world’s sorrow
without telling, and a world’s joy.
See how he notices the burdened ones,
the weepers and limpers,
the crutched and shunned ones,
old ones who hover in doorways,
a ragman collecting shame and shadows,
and those who live in them,
how it seems as if he’s gathering names?
Feel that wind? This praise is a spring snow:
it will soon vanish into what we really mean.
These are his royal subjects,
the cast-off and mangled,
possessed and dispossessed.
He draws these tatters and disasters into a kingdom,
rides his patient donkey down the road,
down into the crowd where it opens like a wound,
resolutely down into the tragedy and our longing
where we feed on him and he is with us.
No threats can stop him,
no force, no cross deter him from this,
(and not some aftermath) his hope, his throne,
his triumph.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 30

by Reb Fleming

Weary is to tired what poverty is to broke.
You can joke about being broke:
“Hey man, I don’t have a penny in my pocket.”
Or decline an invitation without regret:
“Sorry, I can’t go to lunch,
I gave the last of my money to my kids.”
You can do it because you know and I know its temporary,
There’s a paycheck coming and all you have to do is bide your time.
But poverty wears the same dress every day because nothing else is
hanging in the closet
Her face has grown thin and her voice shrill and she screams at her kids
even though she loves them
If she knew what to do about the situation she might
but then again she might not
because hunger stole her hope long ago
Tired means I put in a hard day’s work and my muscles ache
Tired means I fried my brain on a stressful project and even in sleep
I can’t get it to turn off
Tired means working overtime and not getting paid
but it doesn’t matter because you can see the light at the end of the tunnel
and you know that you’re ‘almost there’
But weary has walked through exhaustion and come out with bleached bones
Weary has spent all of its options, played all of its face-cards
performed all of its tricks up front, early-on
without getting so much as a chuckle or a smattering of applause
Weary is dried-up-desperate
who sits for hours in the same chair, staring
Weary walks from one room to another not remembering
nor truly caring what she was looking for
Weary dips one final time into rage and sends the money-changers tables
upside down with a strength and a fury no one knew he possessed
Weary enters the great city like a husband his own bedroom
only to find his wife in the arms of another man
And gasps
not out of anger
but hurt
and stares, unable to take his eyes from the scene
Slowly his body rocks
back and forth
and in a whisper only she can understand because she knows the sound of his voice
Why, Jerusalem?
Why have you forsaken me?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 29

The Last Shall Be First  
by Ann Weems

Along the way the pilgrims heard
   that a group of people
had set out for Jerusalem
   without a map.
Since each of us owned
   our own map
and read it daily
   and even then
had difficulty knowing
   which way to turn,
we were amazed
   that they would set out
on their own...
   amazed and alarmed.
Many a day we had
   prayed and consulted
over choices
   in the road.
This news presented
   a greater dilemma:
Which of us would go
   in the rescue party?
Whoever went would
   most certainly
not get to Jerusalem
   on time.
   we prayed.
Then it was we realized
   that the ones who went
in search of the lost
   would be the first
to arrive in Jerusalem.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

April 1, 2012 - Palm Sunday
“Into God's Future”

We continue our Lenten worship and sermon series, "Ready for a Change".  (If you've missed any of the sermons, you can listen to the podcast here.)  Our first scripture reading for the day will be Mark 1:14-15 - Jesus begins his ministry with the announcement: "Now is the time!  Here comes God's kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!"   Our second reading is the story of Jesus' palm-paved entry into Jerusalem (read it here).

Jesus calls each of us to work toward change – change in ourselves and change in the world.  He calls us to help transform God’s future into a present day reality.  That’s not an easy mission!  Sometimes we’ll face resistance – even conflict.  But just as Jesus rode into opposition with the parade of palms, so we must dare to continue our journey of change, trusting in the Good News, even and especially in the face of challenges.  Are you ready to be God's change-agent for love, justice and peace in the world?

See you on Sunday!

Lenten Devotion for March 28

A Lenten Prayer
by Terri Pilarski 

God of all new things, God of
Spring, and fragrant flowers, and
unexpected snow. God of hope
and new life,
Bless us, we pray,
this day.

