March 10 - Laurie Parrish

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AM Psalm 87, 90; PM Psalm 136
Genesis 47:27-48:7; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Mark 7:1-23

“Nothing that goes into someone from outside can make that person unclean; it is the things that come out of someone that make that person unclean.”

– Mark 7:15

This verse has always intrigued me. The Mark 7:1-23 passage deals with the oral tradition received by the Jewish elders in caring for the physical hygiene and social health of the people. Jesus says that keeping the traditions of the elders by washing hands before eating is not as important as keeping our hearts and insides clean; and that one’s inner cleanliness is revealed by what comes out, through intentions and actions. He cares more about our internal spiritual cleanliness that motivates our human behavior than about external hygiene.

Love is the fundamental element of Lent. In responding to the Lord’s love for us, we are called to practice self-denial, carry our cross and follow Jesus because of our love for Him. Lent can be a time of victory over appearances and a deep encounter with God, the souls around us, ourselves and our environment. Lent is a time to repent to God, to our neighbors, to ourselves; and to create awareness about our responsibility to invest our time according to God’s Will. Let us check our insides and match them with our outsides. May this be a time of reconciliation when our insides are renewed, cleansed and aimed toward producing godly fruits!

- Laurie Parrish

March 11 - the Rev Jonathan Weldon

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Numbers 21:4-9
Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22
Ephesians 2:1-10
John 3:14-21

 

“Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died.

– Numbers 21:6

 

What an odd story we read in Numbers today!

 The Hebrew people, in the midst of their Exodus journey, lapse into complaining about everything, and God sends poisonous serpents among them with deadly results. Suddenly the people are sorry, and Moses provides an odd remedy: an image of a serpent on a pole upon which the people are to fix their gaze. And it works!

What do you think? Is this odd story telling history? Did God command this? Does God command this sort of thing? Or is this a story to convey meaning to us?

 What if, as one preacher has put it, the snakes “are the things we let loose on one another and ourselves when we feel insecure and discontented?”* Can we understand that we humans are the ones who bite each other like snakes?

 And what if the image of a snake on a pole is to make us look at what we’ve done, as hard as that may be? And what if it is in looking at what we’ve done that we are moved to sorrow and repentance and amendment of life, which is the first step in healing?

Jesus came among us, and we found it hard to accept the truth he told about us, so we bit him. We put him up on a pole, a cross. He reminds us of what we’ve done to hurt, and simultaneously he offers us God’s forgiveness and healing.

- Jonathan Weldon

March 12 - Carol Lichtenberg

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AM Psalm 89:1-18; PM Psalm 89:19-52

Genesis 49:1-28; 1 Corinthians 10:14-11:1; Mark 7:24-37

 

By the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,

   by the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,

by the God of your father, who will help you,

   by the Almighty who will bless you

   with blessings of heaven above,

blessings of the deep that lies beneath,

   blessings of the breasts and of the womb.

The blessings of your father

   are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains,

   the bounties of the everlasting hills;

may they be on the head of Joseph,

on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.

- Genesis 49:24b-26

The word “bless” is a translation of the Hebrew word “barakh.” Among other things, God blesses nature, the Sabbath, individuals, and nations. In turn, we bless God through worship and praise (Psalm 89). Like Jacob, people can bless their children. In Genesis 49:10 Jacob blesses the tribe of Judah, saying, “the scepter will not depart from Judah ... until Shiloh comes,” that is, he to whom the scepter belongs. The scepter or staff is a symbol of sovereignty. Commentators, including rabbis, believe this is a messianic promise, that is, pointing to the advent of a Savior who will enter earth-time. For Christians this is Jesus Christ.

I think there are two driving forces in the Bible: soteriology, a presentation of the way of salvation, and eschatology, a setting forth of last things in time. Salvation entered the last days in the person of Jesus Christ. As John Stott says, “Christianity is a rescue religion.” This is behind Paul’s concern for “the good of many, so that they may be saved” (1 Cor. 10:33).

How did Jesus save? Through his words and teaching, miracles and healing (Mark 7), through forgiving sins, which only God can do, and by dying on the cross. Through his death we are saved from death itself (John 3:16; Romans 6:23; John 11:25-26; et al). This is why Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:16). 

