Lenten Reflection Booklet ~ preceding days

Introduction

WELCOME to Port Perry and Prince Albert United Churches’ very own Lenten reflection booklet. We invite you to make it a special part of our collective Lenten journey. The intention is to set aside some time each day to read the suggested scripture for the day and take some time to reflect on what that scripture means to you in your life right now and what it means in our life as a community of faith. Then read what one of your fellow travellers has to say about that particular passage. You may agree or disagree. You may be challenged or inspired.

Why do we challenge you to create one of these books each year? Because theology–the art of recognizing God’s presence in our world–is the work of the entire community, not just of the minister sitting alone in his or her office. It is in the stories, the life experiences, and the reflections of all, that together we may find God in Jesus Christ and live out God’s kingdom.

The forty days of Lent are reflective of the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness–a time of intense and important reflection for our Lord. It was this time that prepared Jesus for his ministry and, inevitably, for his death and resurrection. Like Jesus, may this time of reflection prepare us so that our own journeys and our collective journey might be sustained and challenged anew.

Do note that Sundays are not included in the forty days of Lent. Each Sunday, no matter the season, is to be celebrated as a little Easter. That first Easter, the resurrection of Jesus, took place early on a Sunday. So, each and every Sunday celebrates the new life, new beginning and tremendous grace the Easter story offers us all.

As we now turn our hearts and minds to Lent, may we take the journey to Jerusalem and Golgotha slowly, thoughtfully, and prayerfully. May we take the journey knowing that we do not travel alone.

Elaine Hall & Don Willmer

Day One

Wednesday, February 14, 2024 (Ash Wednesday)

Luke 2:8-20

When I read and reflect on this passage, I think about the wonders of new babies and all the hopes, dreams and expectations of new parents.

Unlike other women of her era, Mary knew she was having a boy child. She also knew that he would be special; a king. I wonder what her expectations were of this new baby boy and what he would grow to become. I am certain her ideas of a king were very different from how Jesus actually lived and what he achieved.

New parents are filled with love and hope that their children will thrive and be successful. Success comes in many different formats and I imagine Mary never anticipated that her son would travel among the sick and unwanted or that he would die in the manner that he did and, in doing so, his life and his teachings would change the world. 

Leanne Ashbridge

Day Two

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Luke 2:41-52 

This is a rare passage from the Bible as it speaks to the early life of Jesus. Every year Joseph and Mary went with Jesus to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. Jesus at the time was just 12 years old, almost a teenager. Joseph and Mary returned home, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem; his parents did not know this at the time. They started to look for him on the home front among their relatives and friends. When they could not find him there, they returned to Jerusalem. After three days of frantically searching, they found him in the temple surrounded by his followers. Everyone that heard him in the temple was amazed by Jesus understanding and maturity. There was something special about this boy.

Mary and Joseph were astonished when they saw him in the temple, but they were not amused by his disappearance. They questioned him on why he had stayed behind. Jesus told them, “I must be about my Father’s business.” His parents did not understand what he was telling them.

Any parent can relate to not understanding their children at certain times in their lives.

We learn that Jesus is God’s son who has come to do his will. This is his mission. He was not being disrespectful to his parents, but his greater obligation was to his Father in Heaven.

He returned with his parents to Nazareth and was obedient to them. In the years that followed, he continued to grow in wisdom and understanding by knowing and obeying God’s Word.

I believe that this passage reminds us that we must continue to grow in our understanding of God and to live a life that pleases him, just as Jesus did. We all have room to grow and to improve our relationship with God.

Doug Suppelsa

Day Three

Friday, February 16, 2024

Luke 4:1-12

Following his baptism in the Jordan River, Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and was led by the Spirit into the desert. After 40 days and nights of wandering in the desert, he was confronted and tempted by the devil 3 times. With each attempt, Jesus remembered the scriptures and calmly responded to the devil, refusing to give into temptation.

As we journey through Lent, and wander through life, let us remember this story during times of temptation. Don’t “drink the kool-aid” for short-term gain. Keep calm, trust in God for the long haul, and you will find your way out of the wilderness.