God of all things passing away, God
of old and yesterday, the One who is
with us in our despair and fear.
God who sighs and weeps, God
who wipes away
r tears.

Hear us when we pray. Incline
your ear to our words, silent
shouting cries, mournful whispers.
Be gentle with our hard
hearts. Be gentle. Be

Anoint us with your touch
the softness of your love
breaks into our hardness
and opens us anew. A
new thing. A new life.
New sight.

Anoint us, Holy One and fill
us with you loving touch.
Fill us that we can touch
in your love and fill
others. Fill us gently.
Fill us.

In your name we pray. Amen.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 27

my hour 
by Thom M. Shuman

i wish to see
  in the panhandler
  on the street:
   the stained, tattered clothes,
      the unkempt hair,
         the acridness clustered
         around him
  cloud my eyes;

i wish to hear
   in the politicians
      whose decisions i cannot
  in the evangelist
    mouthing platitudes to the
  in the talk-show callers
      spewing hateful bile,
                 but all these words
  clog my ears;

i wish to meet
   in the tattoed skateboarder
            riding the rails
            down at the school,
   in the hip-hopper
           jamming at the
           bus stop,
   in the goths
            hanging outside the
      but too quickly
   i cross the street
   searching for my

 why would you wish
           to see
              to hear
           to meet

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 26

Lenten Prayer
by Melodee Kistner

It begins with ashes
and a fiery promise
to walk these forty days
with you, O Christ, as my companion.

As your journey of self discovery
began with Satan in the desert
so too am I tormented during this Lenten season
by my personal demons.

Help me to see why even you, O Christ,
had to face Satan’s temptations of
Power, Wealth, and Fame.

Did Luke leave out some of the details
of your struggles with Satan?
Were you really able to resist so easily, or is that why
Lent is a forty-day journey?

Worldliness beckons each day of my life
with fantasies that steal my vitality
leaving no energy for seeing the
Image of God within me.

As I wait for stone to be turned into bread
the world goes hungry
As I wait to be the one in power
evil prevails because I do nothing
As I wait to be rescued by angels
the miracles in the ordinary go unnoticed.

How patient you are Jesus
as I stumble along my journey
hesitating, instead of walking boldly on The Way.

O Christ,
may I learn to walk without fear
facing my own darkness.
Let my journey lead me
at last
to Easter.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 25

Plumb Line Prayer
by Jan Sutch Pickard

Then God said, “See, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people.” (Amos 7:8)

God of justice, mercy and truth,
we gather in your presence,
aware of it in all creation –
where the warmth of the sun, the strength of the wind,
the energy of the waves, the stability of the earth
all remind us of your constant love
and your power to change and challenge our lives.

God of justice, mercy and truth,
we gather in your presence,
aware that in our world
there is one law for the rich and one for the poor,
that the scales are weighted against many
of our sisters and brothers,
and against new nations struggling to become,
and to find a balance.

God of justice, mercy and truth,
we gather in your presence,
aware of our own lives –
individually and in community –
where they measure up,
where they fall short,
where they are out of kilter –
as your plumb line shows us what is true.
Help us to be true to ourselves,
true to our history,
true to our own story,
true to you. AMEN

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 24

God’s Graffiti
by Ann Weems

We’ve splashed our rules
all over the sanctuary walls...
so many rules we don't have time
for dancing...
our graffiti
defiling the house of God.
God's graffiti is different:
God writes LOVE
upon our hearts.
Some night, let's sneak in the sanctuary
and paint over the rules
and write God's graffiti
all over the walls...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 23

"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; 
he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him."  (Luke 15:12)

From The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming 
by Henri J. M. Nouwen 

For most of my life I have struggled to find God, to know God, to love God.  I have tried hard to follow the guidelines of the spiritual life—pray always, work for others, read the Scriptures—and to avoid the many temptations to dissipate myself.  I have failed many times but always tried again, even when I was close to despair.

