April 15th Lenten Devotion

Control Issues

Anne Knighten

Matthew 26:14-16

 If there was ever a person in need of the Serenity Prayer, it was Judas. Accepting what he could not change, changing what he could, and having the wisdom to know the difference? Not Judas. The catalyst for his actions appears to be Jesus’ response to the waste of an alabaster jar of costly perfume, but Matthew leaves Judas’ motives to our speculation. Perhaps Judas was outraged that Jesus rebuked the disciples rather than the unnamed woman. Perhaps he believed that Jesus needed to be pushed in the direction of doing something to demonstrate that he was the Messiah and that there was no better time than just before Passover to act. It would seem sensible for Jesus, upon being confronted by the chief priests, to reveal himself as the Messiah and then raise up an army to free the people from the oppression of Rome.

I have found that whenever I try to tell God that I need to be in control, I end up discovering how wrong I am. I make plans and God sends me in a different direction—and I can see in hindsight that God had the better plan. When I feel resentful or depressed because things do not go according to my plan, I try to remember the words of Isaiah 55:8-9, that God’s ways are not my ways.

 

God of abundance, you pour your mercies out with an extravagant love. We do not always understand your plan and often act in ways that are unwise. Grant us the wisdom to know when to act and when to relinquish control. In all things, may your will be done.

 

Anne Knighten is a senior in the MDiv-Distributive Learning program at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. She and her husband live in Redlands, CA.

 

©2019 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group.  This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.  This means you may share this work only if appropriate attribution (to both the author of the original piece and to the Facebook Group which compiled it) is used, and ONLY if you are a noncommercial entity.  Any derivative work using this intellectual property must also be freely shared, as this booklet is.  Individual churches throughout the world may make copies of this booklet for their congregations in their entirety or may use individual pages from this book.   The full copyright notice above must accompany any use of this book, or any extract from it, as well as the byline and the name of the individual author. 

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April 14th Lenten Devotion

An Extravagant Gift

Allison Byerley

Matthew 26:6-13

A scion of the church passed away last year. Her family visited our prayer garden and was struck by its beauty. They wanted to give something in her memory to enhance it and offered to install a water feature. I investigated some local options prior to meeting with them and wondered if the expensive $250 fountain would be in their budget. When we sat down together, I asked about the budget and was told to keep it under $5,000! I thought the family was joking, but they weren’t.

Our church, like so many, is struggling with every day bills, and I confess that the thought crossed my mind of the peace of mind a $5,000 gift to our operating fund would bring. But I didn’t say anything because I remembered this story and what the anonymous woman did for Jesus.

The disciples were angry because they saw her gift as a waste. Jesus honored her for the offering she made, anointing him as his final days approached. Likewise, this family want to honor God and help others connect to Jesus through a garden devoted to prayer. The concerns of daily ministry will continue, but the extravagant gift of this family in memory of their mother and to the glory of God reminds me that there is more to ministry than budgetary worries.

 

God, how can I give you glory today in my life? What extravagant offering can I make?

 

 Rev. Dr. Allison Byerley is the Pastor of Mariposa UMC in Mariposa, CA.

 

©2019 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group.  This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.  This means you may share this work only if appropriate attribution (to both the author of the original piece and to the Facebook Group which compiled it) is used, and ONLY if you are a noncommercial entity.  Any derivative work using this intellectual property must also be freely shared, as this booklet is.  Individual churches throughout the world may make copies of this booklet for their congregations in their entirety or may use individual pages from this book.   The full copyright notice above must accompany any use of this book, or any extract from it, as well as the byline and the name of the individual author. 

April 13th Lenten Devotion

Whose Plans?

Mary Austin

Matthew 26:1-5

 I always wonder about the difference between our plans and God’s plans.  Sometimes they align, other times they overlap, and sometimes we have wildly different plans.  In my own life, God is often like one of those retractable dog leashes.  God will let me run for a while in my own direction, and then the leash locks, and I have to stop and reconsider.

Here we hear that both Jesus and the religious leaders know that his death is coming.  They both can see ahead to the same event, and yet they understand it in very different ways.  The religious leaders think they’re getting rid of a problem.  It’s not clear to us exactly how Jesus understands his coming death, and theologians will debate until the end of time about what it means.  A substitution for our sins?  God working through a wrong to make a statement about the limited power of human evil, when faced with God’s plans?  A tragic miscarriage of justice, mirrored over and over in our human world?

No matter how we understand the death of Jesus, we all agree that God was at work through it, in some way showing that the Divine never gives up on humanity.  The plans of human wrongdoers became part of God’s plans, as God intervenes to bring life out of evil and death.  As we make daily lists and strategic plans, it’s easy to miss the plans that God has.  Holy Week is an enduring reminder that God’s plans come alive in the world, either through us or in spite of us.