Laural Griffen

Day Four

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Luke 4:16-30

Jesus’ practice was to go into the synagogues to bring his teachings to the people. This time he was in his hometown synagogue. He was recognized and appreciated, until he didn’t just roll up his sleeves and give them what they wanted. They wanted the healing miracles he had given in Capernaum. He was their boy giving to others, but not to them and he justified this with the synagogue’s scrolls. Anger lead to mob rule, so they took him to the cliff at the edge of town to throw him over, but in the confusion he walked away.

My thoughts: don’t just demand what you think God, government, your boss, your church or even your family should give or do for you. Take time to think and pray, you may not be seeing the whole picture. Emotionally following the crowd can be called democracy, but it can also be simply a mob.

Ted Wright (from 2018)

First Sunday in Lent

Sunday, February 18, 2024 

Today’s scripture lectionary readings for worship are:

Genesis 9:8-17, Psalm 25:1-10, Mark 1:9-15, 1 Peter 3:18-22

Our focus scripture will be: Mark 1:9-15

How do today’s scriptures connect to your personal life experiences?

Do you feel you have spent time in the wilderness at certain points in your life?

What are the signs in your life that God is with you and will never abandon you?

Day Five

Monday, February 19, 2024

Luke 5:17-26

In this story Jesus forgives the sins of a group of men in front of a large crowd. He does this knowing it would be seen as blasphemy by the Pharisees. He then heals one of the group, who is paralyzed and asks which act is easier, forgiveness or healing. He seems to be saying that the forgiveness of sins comes first and is, therefore, more important, although the crowds see the reverse as being miraculous. Jesus is further revealing himself as God and is pointing out that our spirit transcends our physical human condition.

Rusty Hick

Day Six

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Luke 6:1-11

 There are those of us who believe in the Lord and we look after ourselves each day with His guidance. Our faith will heal us and make us whole even though there are those who believe that they are right.

Irene Lamb

Day Seven

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Luke 6:27-36

Haven’t we all been hurt by someone at some time? Should we fight back and think about the best way get revenge? Would that feel good to watch them suffer?

Luke teaches that we should have mercy and forgiveness toward our aggressors and learn to love our enemies. Hurting someone back will not make anything better, only worse. If we could put ourselves in their shoes, we might be able to figure out the reason that they are lashing out. Knowing and understanding their lives, we then could show compassion and practice restraint and mercy. By following Luke’s teachings, we shall reap the rewards of love and friendship, not only on earth, but in heaven.

Janice White

Day Eight

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Luke 7:36-50

The lady who was known as having many sins, was well aware of her sins and her need. She sought forgiveness. She approached Jesus in great humility and showered him with her love. He saw her sincere need for forgiveness and took compassion on her, and forgave her. She drew near to Jesus in her great need.

The Pharisee didn’t show Jesus any special greeting when Jesus entered his home. He didn’t extend the common courtesies of that time for welcoming guests. The Pharisee either forgot or just neglected to show Jesus that he was special or loved. One gets a sense from this passage that the Pharisee thought he was above the lady sinner and thus more in favour with Jesus (God).

Jesus had to remind the Pharisee in parable that there is a danger in becoming lazy in one’s faith and thus not maintaining a close relationship with Jesus (God).

When things are going along well for one, we may forget or get lax in our prayer life and not engage God on a regular basis. When things go wrong, we are quick to go to God in prayer for help, guidance and strength. We need to work at maintaining a close relationship with God. Our faith journey will suffer if we get lazy.

I pray that I can remember that I need God every minute of every day and ask for help to not get lazy in my faith journey.

Lorraine Andrews

Day Nine

Friday, February 23, 2024

Luke 8:4-15

A conversation with Pablo

As luck would have it, I was running behind with my submission. We were enjoying some time away with friends in Huatulco, Mexico. On the final day for this submission, we had risen early to play some Pickleball in town. We jumped into a taxi to get back to our Villa, our taxi driver’s name was Pablo. A lovely conversation ensued. Pablo indicated his excellent English was the result of learning English and studying scripture. How fortunate! I asked his opinion on Luke 8. His sincerity and grasp of the reading stayed with me; I wish to share Pablo’s thoughts.