Now I wonder whether I have sufficiently realized that during all this time God has been trying to find me, to know me, and to love me.  The question is not “How am I to find God?” but “How am I to let myself be found by him?”  The question is not “How am I to know God?” but “How am I to let myself be known by God?”  And, finally, the question is not “How am I to love God?” but “How am I to let myself be loved by God?”  God is looking into the distance for me, trying to find me, and longing to bring me home.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

 March 25, 2012 - Fifth Sunday in Lent

We continue our Lenten worship and sermon series, "Ready for a Change".  (If you've missed any of the sermons, you can listen to the podcast here.)  Our scripture reading for the day will be John 12:1-11.  In this passage Mary, sister of Lazarus, anoints Jesus with a pound of pure nard (a very expensive perfume).  It is an unimaginably generous and shockingly lavish gift - Mary's expression of devotion, gratitude and love for the one who changed her faith, her life, her world. 

When, like Mary, our lives change as a result of our encounter with Jesus, we are compelled to offer ourselves in generous ways, following his way of self-giving love.  What difference has Jesus made in your life?  How are you responding in self-giving ways?  What is your vision of yourself as a change-agent in the world?

See you on Sunday!

Lenten Devotion for March 22

Exquisite Corpse
by Scott Dalgarno

Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. There they made him a supper.
—John 12:1-2

Four days dead and sipping soup, Lazarus
Sits up, grunts, asks, “What’s today?” He reeks
Of tomb, but no one blanches at this banquet.

Sister Martha feeds him, wipes his chin, reminding him
Of time and mass and the unforgiving weight of resuscitation.
There’s that late-charge he thought he was clear of,

And the pruning, and that long look a bar-maid
Once gave him, but that’s all in Lazarus’ moldy brain.
The guests merely gape; the vacuum of the tomb

Has sucked every verb from the house, but Mary
Has an idea. She produces a jar of nard, pure, priceless,
And gloppy as death. She smashes it like some Jeremiah,

Peeling the fractured alabaster, lavishing the ooze
On Jesus’ chapped knees and feet. All stand transfixed,
But Lazarus’ eyes are still on Martha’s spoon,

Hovering a bit out of reach. Slowly he searches the room
For an explanation. There’s Mary, as busy as a Martha,
And Martha, nonplussed, her heart churning envy and disgust.

What kind of household is this, Lazarus wonders,
Where the dead are fed and the living embalmed?
Nothing sealed is safe; nothing at rest left undisturbed

By the merciless provocations of the living.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 21

by Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Toward the end of winter I came upon
the Lord on a diamond, batting.

I said, “Lord, what are you doing?”
“These are your sins,” he said,

as a shadowy figure on the mound
with a vicious arm pitched.

He had no instinct: swung at everything,
even dirtballs. And hit ‘em every time.

He had a beautiful swing,
fluid, sure, and joyful.

He hit pitch after pitch, endlessly.
I lost myself, watching.

“Out of the park” he said, his eye
on a nasty looking knuckleball,

and swung like a dancer,
gracefully unwinding. Chock!

It rose up over the fence, over the trees,
released from all earthly bonds,

floating free until it disappeared,
infinitely gone, still rising.

He watched it go, as if
he’d never seen such a beautiful thing.

“I love this game,” he grinned,
and set for another pitch.

I think he was honestly
pleased with himself.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 20

“People often think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain in which God says, ‘If you keep a lot of rules, I’ll reward you, and if you don’t I’ll do the other thing.’ I do not think that is the best way of looking at it. I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. 

“And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature; either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. 

“To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy, and peace, and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 92. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 19

by Studdart Kennedy

When Jesus came to Birmingham 
they simply passed him by.
They never hurt a hair of him 
they simply let him die.
For men had grown more tender
and they would not give him pain.
They only just passed down the street 
and left him in the rain.

Still Jesus cried, ‘Forgive them, for they 
know not what they do.’
And still it rained the wintry rain 
that drenched him through and through. 
The crowds went home and left the streets
without a soul to see.
And Jesus crouched against a wall 
and cried for Calvary.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 18

Night Thoughts
by William F. Bell

It is our emptiness and lowliness that God needs, and not our plenitude. — Mother Teresa

Somehow by day, no matter what,
I patch myself together whole,
But all my effort can’t offset
The nightly nakedness of soul
When angels in a dark descent
Strip off my integument.

