Lenten Devotions

Reflections from parishioners and clergy on the day’s Scripture readings during the church’s season of Lent.

Thursday in the First Week of Lent

“I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart!” says Psalm 138. My whole heart. My entire self, which includes the part of me who wants to determine my own version of justice for others, who gets super judgy, who thinks I am better than “the other.” That part of myself keeps me at a distance from other people and from my God. I can be my own worst stumbling block. [ More → ]

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Wednesday in the First Week of Lent

I was quite familiar with the story of Jonah and Nineveh, having encountered it in Sunday School, and even acted it out on a “muppet tour” with the Baptist youth group in the church in which I was raised.  [ More → ]

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Tuesday in the First Week of Lent

What are we doing when we pray? Doesn’t God already know everything we could want to say? Does prayer change anything? What kind of deity is influenced by our prayers? A deity who waits until we ask correctly? What if others pray for the exact opposite result? (Think “politics, circa 2019.”) Maybe it helps to realize that… [ More → ]

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Monday in the First Week of Lent

The whole point of our being baptized, for going to church, for being Christian, is to go and do. We often get bogged down in the choices, frozen by our indecision. What does God want me to be involved with? [ More → ]

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Introduction to the 2019 Ascension Lenten Devotional

What is a symbol? It might be defined as one thing that stands in for another thing; something that represents something else that is not inherent in it. We are surrounded by symbols; we move through the world guided by symbols. They help us organize our lives; they aid us in our ability to … [ More → ]

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Saturday after Ash Wednesday

Capital-F “Faith” was always a challenging concept for my long-agnostic mind. I understood it as a blind trust in a wise, bearded fellow in the sky, the puppeteer of all things. I interpreted faith as requiring a belief that God has a blueprint for each of our lives and we must trot merrily along the dotted line… [ More → ]

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Friday after Ash Wednesday

Today’s readings enrich and resonate with one another. Isaiah starts by pointing out that his people are committing righteous acts in order to be noticed, validated, and consecrated.

“Why have we fasted,” they say, “and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?”
— Isaiah 58:3

Yet, God tells the people… [ More → ]

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Thursday after Ash Wednesday

The Old Testament readings seem to set up a clear dichotomy between “the righteous” and “the wicked.” Those who obey the commandments will live, and those who do not will perish. It’s enough to make anyone squirm. We all know that we have not obeyed. [ More → ]

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Ash Wednesday

Here we are in Lent, when we are told, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Flowers come off the altar, and the green vestments, green as grass and leaves, are put away. Yet I am thinking about gardens. Isaiah promises that… [ More → ]

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March 31: The Mystery of Our Journey

I am writing this reflection in early January, in the middle of a snowstorm. We are still celebrating Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, and the feast of the Epiphany is coming up- the arrival of the wise ones led by a star from far away, bringing strange gifts for a newborn: gold symbolizing royalty, frankincense for …  [ More → ]

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