Jesus is the sower of the words of God, the seeds are his teachings. The seeds resting spots are the different people in this world. How well people hear God’s words depend on the location of the seeds. So, I asked him if it’s not just luck where the seeds land. The people’s responses to God’s word is just your randomized location in life. As Elaine has said many times “God meets you where you are”. So, I looked at this as a moment in time and a snapshot of the individuals faith journey. It’s ebb and flows, so to speak. Pablo told me eloquently I was wrong! “No,” he says “it is all about people having free reign to make choices”. Whether you are the seed on or off the path, or in the thorns or the good ground. The choice to listen, learn and respond is up to each person. Our ride was over too quickly. We enjoyed our time Pablo, wished each other well. I realized his thoughts were the lesson I was to receive that day. He said multiple times, “the words that come from his mouth are the direct result of God putting them in his head.” We got out of the taxi, wished him well, “adiós amigo Pablo”.

Pablo and Shelley Bertrim

Day Ten

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Luke 8:40-56

I sometimes have to remind myself not to focus on explaining the stories told to us of Jesus’ healing, but rather to reflect on their meaning and what we can learn from them.

The healing of the bleeding women gives another example of how Jesus holds women in a place of importance and love. When she touches the hem of his cloak, he does not reprimand her for defiling him, nor does he leave the crowd as suggested. Instead he acknowledges that he felt her presence and lets her know that it was her faith that healed her. What a beautiful act of love.

Racheal Manns

Second Sunday in Lent

Sunday, February 25, 2024 

Today’s scripture lectionary readings for worship are:

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16, Psalm 22:23-31, Mark 8:31-38, Romans 4:13-25

Our focus scripture will be: Mark 8:31-38

What does it mean to you to lose your life, in order to save it?

Can we as Christians be accused of being ashamed of Jesus and his words?

Day Eleven

Monday, February 26, 2024

Luke 9:1-6

In this passage, Jesus gives the disciples the power of driving out demons and curing diseases. This makes me think of some self-professed “healers” who claim to profess this gift, but I always thought of them as charlatans, not real healers. To me, only doctors were real healers. Now I am beginning to wonder. I believe in the power of prayer to heal, but that power comes from God. Can healers tap directly into that power from God? Maybe some of those crutches hanging in the Martyr’s Shrine in Midland were the result of some lightning-bolt power from God.

The disciples also had to take nothing with them and be totally dependent on the household they were invited into. I wonder how many of us would accept a wanderer off the road for as long as he would like to stay.

Would you?

Pat Chamberlain

Day Twelve

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Luke 9:10-17

 Ahhhhh …… the famous parable …….. Feeding the Five Thousand. So many different themes came to me as I thoughtfully considered this scripture. Seeing a need doesn’t always have to be overwhelming. Issues can be resolved with talking to each other, being a community. Don’t think in isolation. Pray. Ask. We are not alone. The disciples felt overwhelmed. Jesus asked for help. And they had leftovers!

I, as part of the Outreach Committee, often fret and worry as we approach our Souper Sundays. Will the congregation stay for lunch? Will we have enough soup? Will it be hot enough? My prayers are always answered. People come. There is enough soup. Except for that one Sunday when our soup makers went without – I felt very badly about that – and so now I ask more people to make soup. And you know what – they do!

For life in our Port Perry Community can we help, like Jesus did, by supporting Operation Scugog so that no one goes hungry?

For further reading: Matthew 7: 7-12; James 1:17.

Brenda Jones

Day Thirteen

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Luke 9:57-62

In this reading people appear drawn to Jesus and want to be part of his following. Jesus must have had such a charismatic presence that people like ourselves, ordinary people, felt compelled to ask to be in his circle. In return Jesus welcomed them, but stipulated that in order to be accepted they must sacrifice everything from their past including their livelihood and their families.

I wonder if Jesus was merely suggesting that if we choose to become Christians and follow his word, we must give up negativity and unworthy thoughts and actions that have been part of our lives in the past. Perhaps he wants us to move as quickly as possible from an ordinary life of work and family and include the word of God in our daily living. We should give over our minds and bodies to his higher power and become vessels from which the word of God can be spread.