I am a cornered rebel pinched
Between night’s armies and my lack,
And when inside the bedclothes hunched
I feel the force of their attack,
I hardly know what I can do,
Exposed to God at half-past two.

I once believed my being full,
But night thoughts prove that it is not.
Waking scared and miserable,
I scrape the bottom of the pot
And then must bow down and confess
Totality of emptiness.

Kings once ventured, it is said,
To offer gold and frankincense,
But I send nothing from my bed
Except a tattered penitence,
So very little has accrued
From years of doubtful plenitude.

God who tear away my cover,
Oh, pour your Spirit into me
Until my emptiness runs over
With golden superfluity,
And I bow down and offer up
Yourself within my earthen cup.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 17

Lachrimae Amantis   
by Geoffrey Hill

What is there in my heart that you should sue
so fiercely for its love? What kind of care
brings you as though a stranger to my door
through the long night and in the icy dew

seeking the heart that will not harbor you,
that keeps itself religiously secure?
At this dark solstice filled with frost and fire
your passion’s ancient wounds must bleed anew.

So many nights the angel of my house
has fed such urgent comfort through a dream,
whispered “your lord is coming, he is close”

that I have drowsed half-faithful for a time
bathed in pure tones of promise and remorse:
“tomorrow I shall wake to welcome him.”

“lachrimae amantis” – tears of the lover (Latin)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 16

Wake Me
by Susan Daron

Wake me up God, from the dreamless sleep of complacency.
Wake me from the fitful slumber of worry and despair.
Wake me from the sleepwalking of needless gathering and greed.
Wake me from the nightmares of prejudice, hatred and fear.
Wake me to the daybreak of your Resurrection morning.
Wake me to the dawning of new life in You.
Wake me to the sunshine warmth of service and caring.
Wake me to a blessed day of purposeful living.
And after the sunset, let me find at last a peaceful slumber in Your Love.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 15

Feasting and Fasting in Lent 
by William Arthur Ward

Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ indwelling them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on divine order.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; feast on non-resistance.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal Truth.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from facts that depress; feast on truths that uplift.
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicion; feast on truth.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that undergirds.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 14

Destroy Our Wisdom 
by Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Holy God, Outrageous Mystery, help us!
You who establish the earth and yet make it tremble,
grant us stability— and shake us up for the sake of love.
You who give your commandments,
make us obey— and replace all obedience with compassion.
You for whom we build our temples—
tear them down until only mercy remains.
We who think we know, who think we have enough to offer,
come before you with nothing,
and you receive us with grace.
O Holy One, foolishly crucified, powerless among us,
destroy our wisdom and knowledge and power,
with all their hidden faults,
that we may die with Christ,
and be raised up to new life
in the grace of your Spirit alone.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

March 18, 2012 - Fourth Sunday in Lent

We continue our Lenten worship and sermon series, "Ready for a Change".  (If you've missed any of the sermons, you can listen to the podcast here.)  Our scripture reading for the day will be Luke 14:15-24, the Parable of the Great Banquet.  Remember the story?  People were invited to a fabulous feast.  But when the host sent word that the meal was ready, the guests were all were too busy with other things.

Our theme for the day is "Choices".  With so many choices about where to focus our time and attention, we need the wisdom to choose that which brings us into communion with God.  How do you discern the changes needed in your life that will bring you into a closer relationship with God?  Will you respond to the invitation to abundant life?