- Carol Lichtenberg

March 13 - Mary Horton

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AM Psalm 97, 99, [100]; PM Psalm 94, [95]

Genesis 49:29-50:14; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; Mark 8:1-10

 

“I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat.”

– Mark 8:2

 

This message caused me to start thinking about the many ways we are fed by our Lord God. Just look around here at St. Paul’s to see the many kinds of meals that are presented – the coffee hours, the Wednesday evening suppers, the Maple Alley Inn breakfasts and the luncheons we have served. The list goes on and on, and of course we come to the most important meal, the Holy Eucharist, where we experience the Lord’s presence as he assures us He is our firm foundation, our strength, our hope.

This message also brought to mind the many small touches, the many ways of feeding, beyond the meals, which we all do in the Lord’s name through His Holy presence in our lives. Small piece, large piece, one by one, He strengthens our giving. We appreciate the many ways we are fed by our Lord Jesus Christ and await each new awakening that is given to us.

 As we reach out to others, consciously or unconsciously, may his Holy light show through our compassion: our compassion for the crowds, each and every one.

 

- Mary J. Horton

March 14 - Marie Marchand

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AM Psalm 101, 109:1-4(5-19)20-30; PM Psalm 119:121-144

Genesis 50:15-26; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11; Mark 8:11-26

“Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.” – Mark 8:25

 

This meditative poem is meant to be read as Lectio Divina. Read it once at a contemplative pace. Then read it very slowly. The third time, read one stanza followed by silence, then the next stanza followed by silence, and so on.

Infusion

Lord, I have eyes.
I can see your Holiness
In all things.

I have ears.
I can hear your word
In the darkness.

I have a mouth.
I can speak the truth
And be set free.

I have hands.
I can give to the world
And make peace.

I have lungs.
I can breathe your Spirit in
And be redeemed anew.

I have a heart.
I can love your goodness
Bask in your goodness
Become your goodness.

Infuse my senses so that I
may know you in all things.

AMEN

- Marie Marchand

March 15 - Eli Gemora

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AM Psalm 69:1-23(24-30)31-38; PM Psalm 73

Exodus 1:6-22; 1 Corinthians 12:12-26; Mark 8:27-9:1

 

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many.

– 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

 

I am in the midst of a service year with Episcopal Service Corps. I live with others in the program and serve people in the community. We call ourselves an intentional community and share each other’s burdens as one united group. Together we cook, work out, clean, shop, and have different house duties.

 It’s a nice life, but it’s far from easy. We challenge each other as much as anything else. We inspire each other and teach each other. Our growing pains are great, but we are all determined to let ourselves grow, and when we rely on God and each other, it is much easier. Our load is lightened by collaborating and relying on each other’s gifts. When we share our suffering, it becomes communally handled. When we share our rejoicing, it becomes communal joy.

 Individually, we cannot live to our fullest. I rarely cook and never work out, but I do so for my community because they rely on me. I do dishes to make them happy, and they cook meals without meat to make me happy.

 Living like this means giving up small, selfish moments, and as much as I may grumble through it, I am made the better for it. I have been taught that lesson over and over in my service year. Giving up selfish things is painful, but it is infinitely more satisfying.

 Perhaps you gave something up over Lent. What is it teaching you? How could it change the rest of your life? Will you let yourself grow?

- Eli Gemora

March 16 - Hedy Howe

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AM Psalm 95 [for the Invitatory] 102; PM Psalm 107:1-32

Exodus 2:1-22; 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:3; Mark 9:2-13

 

Come, let us sing to the LORD;

    let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.

Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee,

    and kneel before the LORD our Maker.

– Psalm 95:1, 6

 

Writing a Lenten Reflection in the midst of Advent seems rather strange. But should it? As Psalm 95 tells us, we are called to bow down in worship, kneel before the Lord, and sing for joy before the Lord. We are called to listen to His voice and to offer obedience with our lives. In the tradition I grew up in, we used this psalm during the lighting of the Shepherds’ candle (the third Advent candle) because of the reference to God being like a shepherd and we being his flock. It reminds us of whose we are!