Georgeen Cochrane

Day Fourteen

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Luke 10:25-37

The concept in this story likely challenged what “neighbour” meant in those times. No doubt a radical shift. Today, this story resonates with all ages and phases. We teach the story of The Good Samaritan to children as part of expected behaviour (share and help others), and we remind adults of the same. Think about it… at its most basic level, this story guides the work of modern churches and charities. And, as the needs of our local and global neighbours grow, this parable endures all challenges, as we intuitively offer our time, talents, skills and resources to help where needed.

Tracy Marshall

Day Fifteen

Friday, March 1, 2024

Luke 11:5-13

 I feel the urgency of the neighbour in this passage. We persist in darkness with our prayers, but God is with us, no matter how many times we ask, he will answer and give us what we ask for, or maybe just what we need. as we are his children. We persist and God answers us.

Sandra Halls

Day Sixteen

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Luke 12:13-20

When the rich man had a wonderful crop produced, he had no thought at all to share this gift. His main concern was how it was to benefit himself. Do our lives align with the gifts that we receive? We all need to build a better relationship with God and to realize that the gifts he gives us are a blessing. Basically, Jesus is saying, “You cannot take it with you!” We all need to look inward and self-reflect on what our gifts are – and willingly share. We are so blessed.

Bonnie Solomon

Third Sunday of Lent

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Today’s scripture readings for worship are:

Exodus 20:1-17, Psalm 19, John 2:13-22, 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Our focus scripture will be: John 2:13-22

Was it right for Jesus to display anger?

Are you surprised by his rage?

What is righteous anger?

Day Seventeen

Monday, March 4, 2024

Luke 12:22-34

Do Not Worry

Jesus tells his disciples not to worry about anything – your life, what to eat, what to wear, and our bodies. Life is more than food, the body more than clothing. He talks about the ravens – they have nothing to do but find food – he feeds them. We are more important than birds.

Why worry if you can’t do the least – why the rest? Worry can sometimes shorten life. Worry is useless, showing a lack of faith in God’s plans.

I find that I worry too much and must trust the Lord more. He has helped a lot.

The lilies of the field are beautiful and the grass for feeding the animals. Don’t worry about what we should eat or drink – nor have a worrisome mind; many people do. God knows our problems – but we must seek his kingdom first.

He calls us little flock. It is God’s pleasure to give us his kingdom. God will provide – do not fear or have an anxious mind.

Seek treasures in heaven that do not fail. Where your treasure is, your heart will be, too.

(I’ve noticed birds at the bird feeder. There is always a greedy, impatient one. He flies in and chases the others away. They wait patiently until he gets his fill, then they all swoop in and are fed.)

Maureen Dowson

Day Eighteen

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Luke 12:49-53

WOW! What a passage! DIVISION especially in a family doesn’t seem like a GOOD thing. What was Jesus saying? Are we each to think for ourselves and not to just go along with what others say or do? Ralph and I often say as we look out onto the lake “If only people (countries) could get along like the beautiful birds!” The swans and the geese swim together without any squabbles! The chickadees and the juncos share the seeds from the birdfeeder.

What do you think?

Eleanor Bailey

Day Nineteen

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Luke 13:18-21

These few verses show that the smallest mustard seed can grow into a large tree and a small amount of yeast can leaven a whole loaf of bread. These words were spoken to the Pharisees to tell them what the Kingdom of God was like. Jesus did wonderful things – healed the sick, gave sight to the blind and many other miracles. We cannot do what Christ did. However, we can give a smile, a hug, a shoulder to cry on, or help in any way we can. Christ also said – the kingdom of God is within us. So, we are to bring others into God’s kingdom to share in his loving care.

Shirley Barr

Day Twenty

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Luke 13:22-30

This passage includes two subjects which I find difficult to understand. The “narrow door” is one and the other is the thought that not everyone will be “saved.”

The narrow door seems to mean that the road to “salvation” doesn’t have room for a lot of extra baggage. Socializing with Jesus and his followers isn’t enough. We have to shed our extraneous baggage – our good works and noble aspirations – so that we can fit through the narrow door.

The idea that not everyone will be “saved” is troubling. If we fail to make the cut the first time around, will we never have another chance? Perhaps it means that entry is not automatic and that effort on our part is needed before being let in. We need to get rid of our baggage and try again. This passage raises other questions such as: Once through the door, will we be safe? Can we be dropped from the team if we don’t “perform”? Do we have to go through the door each day? There is a lot to ponder.

