Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lenten Devotions

Tuesday, March 29

“Then he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
--Luke 21:29-31

We are in the season of renewal and rebirth. Plants return to life, buds begin blossoming, and birds seem to awaken with new songs. Every winter, we witness the sleeping of the world—grasses and plants die, and sounds echo in the hollow of the quiet world. Even then, we know that season is itself getting ready for the new life that is ready to begin.
Vivaldi's Spring

Monday, March 28

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.”
--Hebrews 11:1-3

There is so much we wish to know about this world—so much we want to have proven or explained to us. Sometimes that is possible, but sometimes we come face to face with something that we cannot prove or articulate. We perhaps understand it on some level, but cannot put it in words. Even more incomprehensible are the things not of this world. Yet those are the things that we hope for, and somehow are able to take in on faith.
I Never Saw a Moor by Emily Dickinson

Sunday, March 27

“The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" 6 The Lord replied, "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.
--Luke 17:5-6

This week we focus on the idea of faith—how we think about and respond to it in our daily lives. In the verse for today, Jesus talks about faith in terms of a mustard seed, which is one of the smallest of all seeds.

As an activity, grab a group of friends or go out with your family on a walk. If possible, try to walk through a place that will have some trees or plants around. As you walk, notice the seeds you find along the way—pinecones, dandelions, etc. Talk or think about what seeds become, how they grow and what they do. If our faith is the size of a mustard seed, what happens to it tomorrow?

Saturday, March 26

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
--1 Corinthians 12:4-7

We have been given many gifts—wisdom, knowledge, faith, and the ability to heal, among others. Each of these gifts is tailored to fit us individually by the Spirit. Often, our gifts inspire wonderful ideas within us, but how many times are those ideas abandoned? How many times to we begin something really worthwhile but fail to finish it? The painting linked below is the back of one of Leonardo DaVinci’s works. As you gaze on it, consider what it means to live your gifts to the fullest.

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