 

Loving God, tune our hopes to yours, and our dreams to the ones you have for all of humanity.  As we make plans, may we find your grace-filled foundation underneath all that we hope to do.  In Jesus; name, Amen.

 

Mary Austin is the pastor of Westminster Church of Detroit, a multi-cultural Presbyterian.  She is the author of Meeting God at the Mall

 

©2019 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group.  This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.  This means you may share this work only if appropriate attribution (to both the author of the original piece and to the Facebook Group which compiled it) is used, and ONLY if you are a noncommercial entity.  Any derivative work using this intellectual property must also be freely shared, as this booklet is.  Individual churches throughout the world may make copies of this booklet for their congregations in their entirety or may use individual pages from this book.   The full copyright notice above must accompany any use of this book, or any extract from it, as well as the byline and the name of the individual author. 

April 12th Lenten Devotion

God-Neighbor-Self Love

Shari Jackson Monson

Matthew 22:34-40

The image is far-fetched. A billboard highway sign looming overhead. Significant expense paid. Text concise enough to be read by even the zippiest of passersby. Modern context for an ancient truth. The God, whose character is love, knows our love for God is sincere when we love our neighbors. This was big news. Indeed, the truth of it startles us still.

In the ancient world, Israel’s identity was wrapped up in what scholars of the day considered the greater laws of God. These, most agreed, could be summed up in a practice called the Shema, frequently recited as a prayer, which called the faithful to love the Lord your God with all of one’s heart, and all of one’s soul, and all of one’s mind (Deut. 6:5).

When pressed by a teacher of the law as to what God’s intentions for us might be, Jesus quotes the Shema. But Jesus includes a second [law] as like it, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself’ [Lev. 19:19]. Adding, ‘On these two commandments depend all the Law and Prophets’.

Somehow Israel had relegated this second commandment to a lesser law. Jesus took exception to Israel’s practice and surprised the audience by putting these laws on equal footing. In doing so he demonstrates that God loves Israel’s neighbors as much as God loves Israel.

Action: Look for signs of where God may be inviting you to show love and concern for people you have previously overlooked or bypassed.

 

Shari Jackson Monson is the interim pastor of John Knox Presbyterian Church in Normandy Park, near Seattle Washington.

 

©2019 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group.  This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.  This means you may share this work only if appropriate attribution (to both the author of the original piece and to the Facebook Group which compiled it) is used, and ONLY if you are a noncommercial entity.  Any derivative work using this intellectual property must also be freely shared, as this booklet is.  Individual churches throughout the world may make copies of this booklet for their congregations in their entirety or may use individual pages from this book.   The full copyright notice above must accompany any use of this book, or any extract from it, as well as the byline and the name of the individual author. 

April 10th News and Notes

 

Lenten Dinners

Our final Lenten dinner is tonight at 6:00.  The theme for the meal is pasta and we will conclude our conversation about the Fruits of the Spirit.  Come and join us!

Easter Egg Hunt

Following worship on Palm Sunday (April 14th), our children will have an Easter Egg hunt.  If you are available to stay after worship this Sunday to help hid the eggs, it would be appreciated.

Good Friday

Our Good Friday service is April 19th at 7:30.  We are still looking for readers.  If you are willing to read, please email ckdeacon@yahoo.com

Maundy Thursday

Mandy Thursday is April 18th.  We will celebrate communion during a potluck meal, beginning at 6:00.  Plan on joining us!

Mission Giving

We will collect our mission offering this Sunday.  The mission partner for April is Christmas in April!

Warm Nights

The Mission and Service Committee will be organizing the food for the Warm Nights program on May 2nd, at All Saints Lutheran Church at 6pm.
The food will be Walking Tacos. Please sign up in the Narthex if you would like to serve or provide food.

Christmas in April

Christmas in April will be Saturday, April 27th.  We will be working on a house in Lanham.  There is a sign-up sheet in the Narthex.

Sermons Online

Did you know that our sermons are posted on our website, usually a week after worship?  You can find them here.

Two Week Outlook

Wednesday, April 10th

  • Lenten Dinner, 6:00
  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Thursday, April 11th

  • Men’s Breakfast, 8:30 AM, Nautilus Diner, Crofton
  • Ladies Luncheon, 11:30 AM, First Watch

Sunday, April 14th

  • Palm Sunday
  • Children’s Easter Egg hunt after worship

Wednesday, April 17th

  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Thursday, April 18th

  • Maundy Thursday Potluck, 6:00

Friday, April 19th

  • Good Friday service, 7:30

Sunday, April 14th

  • Easter!
  • Worship, 10:00

Wednesday, April 24th

  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Looking Ahead

  • April 21st, Easter
  • April 27th, Christmas in April
  • May 19th, Church in the Park
  • July 7th-13th 2019, Mars Hill Mission trip
  • July 22nd-26th, Art & Music Camp

April 3rd News and Notes

 

Lenten Dinners

We will have our Lenten dinners on Wednesday nights during Lent, continuing tonight.  The meal theme for tonight is crock-pot chicken.  We will have dinner at 6:00 and follow it with an inter-generational, interactive activity.  Sign-ups are in the Narthex for future weeks.  If you did not sign up for tonight, please feel free to come out and join us anyway!