Neil Olorenshaw

Day Twenty-One

Friday, March 8, 2024

Luke 14:15-24

I’m assuming this man is wealthy and fears invited guests not attending his great feast will reflect negatively on him. Is he protecting his ego when he fills his house from the surrounding areas? Even when his house is full with guests to eat from his table, he spouts anger at those who were originally invited. Where and what might this anger lead to? Could his ego and anger be a part of his makeup which lead to the original guests not wanting to attend the feast?

Rosemary Swan

Day Twenty-Two

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Luke 15:1-10

Verse 7 states that God has more joy over one person who changed their ways than over the 99 people who were “good” in the first place. This might make us feel ripped off. We generally consider ourselves “good” people. Are we not just as deserving of God’s joy as someone who was “bad” up until this moment? What we are forgetting is that God has already rejoiced over us. No matter when we turn to God, God will rejoice and be happy. God loves us no matter what, all God wants is for us to follow God’s ways. While we are wondering how it is possible for someone who answered only the last question on a math test correctly to do better than someone who got all the questions right, we need to remember that God’s math is different. It does not matter when we start to follow God. What matters is that we are following. So, when God rejoices in a new follower, we should rejoice too, because all people are welcome in the kingdom of God.

Claire Willmer

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Today’s scripture readings for worship are:

 Numbers 21:4-9, Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22, John 3:14-21, Ephesians 2:1-10

Our focus scripture will be: John 3:14-21

The “Son of God” in Jesus’ time was the Emperor. John is calling the people away from one kingdom to another. What does believing in the name of the only Son of God mean to you in today’s world?

How does your life demonstrate that you believe in Jesus?

Day Twenty-Three

Monday, March 11, 2024

Luke 15:11-32 

So once again we read a story that is very familiar to most of us. It is the story of one obedient son who honoured his father while the younger immature one took his inheritance and deserted his family.

I am in total agreement with the eldest brother. He is angry. He has been the good loyal son who stayed and worked for his father and did all that he was asked and was not appreciated, but truly totally taken for granted. The youngest one is celebrated after he comes home after messing up big time. The eldest feels jealous and resentful.

It is such a common human trait. So, I wonder what causes this reaction?

Is it because we lack self-confidence or self-worth? Are we insecure about our place in the world?

Are we struggling with what is right and fair? Are we confused about our relationship to God and how we think things should be?

I think that we must be good Christians who WALK the TALK that Jesus teaches. We must love, forgive and serve. We do these things because then we improve not only our own lives, but also the lives of everyone around us. We do not need a reward.

When someone finally “Gets It!” we do celebrate just like the shepherd when he found his lost sheep. This is the same story. It is not that the others didn’t matter, but there was extra joy because someone or something that was lost had been found.

Tinie Evans

Day Twenty-Four

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Luke 16:1-13

I find this to be a rather difficult passage.

The dishonest manager wants to make himself popular and therefore reduces the amount the debtors owe to his Master. However, he is actually cheating the Master out of what he was owed.

I still find myself asking the question “Why was the manager commended for his dishonesty?”

I see this passage as related to stewardship (the safekeeping of things entrusted to us). How often will we ask someone, even a child, to do something as a test of integrity. The way we care for things committed to our care tells the world a great deal about who we are.

If we look after the little things in life, then more will be entrusted to our care.

I have always found that even in the most difficult times, if we try to look after those in need first, our own needs will always be met.

Let us always be faithful with what we have been given, not only money, but all the good gifts we have received.

Joan Bretney

Day Twenty-Five

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Luke 17:11-19

This reflection shares the story of Jesus and his disciples as they journey toward Jerusalem. They come upon ten lepers wanting to be healed. After Jesus heals them, he is most upset when only one, a Samaritan, a foreigner, gives thanks for his healing while the other nine rush on their way.

Are there times when you have felt like Jesus, have felt your deed was taken for granted?

Who do you need to thank today, maybe a family member, a friend, Jesus?

Another thought, how would it feel to remain anonymous as a giver?

