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This year, we invite you to join in collective prayer and study as we walk each day through special Lenten Reflections written by members of The Park and Lenten Devotionals from the UCC StillSpeaking Writer’s Group. Anyone who would like to receive Lenten Reflections each day by email can subscribe by clicking this link, filling out your email address and selecting the REFLECTIONS category. We encourage anyone who is interested to write your own responses to these reflections, and post them on our Facebook page.

——— Lenten Reflections ———

“Bearing” – Lenten Reflection for Palm Sunday, April 14 by Quinn G. Caldwell

“When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days… The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, And he shall bear their iniquities.” Isaiah 53:10, 11 The Oceti Sakowin camp had been there for months by then, full of Water Protectors resisting proposed plans […]

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“Do This” – Lenten Reflection for Palm Sunday, April 13 by The Rev. Kaji Douša

“For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” John 13:15 How far are you willing to let God go? Is there a line in behavior, a place of secrets, a shelter of practices that you expect God not to breach? It seems that Jesus crossed […]

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“Take a Dip” – Lenten Reflection for Palm Sunday, April 12 by Vince Amlin

“Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking . . . Simon Peter motioned to John to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, […]

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“Who Owns You?” – Lenten Reflection for Palm Sunday, April 11 by Matt Laney

“The Pharisees and Sadducees asked Jesus a question in order to trap him: ‘Teacher, is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?’” Mark 12:14 Obviously, the answer was, “No way! ” What could be more objectionable to the children of Israel than paying for their oppression by a brutal foreign overlord with pretentions to divinity? […]

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“Seeming Unseemly” – Lenten Reflection for Palm Sunday, April 10 by Jennifer Garrison Brownell

“Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” John 12:3 Scholars always seem to say something, well, scholarly about this passage, like, “In first century Palestine, the act of wiping Jesus’ feet with […]

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“Triumph of the Week” – Lenten Reflection for Palm Sunday, April 9 by Kenneth L. Samuel

“They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.” Matthew 21:7 Today we mark the triumphal entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem . . . riding on a donkey. He comes not as a military conqueror riding on a stallion, but as a humble servant […]

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“He Knew Where He was Going!” – Lenten Reflection for April 8 by Richard L. Floyd

“They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man […]

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“God’s Surprising Choices” – Lenten Reflection for April 6 by Tony Robinson

A friend of mine did a sermon series she called “The Ten Essentials.” Her subtitle was, “The Ten Bible Stories You Have to Have.” She would tell her congregation, “It’s too dangerous for you to go out there without these stories tucked in your hearts.” This one, the story of the prophet Samuel’s visit to […]

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“Jesus’ Syllabus” – Lenten Reflection for April 4 by Mary Luti

“If you do not hate your father and mother . . . you cannot be my disciple.” Luke 4:26 I know a professor who’s delightful in the classroom. His courses routinely overfill. But he loathes those huge classes. He suspects many students come for his style, not his material; to be  entertained, not educated. He […]

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“Love Lifted Me” – Lenten Reflection for April 3 by Marchaé Grair

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” Psalm 143:8 A minister at my childhood church used to start many of his sermons with a song called “Love Lifted Me.” The […]

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“Lazarus is Dead” – Lenten Reflection for April 2 by Talitha Arnold

“Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead.’” John 11:14 Lazarus was dead: to begin with. There was no doubt about that. Not asleep. Not sick. Not away on sabbatical. Dead. Dead as a doornail, as Charles Dickens wrote of Jacob Marley. By the time Jesus got to Bethany, Lazarus had been in the tomb […]

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“The Morning Watch” – Lenten Reflection for April 1 by The Rev. Kaji Douša

“My soul waits for the Lord. More than the keepers of the morning watch. More than the keepers of the morning watch.” Psalm 130:6 Sometimes when I read the Psalms, I skip over the laments. Psalms like 130 begin with sadness that can feel like buzzkill on a good day. “Out of the depths I […]

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“We Make too Much of this Poor Life” – Lenten Reflection for March 28 by Matt Fitzgerald

“Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals.” Psalm 146:3 Jesus is demanding. Grace brings stitches, but it will cut you first. So we look for God in easier places. Liberals find God in natural beauty, as if the One walking toward Golgotha and my lakeside vacation are the same. We’ve made God so […]

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“Diving Deeply” – Lenten Reflection for March 27 by Donna Schaper

“A voice from heaven said…Saul, why do you persecute me?” Acts 9:4-5 I live a very safe life and am white enough to trust the police. That being said, I often feel persecuted. My persecution is called trivialization  I putter my piety. I neglect the divine on behalf of the immediate. I play penultimate, not […]

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“The Enemy at the Table” – Lenten Reflection for March 26 by Vince Amlin

