Easter Sunday, April 16

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

John 20: 19-23 (NRSV)

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When was the last time someone was able to come inside of your locked doors? In American culture, when locks have been tampered with and boundaries have been crossed, it is immediate cause for concern and feelings of vulnerability. But, here we have Jesus just coming onto the scene, hands and side agape, speaking “peace” into the room.

Now, I don’t know about you, but the last time someone broke into my locked car, I was not imagining them speaking words of peace to me. I imagined something unnerving and invasive. I imagined someone rummaging through my glove compartment, searching for a few dollars.

Have we ever taken a moment to really think about what it might have felt like for Jesus to show up in the middle of a locked room? It is of no coincidence that the author includes the word “locked”, and it would do us no favor to overlook it.

Here we have a room full of traumatized disciples processing the grief and turmoil of the last few days, locking themselves away from the world. Only to find that Jesus refuses to be locked out and instead reassures them to be at peace while showing his wounds. Jesus enters beyond the locked doors, burglarizing the disciples of their woes in order to reassure them of the nature of God’s divine work in the world. Jesus steals away the focus from his death and shifts it towards the reality of his risen nature. Jesus breaks into their grief and gives them a Spirit; of holiness, of resurrection, of forgiveness.

I wonder what it might be like if we visited feelings of vulnerability when we discuss the nature of Christ’s resurrection. I wonder what it would be like if we were able to name this strange, invasive feeling that accompanies Christ breaking into the world as something unrecognizable, something that no one has ever before seen. What might we be able to learn about Christ if we were to imagine him as the “thief” of normalcy?

There is nothing normal about the person of Jesus Christ. Nothing normal at all about the table-flipping, parable-telling, water-into-wine, miracle maker who defeated death. When God sent Jesus into the world, there was a foundational shift of all things turning from “normal” to wrecked by the Spirit. So on these days, as we celebrate Christ’s resurrection and recall the vulnerability of Good Friday, maybe we might also recall the vulnerability of following Christ, the thief of all things normal.

Gracious God, you came into this world as one of us. You walked, talked and moved as we move. You know our hurts, our joys, our vulnerabilities…and you break through them. You abolish the things that make us feel less worthy. You destroy the walls that keep us from you. You teach us graciousness, forgiveness and reconciliation. May we find ourselves keen to listen and slow to speak, may we find our hands quick to move, and may we find our feet grounded firmly upon the rock of Christ, as your Spirit breaks into our lives again and again. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Heather Jones Butler
Final Level, M.Div.

 


After graduating from UPSem, Heather Jones Butler will be returning to South Alabama and continue listening carefully to where the Spirit may be calling her to continued work for the Church in the World. Heather is particularly excited to return home to Alabama where she feels she can minister faithfully to those who first ministered to her.

Holy Saturday, April 15

21 Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends,
for the hand of God has touched me!
22 Why do you, like God, pursue me,
never satisfied with my flesh?
23 ‘O that my words were written down!
O that they were inscribed in a book!
24 O that with an iron pen and with lead
they were engraved on a rock forever!
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;
26 and after my skin has been thus destroyed,
then in my flesh I shall see God,
27 whom I shall see on my side,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.

Job 19: 21-27a (NRSV)

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Holy Saturday is the quietest day of Holy Week, if not of the entire church year. In my church, the crosses have all been removed, along with the candlesticks and candles. There are no cushions on the seats in the chancel, no prayer books and no hymnals. The reserved sacrament in the sacristy has been fully consumed following Maundy Thursday services. There are no flowers or vases anywhere. The altar is bare, having been stripped of its linens, cleaned and oiled on Thursday night. It stands with its bare surface and legs exposed. There are no Saturday services. No Glorias. No Alleluias. No proclamations.  A profound silence pervades the sanctuary.

Saturday of Holy Week is the day we would like to skip over, preferring to move directly from the grief of Good Friday into the joy of Easter Sunday. But Saturday forces us to face what has happened and take time to absorb the impact. After the anguish of the crucifixion, Saturday is a day of stunned disbelief. It is not a space that we inhabit with comfort. Jesus is gone, and we are bereft. The most complete kind of silence is sometimes referred to as “silent as the grave.” Holy Saturday gives us time in this quality of silence, and an opportunity to confront the grave and our fears.