A little acknowledgement and appreciation are like a gift to anyone’s soul.

Marguerite Mitchell

Day Twenty-Six

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Luke 18: 9-14

This parable is aimed at those who act like they are righteous and have a tendency to look down on others. The Pharisee prayed about himself and used his prayer to put down others. On the other hand, the Publican (tax collector) acknowledged that he was a sinner and prayed to God to forgive him. The two men went home, but only the tax collector had pleased God as he had been humble and asked for forgiveness.

A person’s attitude is important to God. This parable speaks to me that it is important to pray with the right attitude.

Doug Suppelsa

Day Twenty-Seven

Friday, March 15, 2024

Luke 18:15-17

The passage brought to my mind a hymn, “When Mothers of Salem”, that hasn’t been in a United Church hymn book for decades. We sang it a lot, when I was a kid, and I know much of it from memory, so it must have made an impression.

“When mothers of Salem, their children brought to Jesus, the stern disciples drove them back and bade them depart; but Jesus saw them ere they fled and sweetly smiled and kindly said, “suffer little children to come unto me.”

Although this hymn is not one that we sing, because it’s out of date, it still makes the point that children’s ministry ranks as vital and essential. As our congregation transitions over the coming year, let us keep on doing what we already do so well, as the old hymn says, bring the children to Jesus.

Dave Shepherd

Day Twenty-Eight

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Luke 18:18-25 

My first thought – which I found as a surprise – was that Jesus did not think of himself as a “good man”. Jesus believed only God was good. Luke’s interpretation of good is “one who follows the ten commandments” is good. Which I believe we all feel this way as we try to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.

Jesus wants us to go one step further and give away all we have to the poor and to follow him. But Jesus realized this is almost impossible, as he said it is like threading a camel through the eye of a needle.

During Lent we give up something, in hope that we can learn something from this sacrifice. Should we not do this more often?

It is the act of giving and giving away that can bring us closer to knowing what God’s path is for us. It can be a humbling choice and realization to make at any time.

Heather Wray

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Today’s scripture readings for worship are:

Jeremiah 31:31-34, Psalm 51:1-12, John 12:20-33 & John 12:20-33

What does it mean to have the law “written on our hearts?”

How would your life be different if you were able to replace “I should” with “I want to,” in how you approach your call as a Christian?

Day Twenty-Nine

Monday, March 18, 2024

Luke 19: 1-10

Zacchaeus the Tax Collector

These verses symbolize repentance, transformation and salvation of a powerful and wealthy man named Zacchaeus. He was considered a sinner by his community because he was greedy.

Zacchaeus was a man who wasn’t shown much love or peace by being a tax collector. He was hated and considered a traitor because he collected taxes for the Romans who ruled over the people. Zacchaeus was led to Jesus by climbing a sycamore tree where he was transformed.

Our society is always being confronted by different forms of sin, some daily examples can be as simple as; lying, hate, swearing and stealing. Other forms of sin could be more extreme and consequential; not forgiving others, fraudulent or violent behaviour, horrid political leaders. Sins usually have a negative effect on people just as it did in biblical times with Zacchaeus and the citizens of Jericho. Sadly, there are so many incidents where judgements are made. You reject people and ideas and become bitter. Or you seek out forgiveness, apologize and try to redeem yourself. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you don’t sin, but as a follower of Jesus Christ we are forgiven for our sins and through trials and tribulations our faith grows. Jesus stuns his followers when he personally calls Zacchaeus by name. Zacchaeus’ encounter with Jesus transforms him spiritually. He repents, and finds salvation when Jesus recognizes him. Zacchaeus’ ultimate salvation is his changed behaviour and when he publicly proclaims to give wealth to the poor and to pay back taxes to people over and above what he collected.

Dawn Wilson

Day Thirty

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Luke 19:11-27

We must be faithful in what we are given. Jesus said everyone who has, more will be given, but from the man who does not get and does not have, even what he has will be taken away. We must be faithful to whatever we are given and not allow others to judge whether it is right or wrong how we get it or achieve it.

We must be faithful and do our best with what we are given. It reminds me of the childhood song, “The Magic Penny.” “Love is something if you give it away, give it away – you will end up having more. Money’s dandy and we like to use it, but love is better if we don’t refuse it. It’s a treasure and you never lose it – Unless you lock up your door!”