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies . . . .” Psalm 23:5a There is a restaurant in Pittsburgh called Conflict Kitchen. Every few months the place changes its entire menu, but it always serves the cuisine of a country with which the United States is in conflict. As I […]

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“Billy” – Lenten Reflection for March 25 by Matt Laney

“A man knelt before Jesus, and asked, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear […]

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“Talked To Your Neighbors Lately?” – Lenten Reflection for March 23 by Kenneth L. Samuel

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.” Ephesians 4:25 The election of last November was another stark reminder of how deeply divided we are as a country. People who live in the same state, the same county, the same city, […]

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“Strange Gods” – Lenten Reflection for March 21 by Emily C. Heath

“I lifted the burden off your shoulders; your hands are free of the brick basket! In distress you cried out, so I rescued you. I answered you in the secret of thunder. I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Listen, my people, I’m warning you! If only you would listen to me, Israel. There […]

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“Letting God Be God” – Lenten Reflection for March 20 by Tony Robinson

“He prayed to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning: for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to […]

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“Evangelism for Millennials” – Lenten Reflection for March 19 by John Edgerton

The woman said to Jesus, “I know that the Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will proclaim all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I am He, the one who is speaking to you.” . . . Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the […]

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“Had To” – Lenten Reflection for March 18 by Mary Luti

“Jesus left Judea and started back to Galilee. But he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar . . . Jacob’s well was there.” John 4:1-6 Of course he didn’t have to go through Samaria. Most Jews wouldn’t have — it was enemy territory. There were routes back […]

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Lenten Reflection for March 17, by Reverend Bev Brown

  Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, “Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.” ’ And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked towards the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke […]

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“Go Back or Go Deep” – Lenten Reflection for March 16 by Talitha Arnold

“The whole congregation of the people murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness . . . .” Exodus 16:1-8 “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate bread to the full.” Exodus 16:2-3a Two choices: Go back to […]

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“A Tale of Two Jesuses” – Lenten Reflection for March 15 by The Rev. Kaji Douša

“Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’” John 8:10-11 Tracing his finger on the ground, he changed everything. Stones in hand, they […]

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“Do Non-organic Parents Not Love Their Children?” – Lenten Reflection for March 14 by Quinn Caldwell

“We say, ‘Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.’ How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still […]

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“Petulant People; Perplexing God” – Lenten Reflection for March 13 by John A. Nelson

“From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. The people spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food […]

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“Midlife Babies” – Lenten Reflection for March 12 by Molly Baskette

“Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him… ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’” John 3:1 Every once in a while, something (or someone) happens […]

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“More than a Gentle End” – Lenten Reflection for March 11 by Matt Fitzgerald

“God will guard your going out.” Psalm 121 Our Book of Worship has a section titled “Order for the Time of Dying.” What wishful thinking. We can’t impose order upon death. All we can do is wait. Or be surprised. Death never comes on time. The “order” contains a prayer I love. “Let death be […]

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Lenten Reflection for March 10, by Hillary Buckland

Psalm 121 A Song of Ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills— from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The […]

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“Family Resemblance” – Lenten Reflection for March 9 by Vince Amlin

“Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness, you that seek the Lord. Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, but I blessed him and […]

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“Jesus is Coming, Look Busy!” – Lenten Reflection for March 8 by Matt Laney

“Surely I am coming soon.” Jesus in Revelation 22:21 This verse, one of the very last in the Bible, makes me think of two bumper stickers: “Jesus is Coming. Look Busy!” and my favorite: “God is coming …and she’s pissed!” It’s silly to think of God as a nitpicking boss, watching and waiting for us […]

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“Some of it is Your Fault” – Lenten Reflection for March 7 by Jennifer Garrison Brownell

“While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long . . . my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave […]

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Lenten Reflection for March 6, by Carl Buckland

It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and […]

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“Did God Say?” – Lenten Reflection for March 5 by Richard L. Floyd

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made.He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1 Our scripture lessons for Lent feature a wily bunch of tempters, the serpent, Satan, the devil, who pose questions […]

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“The Greatest” – Lenten Reflection for March 4 by Emily C. Heath

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then he called a little child over to sit among the disciples, and said, “I assure you that if you don’t turn your lives around and become like this little child, you will definitely not enter […]

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Lenten Reflection for March 3, by Mary Norton, Ed.D.

As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.’ Then he shouted, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be […]

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“Both/And” – Lenten Reflection for March 2 by John Edgerton

“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my parents conceived me. Yet You desired faithfulness even in the womb; You taught me wisdom in that secret place.” Psalm 51 So my wife and I are having a baby. Sometime between now and Easter—likely—our first child will be born. There is something deeply […]

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Lenten Reflection for Ash Wednesday, March 1, by Richard Sturm

‘Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. ‘So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by […]

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