 Billy Graham once said that for Christmas to have meaning, it cannot be separated from the cross. Indeed, before His death, Jesus Himself said, “For this I was born and for this I came into the world” (John 18:37). “He was the only person in history who was born with the purpose of dying” (Graham). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” (John 3:16).

 Listening to carols and their texts gives one pause. Several mention the purpose of Jesus’ birth: “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice”; “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”; “The Holly and the Ivy,” and one of my favorites, “Mary, Did You Know.” This one contains the line, “The child that you delivered will soon deliver you.” Many hymns and carols reference Jesus as our savior: one who saves, rescues, or delivers.

 Jesus came into this world to save us, and he accomplished that by dying on the cross and then rising again! He laid down His life for His flock … we are His!

 Thanks be to God.

 - Hedy Howe

March 17 - Myron Shekelle

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AM Psalm 107:33-43, PM Psalm 108:1-6(7-13); 33

Exodus 2:23-3:15; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Mark 9:14-29

 

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.

- 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Earlier this year I was listening to Maya Angelou read her book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Toward the end she described a pastor’s sermon that sounded both familiar and foreign to me. In any list of the most often-quoted Bible verses, 1 Corinthians 13 will be near the top. You cannot live long in any society with a Christian heritage and not hear it.

 But the Corinthians quote in Maya Angelou’s book was just a bit strange to me. Everywhere I expected to hear “love”, the pastor in her story said “charity.” Considering that one of the most common times to hear this passage is during a marriage service, it struck me as more than just a little important that we know the meaning: that is, charity or love?

 There is a gap between who we are and who we think we should be. Paul refers to this gap as hamartia in Greek, which is translated as “sin” in English, but which has the more precise meaning of “missing the mark.” Whether we are at home with plans to go to the supermarket, or whether we are contemplating the distance between our self and our perfect self, this gap is always there during our mortal life. Now we are part way there, and someday we will be fully there.

 Until then, only three things remain: faith, hope, and . . . ? With nothing less at stake than the greatest of those three things that we possess between now and our perfect accordance with the will of God, which is it? Charity or love?

- Myron Shekelle

March 18 - Josh Hosler

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Jeremiah 31:31-34

Psalm 51:1-13 or Psalm 119:9-16

Hebrews 5:5-10, John 12:20-33

 

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”

- John 12:20-23

Two decades later, Paul would write to the Galatians: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). That’s still a stunning revelation, and I like to think it began at this oft-ignored moment in John’s gospel which we read today.

 I get the feeling that Jesus’ disciples are feeling anxious and protective by this time. These Greeks can’t just approach Jesus without security clearance. Earlier in his ministry, maybe Jesus would have made sure he was more available to outsiders. But the anxiety in the air is thick, even for Jesus himself. He’s steeling himself for the final confrontation with the forces of evil, a confrontation that he knows he must lose. “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32).

 This moment, the moment when some Greeks get curious enough to approach Jesus in curiosity, is the moment when Jesus brings the ministry of the Son of Man to a close. Now he knows that the spark will catch and the flame will spread. No longer is this Good News only for Jesus’ own people. Now it is for the entire world, beginning with the Greeks. Now the promise God gave to Abraham so many centuries ago is about to achieve its fulfillment: “… and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3).

 But, hang on. Do these Greeks ever get to talk with Jesus? We never find out.

- Josh Hosler

March 26 - Sirie Neal

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AM Psalm 51:1-18(19-20); PM Psalm 69:1-23

Lamentations 1:1-2,6-12; 2 Corinthians 1:1-7; Mark 11:12-25

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.

- 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

In my short life, I have been beaten down, abused, and violated. These atrocities left me broken and scattered, attacked again and again from within and without. The compassion and consoling nature of others have put the pieces of a broken soul back together into the person I am now.

 Many others are not as graced as I have been, to have been shown compassion and given comfort in their tribulations. To rebuild the Kingdom of God, we must show compassion to all, comfort those in need, and console the broken souls as they heal. In their healing they shall see that you were not their only comforter; you also made God’s presence felt in those dark hours. You need not say a word to give the greatest comfort, only be present and in the moment.