Lenten Devotion for March 13

Loss is Indeed Our Gain
by Walter Brueggemann

The pushing and shoving in the world is endless.
      We are pushed and shoved.
      And we do our share of pushing and shoving
           in our great anxiety.
     And in the middle of that
           you have set down your beloved suffering son
           who was like a sheep led to slaughter
            who opened not his mouth.
     We seem not able,
     so we ask you to create space in our life
     where we may ponder his suffering
     and your summons for us to suffer with him,
     suspecting that suffering is the only way to newness.
So we pray for your church in these Lenten days,
     when we are driven to denial –
           not to notice the suffering, 
           not to engage it,
           not to acknowledge it.
So be that way of truth among us
       that we should not deceive ourselves
That we shall see that loss is indeed our gain.
We give you thanks for that mystery from which we live.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 12

Lenten Thoughts from Wishful Thinking
by Frederick Buechner

In many cultures there is an ancient custom of giving a tenth of each year's income to some holy use. For Christians to observe the forty days of Lent is to do the same thing with roughly a tenth of each year's days.  After being baptized by John in the river Jordan, Jesus went off alone into the wilderness where he spent forty days asking himself the question what it meant to be Jesus. During Lent, Christians are supposed to ask one way or another what it means to be themselves.

If you had to bet everything you have on whether there is a God or whether there isn't, which side would get your money and why?

When you look at your face in the mirror, what do you see in it that you most like and what do you see in it that you most deplore?

If you had only one last message to leave to the handful of people who are most important to you, what would it be in twenty-five words or less?

Of all the things you have done in your life, which is the one you would most like to undo? Which is the one that makes you happiest to remember?

Is there any person in the world, or any cause, that, if circumstances called for it, you would be willing to die for?

To hear yourself try to answer questions like these is to begin to hear something not only of who you are but of both what you are becoming and what you are failing to become. It can be a pretty depressing business all in all, but if sackcloth and ashes are at the start of it, something like Easter may be at the end.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 11

A Prayer for Lent
by Karl Streeter

O God of Love, Courage, Hope and Peace, we trust in Your presence even when we are too busy looking for You and fail to rest in Your presence. Help us let go of our desires, hopes and sometimes-unquestionable expectations. For You are with us always.

O God of Love, Courage, Hope and Peace, we trust in your presence even when we are more comfortable with the past or more eager to escape to an unfulfilled and imagined future. Help us let go of our fondness to fix, control, or even explain the beauty and ugliness of life. For You are with us always.

O God of Love, Courage, Hope and Peace, we trust in Your presence even when we close our hearts and minds to Your unfailing love and strength. Help us let go of our fears, anxiety, and obsessive need to protect our soul from the unknown and sometimes frighten realities of life. For You are with us always.

O God of Love, Courage, Hope and Peace, we trust in Your presence that we may fully embrace life in all its goodness and darkness with all of our heart, soul and mind. For You are with us always.

O God of Love, Courage, Hope and Peace, we trust in Your presence that we not only touch, taste, feel, and hear Your presence but we become agents of Your presence to others. For You are with us always.

O God of Love, Courage, Hope and Peace, we trust in Your presence that we may be the arms so You can hug, ears so You can listen, tear ducts so You can cry, mouth so You can laugh and may we rest in Your presence so we can be presence with each other. For You are with us always.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 10

To Keep a True Lent

by Robert Herrick, 1648

Is this a fast, to keep
   The larder lean?
      And clean
From fat of veals and sheep?

Is it to quit the dish
   Of flesh, yet still
      To fill
The platter high with fish?1

Is it to fast an hour,
   Or ragg’d go,
      Or show
A down-cast look and sour?

No: ’tis a Fast to dole
   Thy sheaf of wheat
      And meat
Unto the hungry soul.

It is to fast from strife
   And old debate,
      And hate;
To circumcise thy life.2

To show a heart grief-rent;
   To starve thy sin,
      Not bin;3
And that’s to keep thy Lent.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 9

A Prayer for Lent
by Kathleen Stone

Like busy, busy bees
My mind and heart and womb are busy and without release.
I do not know what to do
Or who to see
Or what I want
Or what to do
Or when to do it
I only know everything seems in a beehive. Busy.
The season of reflection, depth, sorrow and suffering is all around me.
And I dwell in this other place.
What must I do and why?
Hold me and focus my hungers, O God of eternity.
Tell me of what you want from me.
Hold me like you’ve never held another before or maybe like you hold each of us every day, every minute, every second.
Without demand and with full understanding which leaves no room for such nonsense.
I know I have everything I need.
I know I do not want.

I only need to know how to live such a gift.