In 1520, Hans Holbein the younger painted a strikingly realistic painting called  “The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb.” It depicts a life-sized Jesus lying on the limestone slab of his tomb. We can see his somewhat emaciated body from the side, and his pallid, green-tinged skin. His hands and feet show bruises and the wounds of his crucifixion. His side shows the gash from the centurion’s spear. His eyes and mouth are open as if Holbein is telling us that even in death, Christ is still speaking to us. It is an eerie image. There is no mistaking that Christ is dead, not sleeping. This is true death. Yet something mysterious and miraculous happens on this day, to Jesus as he lies in death, and to us as we pray in contemplation.

The transformation of Holy Saturday is not that of active work. It is a transformation that occurs invisibly, in silence. It is an examination of life and self invited by quietness and rest. It is the transformation of Sabbath. While the church stands silent, our souls do the work of reaching out to God in prayer as we consider our Lord’s death, and how it feels to be separated from him. Henri Nouwen said, “This divine silence is the most fruitful silence that the world has ever known. From this, the Word will be spoken again and make all things new.” This day of quiet opens us, invites us to be still, and in that stillness, to know our selves and God.

Martin Laird in his book, “Into the Silent Land” also speaks about this stillness.

“The relationship between creature and Creator is such that, by sheer grace, separation is not possible. God does not know how to be absent. The fact that most of us experience throughout most of our lives a sense of absence or distance from God is the great illusion that we are caught up in; it is the human condition. The sense of separation from God is real, but the meeting of stillness reveals that this perceived separation does not have the last word. “

When we have the opportunity, as we do on this Holy Saturday, to still our hearts and minds, confront our fears, and rest in the knowledge and love of God, a transformation occurs within us. We will know, like Job, that although he has died, the truth is that our redeemer lives, and that after our own skin has been destroyed, we, too shall in our flesh see God. We will be prepared to greet Easter morning with joy knowing that nothing, not even death, shall separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

“O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life;
who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.”

–Book of Common Prayer

Kristin Wickersham
Middle Level, M. Div.


Kristin Wickersham is from Richmond, Virginia and is a Postulant for Holy Orders in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. Her presenting parish is St. James’s, Richmond. She is currently serving as the seminarian at St. Andrew’s, Richmond. After graduation, Kristin plans to attend Virginia Theological Seminary to obtain a Post-Graduate Diploma in Anglican Studies. God willing and the people consenting, she hopes to be ordained to the priesthood in 2019 and accept a call as a parish priest.

Good Friday, April 14

36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterward.” 37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.

John 13: 36-38 (NRSV)

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Here we are.  It is Good Friday.  The day we remember our LORD’s crucifixion and death.   Isaac Watts said in his hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” for us to see the “sorrow and love flow mingled down” from Jesus’ head, hands, and feet.  Elizabeth Clephane’s hymn, “Beneath the Cross of Jesus”, she also beckoned us to gaze upon the crucified Savior and confess the wonders of Christ’s “redeeming love and [our] unworthiness”.  James Montgomery went a step further in his text “Go to Dark Gethsemane” where he wrote for us to hear Jesus’ final words on the cross:  “‘It is finished!’ hear him cry”.

However, as Good Friday draws near each year, I think about the African American spiritual:  “Calvary”.  It is found in The Presbyterian Hymnal (1990) at number 96.  I cannot tell you exactly when I was introduced to this spiritual, but I can tell you that I developed a deeper appreciation for it on Good Friday 2015, which was the last time I sang it.

I had the opportunity that year to sing with two friends of mine at an early morning Good Friday breakfast.  The sun had not risen, yet, and I can distinctly remember going into the fellowship hall at another church in town where this event was taking place.  There were several candles around the room to give just enough light for those praying and eating in silence while I sang many Passion hymns out of the hymnal with my friends.

Something else I failed to mention to you:  I was depressed.  2015 was one of the lowest points in my life and certainly in my ministry as a church musician.  I felt empty, abandoned, sad, angry, hurt, and scared.  It took a lot of prayer from dear friends and family members, therapy, and a lot of singing to keep me going.

Yes, you read that correctly:  A lot of singing.  I sang a lot in my grief that year.  Particularly, I found solace in many of the African American spirituals, partly because they came out of a time of oppression.  “Calvary” was one of several spirituals I latched on to that year.

“Calvary”  comes from the aural tradition and is simple to learn.   The congregation sings the refrain and the soloist sings the stanzas.  The melody is repeated in both sections and since the congregation sings only five words, it can be memorized quickly.  We are called by the soloist to think about Jesus.  Then, the singer asks the first question:  “Don’t you hear the hammer ringing?”  Another question is then asked to the congregation:  “Don’t you hear Him calling His Father?”  Finally, we are asked the last question: “Don’t you hear Him say, ‘It is finished'”.  At the end of every stanza, the soloist states “Surely He died on Calvary” and then the congregation  responds “Calvary, Calvary, Calvary, Calvary, Calvary, Calvary, Surely He died on Calvary.”