 We must remember that this is the God that our world needs to see, one of compassion and comfort, a God who will console us in our times of trial. If we truly are the children of God, should we not be the consolers of the people—the comfort givers? In showing these qualities to others, you shall also receive the same. For when we need consoling and compassion, will you not only hope to receive it from God, but from those around you? Who can you share the compassion and comfort of God with today?

- Sirie Neal

March 27 - Clare Koesters

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AM Psalm 6, 12; PM Psalm 94

Lamentations 1:17-22; 2 Corinthians 1:8-22; Mark 11:27-33

 

He who rescued us from so deadly a peril will continue to rescue us; on him we have set our hope that he will rescue us again, as you also join in helping us by your prayers, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted to us through the prayers of many … For in him every one of God’s promises is a ‘Yes.’ For this reason it is through him that we say the ‘Amen’, to the glory of God.

- 2 Corinthians 1:10-11, 20

 

In this past year, following a period of about five years of stagnation and little growth, I have experienced a great number of blessings from God. I attribute this change to the phrase, “How can I serve?”

 I asked this question for the first time (genuinely) last May, shortly after I had moved to Bellingham. In recent years I had been drawn toward positive thinking and daily goal setting. But on this day, instead of my usual “What can I accomplish [for myself] today?,” for some reason I asked, “How can I serve today?” I felt God’s presence as a rush of warmth, light, and understanding, and I felt a renewed power to take things on.

 Making personal goals is not to be decried—on the contrary. But for myself, I found that replacing my daily musing “What can I do for me?” with “How can I serve?” brought a feeling of connectedness to God that I had never known before. Since this desire to serve has been awakened, I believe I’ve been blessed.

 But this prompts a question: Does one seek to serve others primarily for one’s own benefit? If that is so, I do not believe it nullifies the effect for the recipient. Some ask whether altruism exists; I say God works through our actions. The hungry person is satisfied when fed regardless of whether the cook was truly being selfless, or it just made them “feel good.” We needn’t let the fact that our selfish thoughts can creep into our altruistic thoughts prevent us from doing good.

 There are still so many days when I forget to ask, “How can I serve?,” especially during the dark winter months when it is so easy for the focus to be drawn inward. But the days when I do ask the question are inevitably brighter. I believe Lent is a time to repeat this question with renewed vigor, that we can be prepared to say “thank you” for the blessings that follow.

 

- Clare Koesters

March 29 - Pastor Lee Cunningham

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Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14

Psalm 116:1, 10-17

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

John 13:1-17, 31b-35

 

For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.”

– John 13:15

 

Marjorie stood at the sacristy sink, propped up by her two crutches. She had used crutches since she was crippled by polio as a child. Yet there she stood in her early 70s, lovingly and vigorously scrubbing the communion linens until they gleamed. “I can’t do much, but I serve where I can,” she told me. She started a ministry of phoning “the old people who live alone” on a daily basis just to check on them. No one recruited her to do this: she saw a need and did something. She lived on social security and yet she tithed her small monthly check. “When you tithe, you always have enough.”

The Gospel reading for Maundy Thursday is a scandalous and powerful call to the church to develop the heart of a servant. I was in my first year of ministry right out of seminary when I met Marjorie, and her quiet discipleship had a profound effect on my developing ministry. Here was a Christian with the true heart of a servant! I have met many others over the years, but Marjorie was the first.

O God, your voice is like a trumpet calling us to your service; enable us by your grace to answer that call and to give ourselves completely to your gracious will. In the name of the eternally blessed and holy Trinity. Amen. [Prayer by Daniel Taylor Benedict, OSL]

- Lee Cunningham

March 30 - Luci Shaw

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Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Psalm 22

Hebrews 10:16-25 or Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9

John 18:1-19:42

 

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, "Woman, here is your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Here is your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

– John 19:25b

 

Onlookers

“Sickness and dying are places…where there’s no company, where nobody can follow.”--Flannery O’Connor

 

Behind our shield of health, each

of us must sense another’s anguish

second-hand; we are agnostic

in the face of birth and dying. So Joseph felt,

observer of the push and splash of entry,

and Mary, under the cross’s arm.

