Student Devotional for the seventh week of Lent

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Weekly Student Devotional for the Season of Lent

The Christian season of Lent begins this year on Wednesday, March 1st, and continues until Sunday, April 18th.  Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, a holy day during which Christians are meant to reflect on their own limitations and mortality and remember their need for God. During the 40 days of Lent, Christians are called to reflect on their life of faith and their dependence on God for life, forgiveness, and salvation.  Easter marks the end of Lent and the beginning of a season of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus and the hope of new life.

Student Devotional for the seventh week of Lent

Matthew 26:26-29

While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.’

I can’t tell you everything about communion. In fact, I can’t even tell you a lot about communion. What I can tell you is that communion is based off a dinner Jesus had with his pals. Jesus knew his time on Earth was coming to an end, so he got his pals together to eat. They met in a normal room with their normal group and ate food they would normally be eating. But Jesus used this parting meal to challenge his friends, asking them to remember him every time they eat bread or drink wine.

It’s a simple request, but it holds so much weight. Jesus is asking his friends to remember his life every time they partake in a situation that is so commonplace to them: a normal room, a normal group, normal food. To remember Jesus every time this happened would be frequent, multiple times a day.

Growing up, it was easy for me to write off Jesus’ request as meaning “think of me as often as you’re at the altar on Communion Sunday” or “think of me as often as you eat King’s Hawaiian and drink grape juice”. In reality, Jesus is saying “think of me as often as you eat” and “think of me as often as you share a meal” and “think of me as often as you’re around a table with pals”.

Suddenly, I’m remembering the life of Jesus frequently, multiple times a day. I’m remembering social justice and the willingness to push boundaries. I’m remembering the fostering of diverse communities and the time spent meaningfully pursuing relationships with people others didn’t trust. I’m remembering them frequently. So frequently, they become a part of how I live.

This week is Holy Week, and this Thursday is Maundy Thursday, when the dinner with pals is commemorated. However, if you’re reading this over your morning coffee, it’s already the time to think about social justice. If you’re about to head to lunch with your coworkers, it’s already the time to think about fostering diversity. If you’re sitting around with your friends, it’s already the time to think about intentionally pursuing meaningful relationships.

Thankfully, the life that Jesus lived is just as significant and applicable to where we are in 2017 as it was thousands of years ago.

I hope your Holy Week (and all the weeks after that) is spent eating good food with good people around big, open tables.

Hattie O’Hara, class of 2017

 

Student Devotional for the sixth week of Lent

14567631_1199105246830202_6405691617603935947_oWeekly Student Devotional for the Season of Lent

The Christian season of Lent begins this year on Wednesday, March 1st, and continues until Sunday, April 18th.  Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, a holy day during which Christians are meant to reflect on their own limitations and mortality and remember their need for God. During the 40 days of Lent, Christians are called to reflect on their life of faith and their dependence on God for life, forgiveness, and salvation.  Easter marks the end of Lent and the beginning of a season of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus and the hope of new life.

Student Devotional for the sixth week of Lent

1 Kings 17:17-24  

Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?”  “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. Then he cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?”  Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!” The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived.  Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!” Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.”

It is safe to say that many of us feel overwhelmed sometimes. Schoolwork piles on, jobs become harder, relationships grow complicated, and we often feel helpless because of it. We keep pushing forward, going through the motions, just to finish the day and hope that the next day will be a little easier. The woman in this story feels completely helpless amidst the death of her son. It is easy to focus on Elijah’s miracle-work here, bringing the woman’s son back to life by imploring God to do so—and that is certainly an important element of the story, recognizing God’s power and love. But does this directly apply to us? Maybe there is someone on this earth today who is connected enough to God to perform a miracle like this, but I don’t expect to meet that person anytime soon. So, then what?

Perhaps we are unable to bring back a loved one from the grave. We do still carry the love of God with us anyway, so that means we are capable of doing good, of helping people, even if not in the most miraculous of ways. Each of us holds the power to impact another person’s day. Reminding ourselves constantly of the fundamental value of every human being, or that every person we encounter is doing their best, are two examples of ways we can change our outlook in our day-to-day challenges and frustrations. These reminders reflect the love God shows us; they allow us to be an Elijah to someone, even in a small way.