The words are so simple, but not simplistic.  They force us to remember not only our Savior’s suffering, but the suffering we inflict on each other.  We confront the horrors of the hammer that not only rang that day, but of the hammer the rings today.  We encounter the realization that not only Jesus cried out to His Father and said “It is finished”, but also of people whom we have neglected who are crying out for help.

Every time I think about Jesus, surely He died on Calvary.
Don’t you hear the hammer ringing?  Surely He died on Calvary.
Don’t you hear Him calling His Father?  Surely He died on Calvary.
Don’t you hear Him say, “It is finished?”  Surely He died on Calvary.
Calvary, Calvary, Calvary, Calvary, Calvary, Calvary, Surely He died on Calvary.  Amen.

T. Wes Moore
Middle Level, M. Div.

 


After school, T. Wes hopes to be an ordained Presbyterian minister and work in a local congregation. 

Maundy Thursday, April 13

“But now, Lord, you are our father. We are the clay, and you are our potter.
All of us are the work of your hand.”

Isaiah 64:8 (CEB)
(Note: This scripture selection is not from Daily Prayer)

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Like many Christians my journey with God has not always been easy. I have had my fair share of bumps and bruises along the way. In the beginning I would view these as setbacks but I quickly discovered that each bump in the road wasn’t a setback but an opportunity for me to rely on God and reflect on our relationship.

A number of years ago I decided to mark an item off my bucket list and I took a wheel pottery class at a local museum. I figured it would be fun and relaxing. It was fun but somewhat stressful. First you have to throw the clay correctly to get it to be balanced on the wheel then you have to maintain the proper speed and pressure to get the clay to mold the way you want it to. At first I got frustrated because my creations wouldn’t turn out the way I had envisioned in my mind and I had to crush them and start over. But somewhere in the process I began to have a spiritual sense about the project. As I was working on these pieces of clay sometimes it took a number of tries to get each piece the way I envisioned in my head. There was a lot of frustration. And just because I got it “right” on the wheel didn’t mean the structure of the piece would withstand firing. The piece could still end up with a crack. But what I realized in this process is that no piece of clay was destroyed for good. If the piece on the wheel needed to be redone you just added some water and re-threw it and started over. If a piece came off the wheel correctly but cracked in firing many times the crack could be fixed and it would be structurally stronger in that spot.

This is how are spiritual journey is with God. God never gives up on us regardless of what path we choose to go down, what decisions we make, what we say or what we do.  God is the Potter. God will “re-throw” us and mold us again. God will fix our “cracks” and make us stronger. We can grow from the process of being rebuilt. We are blessed to have an amazing God who forgives us, rebuilds us, and most importantly loves us regardless of what we do. We are not powerful enough to push away God. God loves us too much for that to ever happen. God loved us so much that God sent Jesus to save us from our sins. Jesus was crucified for us so that we would not have to suffer that same fate. So as I go through life’s journey with God I will try to remember that any stumbling block, any mistake, any mishap, any “failure” on my part is not a disaster it is an opportunity to renew and restore my relationship with God. And I know that the trials of life are not fun or fair but I will strive to remember that God is in my life always and will always be there to remold me.

Great Potter,

In the midst of the struggles of life when we feel we have done all we can help us remember that we are not alone. Help us remember your great love when we feel unlovable. Guide us in the ways you want us to go. Remold us like the clay we are.
In your name we pray. Amen.

Megan Collins


After seminary Megan hopes to be ordained as a Deacon in the United Methodist Church and work in a church setting as a Pastor of Communication, but she remains open to whatever God may have in store for her in the future.

Wednesday, April 12

27 “Now I am deeply troubled. What should I say? ‘Father, save me from this time’? No, for this is the reason I have come to this time. 28 Father, glorify your name!”

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”

29 The crowd standing there heard and said, “It’s thunder.” Others said, “An angel spoke to him.”

30 Jesus replied, “This voice wasn’t for my benefit but for yours. 31 Now is the time for judgment of this world. Now this world’s ruler will be thrown out. 32 When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to me.”(33 He said this to show how he was going to die.)

34 The crowd responded, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Human One must be lifted up? Who is this Human One?”

35 Jesus replied, “The light is with you for only a little while. Walk while you have the light so that darkness doesn’t overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness don’t know where they are going. 36 As long as you have the light, believe in the light so that you might become people whose lives are determined by the light.” After Jesus said these things, he went away and hid from them.