 

Only their son, and God’s,

in bearing all our griefs,

felt them firsthand, climbing

himself our rugged hill of pain.

His nerves, en-fleshed, carried

the messages of nails, the tomb’s

chill. His ever-open wounds still

blazon back to us the pack of pain

we didn’t have to bear, and heaven

gleams for us more real,

crossed with his human blood.

 

- Luci Shaw

March 31 - Sarah Yates

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Job 14:1-14 or Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24

Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16, 1 Peter 4:1-8

Matthew 27:57-66 or John 19:38-42

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. – Matthew 27:57-61

At the beginning of Lent, I thought it would be a good time to take down my Advent wreath. When I lifted it from my desk, it left behind a perfect ring of needles. I laughed, snapped a photo to send to my mom, and swept them away. I pulled the first barren twig from the reusable frame, then paused. I carefully placed the wreath back down.

It became my Lent wreath.

No candles, no needles.

No light, no life.

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To me, Lent is an extension of Good Friday, just as Advent is an extension of Christmas Eve. During Advent, we await God’s birth. We anticipate Jesus’ life; His physical body to walk among us. The promised Messiah is coming to redeem us. During Lent, God is dead. Jesus has not risen; His body sealed in the tomb. The Chosen One has failed.

I reflect on what must have gone through the disciples’ minds that day—these men who dropped everything: Their families, homes, traditions, careers, and social standing. Forsook them to follow, and to follow what? A pot-stirrer, a rule breaker, a cryptic pedagogue, a homeless man, a deranged man. One who summoned the powers of God or the Devil; a convicted and condemned blasphemer.

No wonder Peter denied him! Mere ostracism would seem a mercy to these blasphemers-by-association. Furthermore, what must have been their spiritual state? Before, they had nothing earthly but everything spiritually. Now they had nothing at all.

And that is the painful—and powerful—thing about Lent: not that there is no hope, but that there was hope and now it’s gone. Stolen. False. Wasted. Vain.

- Sarah Yates

March 19 - Lindsay Reid

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AM Psalm 31; PM Psalm 35

Exodus 4:10-20(21-26)27-31; 1 Corinthians 14:1-19; Mark 9:30-41

 

Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”

- Mark 9:33-35

In today’s gospel, the apostles argue over who is the greatest among them. Okay, let’s not be too judgmental. The apostles are almost endearing in their raw humanness. Jesus’ answer, a “servant of all,” is for us, too. How easy is that? Servanthood connotes many virtues: Humility. Trust. Faith. Grace. For me, a memory popped up, so vivid I could see those sparkling blue Polish eyes and warm smile. Walter.

While I was a graduate student at Fordham University, a dear friend often invited me to dine with him and an elderly retired Jesuit, Walter. Walter was delightful! His lined face glowed with a youthful innocence, a kind of radiance. His speech and laugh were gentle and silently communicated an ineffable spiritual presence. Little did I know I was dining with a saint! Only after his death did I read his books With God in Russia and He Leadeth Me. I’m glad. I would have been too awestruck had I known who he really was.

As a missionary in Russia, Walter J. Ciszek, S.J. was arrested in 1941, imprisoned, severely tortured, and eventually sent to hard labor camps in Siberia. He became a “servant of all,” administering sacraments and leading prayer with fellow prisoners. Presumed dead, Father Ciszek spent 23 years in captivity under the harshest of conditions. The horrors he suffered are beyond imagination. Yet here was a man within whom existed no bitterness—only humility, joy, love, faith, grace, dignity. A faithful Servant.

Lord, help us to be faithful servants.

- Lindsay Reid

March 20 - April Muegge

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AM Psalm [120], 121, 122, 123; PM Psalm 124, 125, 126, [127]

Exodus 5:1-6:1; 1 Corinthians 14:20-33a,39-40; Mark 9:42-50

 

For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.”

For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity.