Zoe Wirt, Class of 2018

 

Student Devotional for the fourth week of Lent at BSC

cubaWeekly Student Devotional for the Season of Lent

The Christian season of Lent begins this year on Wednesday, March 1st, and continues until Sunday, April 18th.  Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, a holy day during which Christians are meant to reflect on their own limitations and mortality and remember their need for God. During the 40 days of Lent, Christians are called to reflect on their life of faith and their dependence on God for life, forgiveness, and salvation.  Easter marks the end of Lent and the beginning of a season of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus and the hope of new life.

Student Devotional for the fourth week of Lent

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green

pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil,

for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and

love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of

the Lord forever.

 

During this time of Lent we find ourselves in, food often becomes the forefront of our thoughts. Whether it is about fasting, giving up a favorite soda, or trying to eat healthy in general; as a church this has become the most dietary conscious time of the year. Similarly, many persons use the spirit of Lent as a time to give back or to “pick up” a habit. Many times this comes in the way of feeding the hungry, helping the sick, etcetera. The mission of Lent is to experience Christ in his pain and in his glory. This is expressed beautifully in the 23rd Psalm with the dichotomous imagery of “the darkest valley” and “my cup overflowing”. These are 2 of the lines in this psalm that resonate the most with many persons, but oddly enough, the line separating these two images often gets overlooked (and if not overlooked, misinterpreted). Of course, it ties back into my favorite topic {food}! “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” The word enemy isn’t a light word to be thrown around, but it is necessary for us to search our heart and minds to figure out what this passage means to us in our lives. We all have enemies. Some of them are systemic enemies of our state (i.e. times of war). Some of them are abstract concepts such as time, poverty, sickness, or money. Some of them are just straight up people you despise or vice versa. Regardless of who (or what) your enemies are, imagine the bizarreness of inviting ALL OF THEM to your family thanksgiving dinner this year. Yeah. It’d be wild. Why would this ever be a good idea? Like come on God, you tripping? A table full of my enemies? I don’t know what would be more awkward; if they were at the table with me, or if they were just there having to watch me eat! This scene seems to be something out of a nightmare, but the Psalm seems to suggest that it is quite the opposite. The passage lists these scenarios and then ends with “and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” The dinner table in “the house of the Lord” probably looks very different then our dinner tables in our homes.

As we go through this Lenten season, thinking about food, let us remember this Psalm. Let us walk together through the valley of Death, and let us dwell in the house of the Lord forever. But here and now, most of all, let us think about who we Invite to sit at our tables.

Allen Doyle, Class of 2018

Student Devotional for the Third week of Lent at BSC

acm_0131Weekly Student Devotional for the Season of Lent

The Christian season of Lent begins this year on Wednesday, March 1st, and continues until Sunday, April 18th.  Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, a holy day during which Christians are meant to reflect on their own limitations and mortality and remember their need for God. During the 40 days of Lent, Christians are called to reflect on their life of faith and their dependence on God for life, forgiveness, and salvation.  Easter marks the end of Lent and the beginning of a season of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus and the hope of new life.

Student Devotional for the Third week of Lent

John 7:53-8:11

Then they all went home, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

We all have sin. We don’t all like to talk about it. Or if we do, we tend to put it on a scale. It’s very tempting and very easy to quantify sin. To say that this sin is worse than that sin or so on and so forth. It might be okay to curse, but it’s not okay to commit adultery. Is that true? Is that the way that God sees it? What view of sin do you have – God’s or the world’s? God sees all sin the same – something that separates us from Him. No matter the deed, we are all taking steps that separate us from God in some capacity; we are human and we will inevitably fall into sin. What matters more than what we did is what we do: that we repent and take steps to move closer to God. A close, intimate relationship with God is possible for everyone regardless of what their past holds. God has no limits on His love and goodness.

The problem is us. We like to impose limits on God. We like to pretend that someone’s sin is worse than our own – even though we ourselves may not be trying to grow in relationship with Christ. That’s what’s going on in this passage from John. We tend to quantify sin so that it’s easier for us to judge others. We want to throw stones at those whose sin appears to be worse than our own. And isn’t it easy to say that someone else’s sin is worse than your own? I catch myself falling into that habit almost every day. I have to make an effort to look at myself critically and objectively. I must reflect on my relationship with Christ and focus on myself. I believe that we all need to do this. And – surprise – it’s kinda hard. It’s not always a fun time, but it is absolutely necessary to do so. This season of Lent provides us a dedicated time to examine ourselves before going out and sharing the joy of Easter.