M.O.M.s

Our next M.O.M.s (mothers of minors!) meeting will be Saturday April 6th at 8:00 for breakfast at Milk & Honey.  This is for anyone with children, newborn through high school to get together and share fellowship with one another.  If you plan on attending or would like to be kept up to date on future events, please email ckdeacon@yahoo.com

Easter Egg Hunt

Following worship on Palm Sunday (April 14th), our children will have an Easter Egg hunt.  If you are available to stay after worship this Sunday to help fill Easter Eggs, it will be appreciated.  We also need people on the 14th to help hide the eggs.

Good Friday

We are looking for readers for our Good Friday service on April 19th.  If you are willing to read, please email ckdeacon@yahoo.com

Maundy Thursday

Mandy Thursday is April 18th.  We will celebrate communion during a potluck meal, beginning at 6:00.  Plan on joining us!

Warm Nights

The Mission and Service Committee will be organizing the food for the Warm Nights program on May 2nd, at All Saints Lutheran Church at 6pm.
The food will be Walking Tacos. Please sign up in the Narthex if you would like to serve or provide food.

 

Christmas in April

Christmas in April will be Saturday, April 27th.  We will be working on a house in Lanham.  There is a sign-up sheet in the Narthex.

Sermons Online

Did you know that our sermons are posted on our website, usually a week after worship?  You can find them here.

Two Week Outlook

Wednesday, April 3rd

  • Lenten Dinner, 6:00
  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Saturday, April 10th

  • M.O.M.s outing, 8:00 AM, Milk & Honey Cafe

Sunday, April 7th

  • Worship with Communion, 10:00
  • Filling Easter Eggs after worship

Tuesday, April 9th

  • Board Meeting, 7:00

Wednesday, April 10th

  • Lenten Dinner, 6:00
  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Thursday, April 11th

  • Men’s Breakfast, 8:30 AM, Nautilus Diner, Crofton
  • Ladies Luncheon, 11:30 AM, First Watch

Sunday, April 14th

  • Palm Sunday
  • Children’s Easter Egg hunt after worship

Looking Ahead

  • April 21st, Easter
  • April 27th, Christmas in April
  • May 19th, Church in the Park
  • July 7th-13th 2019, Mars Hill Mission trip
  • July 22nd-26th, Art & Music Camp

March 27th News and Notes

 

Lenten Dinners

We will have our Lenten dinners on Wednesday nights during Lent, continuing tonight.  The meal theme for tonight is casserole.  We will have dinner at 6:00 and follow it with an inter-generational, interactive activity.  Sign-ups are in the Narthex for future weeks.  If you did not sign up for tonight, please feel free to come out and join us anyway!

Easter Baskets

The Mission and Service committee will be collecting Easter items for 15 Baskets. Please place your purchases in the Narthex by April 8th. They’ll be delivered to the Bowie Food Pantry on Monday the 9th.

Warm Nights

The Mission and Service Committee will be organizing the food for the Warm Nights program on May 2nd, at All Saints Lutheran Church at 6pm.
The food will be Walking Tacos. Please sign up in the Narthex if you would like to serve or provide food.

M.O.M.s

Our next M.O.M.s (mothers of minors!) meeting will be Saturday April 6th at 8:00 for breakfast at Milk & Honey.  This is for anyone with children, newborn through high school to get together and share fellowship with one another.  If you plan on attending or would like to be kept up to date on future events, please email ckdeacon@yahoo.com

Christmas in April

Christmas in April will be Saturday, April 27th.  We will be working on a house in Lanham.  There is a sign-up sheet in the Narthex.

Sermons Online

Did you know that our sermons are posted on our website, usually a week after worship?  You can find them here.

Two Week Outlook

Wednesday, March 27th

  • Lenten Dinner, 6:00
  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Thursday, March 28th

  • Men’s Breakfast, 8:15am, Nautilus Diner, Crofton
  • Ladies Night Out, 6:30pm, RIPS

Sunday, March 31st

  • Worship, 10:00

Monday, April 1st

  • Worship Team, 4:00

Wednesday, April 3rd

  • Lenten Dinner, 6:00
  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Sunday, April 7th

  • Worship with Communion, 10:00

Tuesday, April 9th

  • Board Meeting, 7:00

Looking Ahead

  • April 21st, Easter
  • April 27th, Christmas in April
  • May 19th, Church in the Park
  • July 7th-13th 2019, Mars Hill Mission trip
  • July 22nd-26th, Art & Music Camp