Monthly Archives: February 2016

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.

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.

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.

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.