John 12: 27-36 (CEB)

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Have you ever been “left in the dark”? No, not in the literal sense of being left in a room where the lights had once been on and were turned off. I’m talking more in the figurative sense of not being privy to all the information of a certain situation or lacking awareness of something going on around you. How does it feel? Maybe you’ve felt offended that someone did not think to clue you in with all the details? Maybe you’ve felt relief because awareness comes with responsibilities? Do you prefer to be clued in? Are you okay with being left in the dark? Take a few moments to reflect on how you would feel if you were left in the dark.

When I was younger, I often felt as though I was being left in the dark. I would be “dismissed” to the kids table while the adults talked about more serious matters in the other room. Sometimes my parents would share information with me on a “need to know basis”, and I now realize that they were doing it for my protection and safety. But as a child full of curiosity, I always fought back with the dreaded (and repetitive!) question, “WHY?”. Being left in the dark filled me with uncertainty and worry, and I just wanted to know their reasoning for withholding information from me.

Jesus was not immune to the feelings of uncertainty or doubt. He clearly says that his soul was troubled as he prepared for his death. But Jesus was not left in the dark when it came to a reason for his feelings of worry or anxiety. Jesus knew the answer to his own questions of, “Why? Why do I have to die?”. He was ready to glorify the name of his heavenly parent and to save a broken human race. Jesus shed light on his own situation and continues to shed light in our lives today.

When you are left in the dark and consumed by feelings of doubt and worry, be assured that you are not alone. The light of Christ has not deserted you, nor has it been withheld from you. The God of light is beside you and within you. Jesus reminds us, “While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.” So, children of light, do not let others be left in the dark! Bless others by sharing the light of love, grace, and justice within you so that they might go and do the same. Brighten the world through acts of service, generosity, and hospitality. Empower others to let their light shine, especially when they have been discouraged to do so.

See the light. Believe in the light. Feel the light. Spread the light. Be the light.

Gracious God,

Illuminate our lives with your light that shines through the darkness. Like Jesus, grant us wisdom to know your will, courage to follow it, and grace to do it in a way that blesses others. Amen.

Jayme C. Babczak
First Level, M.Div./M.A.C.E.


Jayme is currently seeking ordination within the United Church of Christ and continuing to discern God’s call!

Monday, April 10

Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord.

To write the same things to you is not troublesome to me, and for you it is a safeguard.

Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh! For it is we who are the circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh— even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh.

If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.

Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3: 1-14 (NRSV)

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Lent can be a time to reconsider our lives, a time to set aside those things that distract us and focus on our relationship with God, a time to let the Holy Spirit move within us so we might hear God’s call on our lives this day. As we enter Holy Week and Lent comes to an end, what have you set aside in an effort to renew your connection with God and Christ’s church?

Paul writes to the Philippians in part to encourage them to assess their lives. He reminds them that whatever “gains” they have –wealth, honor, and status, perhaps – are nothing compared to the value of Jesus Christ. These earthly things might give us confidence in the flesh, Paul notes, but don’t help us know Christ. In fact, Paul might even argue that those things we value in our societies prevent us from knowing Christ, from identifying so closely with Jesus that we might understand our future is in Christ rather than our own achievements.

This year, instead of giving something up for Lent, I have made an intentional decision to say “yes,” and another intentional decision to say “no.” I’ve decided to focus on my relationship with God by saying yes to a new spiritual practice: a daily devotion. I’m using Seeking God’s Face, an iteration of the daily office that helps me pray the scriptures. Each day, the book provides an opening prayer, psalm, scripture, prayer guides, and various opportunities for quiet and meditation. While I won’t pretend I’ve done it every single day of Lent, I have done it most days – or, rather, nights – and find myself grateful for the moments stolen away in God’s presence.

This is why I’ve also intentionally said “no” this Lent. When I realized what a struggle it was to find the time to be with God and to take care of myself, I knew I couldn’t add anything else to my already-full plate. While I’ve tried my best to live into every commitment I’ve already made, this Lenten season, I haven’t added any more. While this doesn’t mean I suddenly have copious amounts of free time, it does mean I’ve given myself permission to prioritize my relationship with God – and my own self-care.

So, this year, I’ve used Lent to practice intentionality. But no practice is mastered in 40 days. God willing, these commitments I’ve made will last far beyond Easter Sunday. I still plan on practicing the daily office, and I should keep practicing saying “no” when my inclination is to say “yes” to every new opportunity that comes my way. Lent is the perfect time to practice setting aside those things that distract us from God. Now, as Paul says, we must “strain forward to what lies ahead,” pressing on “toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”

What have you set aside during Lent? What might you take with you as you press on towards what’s ahead, towards knowing Christ?