My Lord and my God, teach me your ways.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 8

A Prayer for Lent 
by Henri Nouwen

The Lenten season begins. It is a time to be with you, Lord, in a special way, a time to pray, to fast, and thus to follow you on your way to Jerusalem, to Golgotha, and to the final victory over death.

I am still so divided. I truly want to follow you, but I also want to follow my own desires and lend an ear to the voices that speak about prestige, success, pleasure, power, and influence. Help me to become deaf to these voices and more attentive to your voice, which calls me to choose the narrow road to life.

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 not times or places without choices. And I know how deeply I resist choosing you.

Please, Lord, be with me at every moment and in every place. Give me the strength and the courage to live this season faithfully, so that, when Easter comes, I will be able to taste with joy the new life that you have prepared for me.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 7

Revise Our Taking
by Walter Brueggemann
You, you giver!
You have given light and life to the world;
You have given freedom from Pharaoh to your people Israel;
You have given your only Son for the sake of the world;
You have given yourself to us;
You have given and forgiven,
                 and you remember our sins no more. 
And we, in response, are takers:
       We take eagerly what you give us;
       we take from our neighbors near at hand as is acceptable;
       we take from our unseen neighbors greedily and acquisitively;
       we take from our weak neighbors thoughtlessly;
       we take all that we can lay our hands on.
It dawns on us that our taking does not match your giving.
In this Lenten season revise our taking,
               that it may be grateful and disciplined
              even as you give in ways generous and overwhelming.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 6

Lenten Poem
by Ann Weems

Lent is a time to take time to let the power
of our faith story take hold of us,
a time to let the events get up
and walk around in us,
a time to intensify our living unto Christ,
a time to hover over the thoughts of our hearts,
a time to place our feet in the streets of
Jerusalem or to talk along the see and
listen to his Word,
a time to touch his robe
and feel the healing surge through us,
a time to ponder and a time to wonder….
Lent is a time to allow
a fresh new taste of God!
Perhaps we’re afraid to have time to think,
for thoughts come unbidden.
Perhaps we’re afraid to face our future
knowing our past.
Give us courage, O God,
to hear your Word
and to read our living into it.
Give us the trust to know we’re forgiven
and give us the faith
to take up our lives and walk.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 5

Perfect Practice
by Melody Harrison Hanson

Practicing Lent
sounds slick.

My gift,
My rituals,
my restriction,
my sacrifice.

Then I stretch, throwing
out my arms,
open handed.

Look up,
give up.
Let go,
let up.

the One who comes
have me.
I let go,
practicing Lent.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 4

Come and Stay at My House Today
by Joyce Rupp

Jesus, this Lent I am yearning to wear a Zacchaeus heart.
I am wanting to hear you call my name just as you did his.
I am anxious to know that you are inviting yourself to my home.
I am humbled, amazed, excited, and astounded, just as he was.
But that is where the desire to wear a Zacchaeus heart stops,
because I know what happens when you visit someone’s house.
Conversations occur. Choices are presented. Changes happen.
That’s because you look for more than dust when you come to visit
and you talk about things more vital than the weather.
You move into the heart’s dimension. You gaze deeply.
You don’t just dwell. You interact. You activate.
You dwell so lovingly that the truth cannot be resisted.
This Lent help me to welcome you and yearn for your love.
Give me a Zacchaeus heart that turns around and sees the truth.
I need the gaze of your love to remind me of my truest self.
I, too, need the strong call to make amends and start anew.
Hurry, Jesus, come and stay at my house today.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 3

You Are With Me
by Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Holy One,
Light of my shadows and Way of my wandering,
you are the desert in whom I find myself;
you are the presence in whom, in solitude, I am not alone.
Walk with me into the wilderness of my sin.
Expose what is hidden that I need to see;
receive what is broken, that it may be healed;
forgive what is hurtful,
and bless what returns me to life.
By your grace may I find in my shadows your glorious image,
and in my broken heart your crucified Christ.
For you are my only power, my only security,
and the source of my truest self.
Gracious and Loving One,
I walk through a valley of shadows and death:
you are with me, and I trust you. Amen. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lenten Devotion for March 2

by Maya Angelou

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.