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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