Gracious God,

It is so easy to forget your all-encompassing call on our lives. We get caught up working, learning, volunteering, living. People need us, and we can’t let them down. But in the meantime, we’ve let you down. Help us focus on our relationship with you so that we might better know you. Be with us now and beyond Lent as we continually prioritize you in our lives, reminding us that earthly priorities are not necessarily priorities of your kingdom.

It is in Jesus’ name we pray.

Amen.

Linda Kurtz
Middle Level, M. Div./M.A.C.E.

 


Linda Kurtz is from Burke, VA, and is the communications specialist for NEXT Church. She currently serves as moderator for the 2016-2017 Richmond Student Government Assembly. Upon graduating in 2019, Linda is looking to serve in an ordained parish ministry context with a focus on young adults/college ministry.

Wednesday, April 5

Praise the Lord!
    Because it is good to sing praise to our God!
    Because it is a pleasure to make beautiful praise!

The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem,
gathering up Israel’s exiles.

God heals the brokenhearted
    and bandages their wounds.
God counts the stars by number,
    giving each one a name.
Our Lord is great and so strong!
    God’s knowledge can’t be grasped!
The Lord helps the poor,
    but throws the wicked down on the dirt!

Sing to the Lord with thanks;
    sing praises to our God with a lyre!
God covers the skies with clouds;
    God makes rain for the earth;
God makes the mountains sprout green grass.
    God gives food to the animals—
    even to the baby ravens when they cry out.
10 God doesn’t prize the strength of a horse;
    God doesn’t treasure the legs of a runner.
11 No. The Lord treasures the people
who honor him,
    the people who wait for his faithful love.

Psalm 147:1-11 (CEB)

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When UPSem students begin to exegete a text, our training tells us to search for patterns and repetition. Repeated words or phrases give emphasis and directs us to what is important. Psalm 147 certainly offers much by way of repetition: praise, gives, makes, Jerusalem, etc. Each of these words could spark an entire sermon. But the singularity of one word also suggests importance. Among the unique words in Psalm 147, I was drawn to one verb: hope.

Hope, the verb, is an action, ongoing. It’s easy read through hope, the noun, and hope, the verb, without appreciating a distinction. The difference is nuanced, but crucial. Psalm 147 tells us to hope (v.) in God’s love continuously, tirelessly, and through all. You can “have” the kind of hope (n.) in God that you can pack away neatly in a dresser drawer, only to remove it when you choose, but that’s not what we are called to do. We aren’t called to just hold on to it, we are called to use it.

Hope is a powerful tool. Hope in the face of incredible odds can be a game changer. Hope is what inspires people to buy a Mega Millions lottery ticket. Hope is what compels Aaron Rodgers to throw Hail Mary passes in the final seconds of football games. Hope is what powered the Rogue One team to steal the Death Star plans, resulting in its eventual destruction.

Hope can accomplish many things, but hope in the steadfast love of the Lord does so much more. It unlocks the delight of the God who created everything — from the expanse of the universe to the smallest grain of sand. Who would have thought that we could delight a God like that with just a little hope?

The funny thing about hope in Psalm 147 is that we really should do more than hope. We should trust. We are told that the Lord “heals the brokenhearted,” “lifts up the humble,” and feeds the earth; creation itself is a testament to the Lord. We have eyes to see God’s work, we have seen what God can do, yet we often question what God will do. God does a lot of things that we don’t understand, which causes us to doubt, question, and fear. But that’s okay, because hope exists within all three. We don’t have to trust; all God requires of us is hope. Hoping for the best. Hoping God will show up and show love.

Hope is important during Lent because, despite the fact that we know how the story starts, we still don’t know how it ends. The story still hasn’t ended. We must continue to hope through the Lenten season and after. Temptation is not the end. Death is not the end. Resurrection is not the end. But they are each stepping stones along the way, containing just enough hope to carry us, comfort us, challenge us, and ultimately to remind us to place our faith in God — the original author of all of our stories.

 

Lord, help us to see your continuous work — each new blade of grass on the ground and every star numbered in the sky. Help us to transition from hope, the noun, to hope, the verb, and help us to hope continuously in you. Amen.

Alexa Allmann
Final Level M.A.C.E

 


Following seminary, Alexa hopes to serve God by working with children either through a C.E. position in a church or as a teacher in a Christian school. She is inspired and ignited by the light and creativity of children and I hope to continue to encourage them to ask questions about the world, God, and “the way things are.”