Devotions

This page has devotions from the Great Plains District. It is written by laity, clergy, and many others. If you have any comments or questions, email me, Pastor Bianca, at belliott @ greatplainsumc.org. Enjoy!

Today’s Lectionary Text
Mark 11:27-33 Again they came to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to him and said, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do them?” Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin? Answer me.” They argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘Of human origin’?”—they were afraid of the crowd, for all regarded John as truly a prophet. So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

Today’s Devotional
In reading this passage, we are once again surprised at how Jesus handled this situation.  Time and time again, he challenged us to question the status quo, usually using parables to make his point.  This time, when the religious leaders weren’t brave or insightful enough to give an answer either way, Jesus refused to give them the satisfaction of telling them who gave him the authority.  He had demonstrated his position repeatedly already, so there was no point in telling them this time.  “Make them stew on that for a while” I can almost hear him say.
 
These pious scribes and elders knew what stand they took (they did not believe Jesus was the Messiah, nor that John was a prophet with any merit), but they did not voice it out loud knowing that Jesus’ and John’s “fan club” as it were, wouldn’t take kindly to this public stance.  They were afraid of the crowd.
 
This brings to mind another situation that we often find ourselves in:  what public stance do we take, when it comes to our faith?  In this day and age, people are made to feel that any public proclamation of faith should be kept under wraps, so as not to offend or push upon others who don’t believe.  If nothing else, one stands the chance of being ridiculed with rolling eyes.
 
Is this what Jesus wants?  He was not shy about voicing the truth and neither should we be.  Of course, we don’t want to be offensive toward others.  But we can be a gentle, living example of what faith can do.  If someone asks why we have a serene confidence, we needn’t be afraid to say why.  Let’s not allow the small percentage of people who might criticize us discourage us from being a witness of God’s amazing grace.  After all, do we ultimately answer to the authority of man . . . or of a higher power?
 -Melanie Good Wellsville UMC 2014 Lenten Devotionals 

 Prayer for Reflection
Dear God, help us be brave enough to proclaim our faith and be a living witness to your word.  Amen.
Today’s Lectionary Text
Matthew 18:12-14 

What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.

Today’s Devotional

The scene is an accident ward in a city hospital.  A young boy has been brought in who has been injured.

The record discloses that he was one of seven children, three younger than himself.   Their mother, alone, was their sole support.  The boys wounds were dressed and the lad was taken to a room.  A nurse brought him a glass of milk. 

The boy took a few sips from the glass and asked quite seriously, “How deep shall I drink?”  He had always been taught at home to save a part of his milk for the younger children. 

 As persons, as a church, and as a nation, we need to ask ourselves just how deep we should drink of the world’s privileges before we stop to share with others.

 Jesus’ one thought was of others.  He healed the sick, He fed the hungry, He prayed for others and also taught them to pray.  He didn’t leave anyone out.  His love was for all people.  And we must follow Him. -Glen Failor
Lyndon UMC
(From 1967 Lenten Devotion)

Prayer for Reflection

Our Heavenly Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus who taught us to share with one another. We pray that the love he has for us will strengthen our concern for others.  We pray that through sharing our talents with others, the door to Christ may be opened for those who have not yet found the way.  Amen.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
How deep shall we drink before we think to share.

Today’s Lectionary Text
Mark 11:8-10 Many people spread out their clothes on the road while others spread branches cut from the fields. Those in front of him and those following were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessings on the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest!”

Today’s Devotional
This, to say the least, has not been the usual Lenten season. Holy Week and Easter will not be quite what we are used to experiencing, either. On this Palm Sunday we won’t be waving palm fronds in sanctuaries or listening to cantatas sung by the church choir. But we can still shout “Hosanna” as we worship in our own homes. We can still cut small branches from whatever trees are available and display them on our doors or windows.

Most of all, we can, in the altered reality in which we now exist, live the faith we claim in the One who came in the name of the Lord. Even in this time of social distancing and self-quarantine, there are things we can do in the name of Jesus that can ease the discomfort of others. Have you checked on that neighbor you barely know? Does s/he need someone to pick up groceries – or just be a listening ear for a few minutes (from six feet away)? Maybe your neighborhood needs someone to organize a driveway dance party or a sing-along to boost morale – all from safe distances, of course. Or maybe you can provide food and sanitizing supplies for those who have lost their jobs and currently are without income, or lunches for children or the elderly. Whatever you can do to help ease the fears of others and bring a little joy and hope into the world shines the light of Christ into the world.

The people who lined the street that long-ago day, shouting their praise and waving branches had no idea what was going to happen within the following week. We cannot know when COVID-19 will cease to be a present fear in our lives. But we DO know that Holy Week was not the beginning of the end. It was, simply, the beginning.

 –Rev. Robbie Fall, retired Elder Hutchinson Kansas
rfall@greatplainsumc.org

Prayer for Reflection
Holy God, this week, as we recall Jesus’ Passion, let us not forget that even in the darkness of fear, you are with us, and that at the end of it there is light, hope, and celebration. Amen.