- Psalm 122:8-9 (NIV)

 Even during the darkest of times, when I feel depleted and have nothing to share with others, I can always pray a blessing of peace and wellness upon those around me. I can aspire not only to pray for those I care for most, but also to do as Jesus taught and extend my circle to include my “neighbor.” I don’t need to ask who exactly my neighbor is because I can pray for the health, well-being, and prosperity of all those around me, even if they are strangers.

 Seeking justice, loving mercy, walking humbly, and praying for peace are all meant for the benefit of others, not just me. These are things I can freely share even if I live in poverty or struggle with depression. Each of us can make this world a better place by treating those we know and love with kindness and mercy, and to also extend this kindness to those who seem vastly different or even undeserving. No one is beyond the love and grace of God.

- April Muegge

March 21 - Kate Brigham

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AM Psalm 119:145-176; PM Psalm 128, 129, 130

Exodus 7:8-24; 2 Corinthians 2:14-3:6; Mark 10:1-16

 

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

– Mark 10:15

 When I was a young adult, I was awkward around children. I didn’t know what to say, how to interact or even relate. I was scared to hold a baby. I avoided children. Why was it so difficult? I was, in fact, a child myself at one time, wasn’t I?

 The years since my son came into my life have been extraordinary. His pure innocence, natural wonder for the world, instinctive trust in goodness, and generous love for others and for life itself helped me to remember what my own relationship with God must have been like at one time. If you ask a young child why they love a rainbow, they won’t try to find the meaning of life or write an exegesis about it! They love a rainbow just because they do. They love because they love. Or simply, they love.

 Because we grow up and live in a broken world, we adults often doubt. We are guarded, prideful, fearful. We become blind: we create obstacles to a wholesome relationship with our Heavenly Father.

 The good news is, if we choose to look deep within our hearts, we can discover that we are still the same child that God designed us to be.

 Today, if you have the pleasure to be around a young child, let them lead the way. Or, allow yourself to surrender, even for a moment, to the everyday beauty and blessings, however small, that surround you.

 - Kate Brigham

March 22 - Jennifer Zovar

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AM Psalm 131, 132, [133]; PM Psalm 140, 142

Exodus 7:25-8:19; 2 Corinthians 3:7-18; Mark 10:17-31

 

O Lord, I am not proud;
I have no haughty looks.

I do not occupy myself with great matters,

or with things that are too hard for me.

But I still my soul and make it quiet,

like a child upon its mother's breast;

my soul is quieted within me.

O Israel, wait upon the Lord,

from this time forth for evermore.

- Psalm 131

This psalm encourages us to quiet our soul, “like a child upon its mother’s breast.” When you hold a sleeping baby, their little bodies relax completely, and they melt into your arms like there is nothing separating you from them. Cognitively, babies don’t even realize they’re separate individuals until they’re about six months old. Even today, when my son comes to me after a nightmare or when my daughter bangs her knee during some exuberant dancing, I feel them quiet when I hold them. Sometimes I marvel that I can still do this for them. And I dread the day that a cuddle will no longer be able to quiet their wounds and worries. Because this is what we do as parents. We take our children’s worries and we keep them for ourselves.

 But where do we go when their worries are too big for us to hold? When we face hardships or are confronted with “evildoers”? When our “spirit languishes”? How can we return to our mother’s breast? The reading from 2 Corinthians speaks of a veil that separates us from God and from each other. Paul reminds us that “when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” In Christ, perhaps, we can remember, as we knew when we were babies, that we are not really separate individuals from our mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters. We are one body in Christ. And it is on His breast that we can leave our worries.

- Jennifer Zovar

March 23 - Alan McEwan

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AM Psalm 95 [for the Invitatory] 22; PM Psalm 141, 143:1-11(12)

Exodus 9:13-35; 2 Corinthians 4:1-12; Mark 10:32-45

 

Lord, hear my prayer,

and in your faithfulness heed my supplications;

answer me in your righteousness.

Enter not into judgment with your servant,

for in your sight shall no one living be justified.

For my enemy has sought my life;

he has crushed me to the ground;

he has made me live in dark places like those who are long dead.

- Psalm 143:1-3

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- Alan McEwen