Abigail Holt, Class of 2018

Student Devotional for the Second week of Lent at BSC

acm_0131Weekly Student Devotional for the Season of Lent

The Christian season of Lent begins this year on Wednesday, March 1st, and continues until Sunday, April 18th.  Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, a holy day during which Christians are meant to reflect on their own limitations and mortality and remember their need for God. During the 40 days of Lent, Christians are called to reflect on their life of faith and their dependence on God for life, forgiveness, and salvation.  Easter marks the end of Lent and the beginning of a season of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus and the hope of new life.

Student Devotional for the second week of Lent

Psalm 32: 1-8  

“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore, let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

This passage speaks more generally about who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for us. Jesus forgives us of our sins and the only thing Jesus asks of us is that we would tell Jesus about those sins and turn to Jesus in our time of need. I say that this passage speaks generally about Jesus because we can go to Jesus in prayer at any time and Jesus will listen. More specifically, however, I believe that it applies to the season of Lent and the idea of repentance that goes along with that. Lent is a time of reflecting on our lives and making efforts to grow closer to God, and often a step in this process is repentance for our sins.

I also cannot help but think about the celebration that is coming at the end of the Lenten season. Easter is probably the first thing you think of when you hear about the end of this season. I, however, am referring to Good Friday. I have always found more connection and growth with God and Jesus on this day than any other. Good Friday is the day we remember the death of Jesus on the cross for our sins. Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice on that day in order to forgive us from our sins, and all Jesus asks of us is that we would repent and turn to Jesus, in this season and in each day of our lives.

In order to put this in more tangible terms, I thought about the relationship between a parent and a child. Yesterday I read a book to the children that I work with called “I’ll Always Love You”. This book tells the story of a little bear who breaks his Mama’s favorite honey jar. He is so worried that she will no longer love him because of this. He goes to her and asks if she loves him and her response is, “I’ll always love you”. He then asks if she would still love him if he did certain things, such as have a pillow fight, or spill this paint on his baby sister. Of course her response is still, “I’ll always love you”. You get the idea. A parent usually will show love and forgiveness no matter what their child has done, all they expect is that their child would be honest with them.

The same goes for Jesus and us. Jesus will always forgive us for our sins, in fact Jesus already has forgiven us for our sins. When we turn to Jesus and tell Jesus what we have done against Jesus or others and ask, do you still love me? Jesus’ answer will always be “I’ll always love you”.

Emily Eidson, Class of 2017

Student Devotional for the first week of Lent at BSC

Weekly Student Devotional for the Season of Lent

The Christian season of Lent begins this year on Wednesday, March 1st, and continues until Sunday, April 18th.  Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, a holy day during which Christians are meant to reflect on their own limitations and mortality and remember their need for God. During the 40 days of Lent, Christians are called to reflect on their life of faith and their dependence on God for life, forgiveness, and salvation.  Easter marks the end of Lent and the beginning of a season of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus and the hope of new life.

Student Devotional for the first week of Lent

2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

This sentence is referring to Jesus and the idea that he came to earth to take on sin in order for us to be brought back to God, or to use a church word, “reconciled.” Whatever your thoughts on Jesus are, I think that we can think about this verse in regards to the people in our lives who sacrifice themselves in some way because of their love for us.

It reminds me of my mother. When I was in middle school and high school, I would go to conferences with the youth group at whatever church we were attending at the time. I had a great time and always looked forward to going on them. They were, however, sometimes more than we could afford. The summer after 7th grade, my family was going to move from our lifetime home in Indiana to Florida. My mother thought we would have already moved to Florida by the time of the conference and that I wouldn’t be able to attend with my Indiana church group.

I remember vividly: about a week before the conference I was still under the impression that I was going to be going. She brought me into her room, had me sit down, and told me that she hadn’t bought me a ticket for the conference. She told me she expected us to have moved at that point, and we didn’t have the money to spare. I was a little let down, but forgot immediately about my disappointment because my mother started crying. She knew how much this trip meant to me and she wasn’t able to give it to me, no matter how much she wanted to. I couldn’t be upset because she had already tried so hard to get us ready to move across the country and she was the one crying about me not being able to go to the conference.

This story illustrates to me how much my mother has sacrificed for me. She is so devoted to my siblings and myself that she ended up caring about me going to the conference even more than I did. I think that Lent affords us an opportunity to remember and appreciate those who give themselves wholly to us. It allows us a time to recognize those who sacrifice their time, money, and energy for us.

Submitted by Eli Brooks, Class of 2018