The Purpose of Waiting


Last week we allowed ourselves to embrace Christ’s light and practiced shining that light in our communities. What was it like? What steps did you take to live with the light and love of Christ? This week, as we move closer toward Passion week, our text today reveals to us both the agony and the necessity of Christ’s death and resurrection. 

 SCRIPTURE: John 12:27-33 


What are some things that happen in the world that don’t seem loving or kind? How do you feel when you see them?  Which of these unloving things feel remote or out of reach (something that happens “over there”)?  Which of them are a part of your daily lives?  What are some ways that we participate in these broken systems?  What kind of life-giving action could you make instead? 


As your act of fasting this week, we encourage you individually or as a family to choose a “system” in this world that is in need of God’s love and redeeming power. For example, you could fast from video game technology and create a family game that fosters family interaction. You could decide to not watch any TV, always call instead of text, eat at home instead of restaurants, only purchase fair trade items, etc.  At the end of the week, share how you, with God’s help, actively challenged that system this week.  


God of all creation, We come to you this week with mournful hearts.  Hearts that are heavy.  Hearts that are broken.  Hearts that are disconnected from each other.  We see the daily challenges of our world.  We admit that we participate in systems that benefit usyet exclude or harm others.  Forgive us for the ways in which we do not help as you do, work as you do, love as you do.  Help us to see ways in which we can draw others to youand challenge us to commit to working towards a more just world.   AMEN.  


The God of Sufficiency


This week we move from a place of a challenge to a place of familiarity. The Lenten passage this week is one that is well known across many Christian denominations. For our devotion, we focus on the latter half of this passage and how it might inspire us in a new and fresh way.  

SCRIPTURE: John 3:19-21  

DISCUSSION: Take some time to talk about or draw on paper different opposites that you see in your everyday life? What can you learn from them? Together, think of and share times that light was helpful. Also, think of and share times where light was uncomfortable. This John passage urges us to seek truth and to live in the light. What might that look like for you in your home? In your school? In your community? 

ACTIVITY: One way that we can follow Jesus is by looking for ways to share the “light of Christ” with others. Our John passage shares that when we live in the light, others will understand that our actions are in line with God’s purposes. But how can we increase our awareness of following the light of Christ? This week, consider using the following verse from the letter to the Philippians as a guide. “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8). This Sunday evening, gather as a family and brainstorm how you can live in a way that shines Christ’s light in your church, school, community this week. Write down or draw the example you choose. As your act of fasting this week, make the choice to practice your example of Christ’s light in the world. Make a point to check in with each other during the week by asking, “How are you choosing light today?” 

PRAYER: God of love and light, You gave us your Son to conquer death and bring us into life. To lead us out of darkness and illuminate our paths with light. Help us this week and every week to learn how to choose light and to share that light with each other so that we may know the vastness of your love for us and for this world. AMEN. 




This past week, we practiced the discipline of living into our identity as beloved children of God.  What was it like to claim that identity intentionally?  How did it change your focus for the week?  This week, we will be focusing on shifting our human tendency to respond to difficulties with fear instead of love.

SCRIPTURE:  Mark 8:31-33


  • What do you think Jesus meant by human things instead of divine things?
  • When you feel afraid, what are some things you have done to let go of the fear? What hasn’t worked?  What has worked?
  • When someone says the word fear, what are some thoughts, feelings, or images that come to mind? What does fear look like? What does fear feel like?
  • What is something or someone you fear? What would responding with love look like?


Supplies needed: Small envelopes, paper, crayons or markers

 Jesus does not promise us a life of no fear and no trouble.  However, Jesus does promise to be with us and to be in relationship with us in the midst of trouble.  This week, the act of fasting is to focus on working to let go of something that we are fearful of and instead respond to that fear with love.  As you gather today to read, color, and discuss, take a few moments to think about something or someone you fear.  Take a piece of paper and draw or write about what that is.  Then take that paper and fold it into the envelope.  During the week, when you are in a situation that reminds you of that fear, take out the paper from the envelope, think about what responding with love would look like, then draw a heart around the fear as a symbol of replacing your fear response with love.   At the end of the week, gather together and share about what was easy about letting go of fear and what was difficult.


God of love, we live in a world that is often full of fear.  We encounter many things we don’t understand.  We experience painful events and memories, which cause us to wall our hearts, guard our minds and close us off from being open to respond in hope, in peace, and in love.  Help us to remember the promise that you walk with us both in good and troubling times.  We turn from human insecurities to your eternal security.  Help us to respond to fear in love.  In the name of Jesus, AMEN.



The Lenten Journey


SCRIPTURE: Mark 1:9-15

• What do you think it means to repent and believe in Jesus’ Good News?
• Have you ever had to prepare for something big in your life (a project at school, a new job, a new school, a new sport or activity, a big test)?
• What are some things you had to do to prepare?
• What are some things you had to give up to be ready?
• In what ways can you prepare yourself to live into the identity that you are a beloved child of God?
• Do you have a word or phrase that has become a part of you during your life that has been negative or painful/hurtful?
• How has that kept you from your identity of one who is loved and is called to love?

Supplies needed: a glass or clear plastic bowl, small stones, water
First, fill the bowl three-quarters of the way full of clear water.  Place the bowl in the middle of a table or another place where you can sit or stand around the bowl.  Take a moment to go around the table and touch your hand to the water. Take some time to share memories of participating in or witnessing a baptism. If you have not had this experience, talk about what it might have been like for Jesus to be baptized.  What would the water have been like? How would it have felt?  This week, your act of fasting is to practice mindfully living into your identity of one who is loved and is called to love others.  Invite everyone to choose a stone from the ones you have gathered.  Think of that word or phrase you discussed earlier which has become a part of you during your life that has been negative or painful.  Hold the stone in your hand when you think of this.  Then take that stone and place it in the bowl and say, “I am no longer ________.  I am a beloved child of God.”  For younger participants, they can simply say “I am a beloved child of God.”  Each morning or evening (or time of day that works for your family or group) this week, gather around the bowl.  Take another stone and repeat the phrase “I am no longer _______. I am a beloved child of God.”

To the One who calls us by name, Thank you…
• For being a God who wants to know us and desires to claim us
• For being a God who gives us new identities and is close to us
• For being a God who guides us in our growth
Beloved God, who calls us Beloved, help us believe and live as
your children. In your name we pray, AMEN.