The servant locked up the door and did nothing with his mina, based on his fear of the nobleman and listening to the judgement of the people in the town. He did not take his mina and have the faith that it was given to him for better things to come.

Deborah Taylor

Day Thirty-One

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Luke 19:45-48 

In this passage Jesus throws out the merchants who had been selling wares inside the temple. He is very angry that the leaders have allowed this to happen, and they have strayed away from the real use of the temple. Jesus said it was written in scripture that the temple was to be a house of prayer.

Jesus continues to teach in the temple and the Chief Priests and Leaders are unable to stop him.

If I had been in the temple during this time, I believe it would have been with mixed feelings. This charismatic teacher called Jesus was very persuasive and talked of a new way of thinking. On the other hand, would I have been strong enough to challenge the dictates of the Chief Priests?

Beth Pereman

Day Thirty-Two

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Luke 20: 9-19

 The Vineyard Parable and what it means to me.

It is obvious to me now, that I was in desperate need of an intervention from our Lord.

GOD, is the creator of all things and therefore the owner of the vineyard. I compare the vineyard itself to me. The tenants are my struggles with depression and my feelings of utter despondency. My servants, who I now know, are the signs from our Lord that helped me to begin my journey of salvation. I left my house at that precise time to meet that precise stranger who guided me to Port Perry United Church. Here, I was put in the direct path to meet Elaine. The heir is my willingness to know Jesus through learning the Bible with help from Elaine.

Elaine, through Christ Jesus, saved my life! Elaine is my “cornerstone.” For without Elaine, that “cornerstone” would surely have fallen on me. (editor’s note: definitely the spirit at work!)

Mary Kimberley-Taylor

Day Thirty-Three

Friday, March 22, 2024

Luke 20:20-26

The chief priests and scribes were non believers, jealous of Jesus’ kindness and compassion for everyone no matter if they are rich or poor, sick or healthy, young or old. Jesus believed in and taught the truth to everyone and because the leaders were jealous and afraid of what they saw in the people when he preached, they wanted to condemn him. When they confronted him, they were unable to trick him, Jesus turned their questions around to teach them the truth, and they walked away.

Brenda Robinson

Day Thirty-Four

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Luke 21: 1-4

 How much are you willing to sacrifice for the church? Givings to the church should be sufficient to the point that we give all that we can possibly give. Many church goers give a minimal amount to their church because of all the expenses they have today. Prices of food, clothing and household expenses are rising daily. We need to make sure that we can survive financially. But the church too needs to survive. Hydro, water, insurance costs need to be met. We as a congregation need to balance our expenses with those of the church. Give all that you are able to give. It is a fine line to try and follow. Much thought is needed to look at expenses rationally. It is also a very touchy subject. It is a very private matter. Making a sacrifice to the church should also involve giving of your time and energy as a volunteer to committees, choir, readers of scripture and ushering. Do your part to make the church function. There are countless things that you can do. We pray that you think about offering and do what you can do as a volunteer. Let your conscience be your guide.

Peggy Bredin

Palm Sunday

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Today’s scripture reading for worship is:

Mark 11:1-11

Today our children and youth will help us to dig more deeply into the meaning of Holy Week.

It is easy to move from the excitement of Palm Sunday to the triumph of Easter morning. And yet, the Passion story lies in between. Why must we bother with the sadness of Jesus’ crucifixion and death? Why not just skip it and move on to the Easter story?

What stops you from following Jesus to the cross?

Day Thirty-Five

Monday, March 25, 2024

Luke 22:7-23

The Last Supper

Jesus was looking forward to sharing this last Passover meal before his suffering with his disciples, whom he loved and cared so much about. He tells them his betrayer is among them, showing how trust can be broken in even the closest circles, and says that person is doomed. It’s a meal full of emotion, including fear and unbelievable sorrow, but also hopefulness because of Jesus’ promises.

During his last supper, on the night he was betrayed, Jesus said to his disciples ‘Do this in remembrance of me’. Today Christians observe the Lord’s supper regularly in order to honour and remember Jesus. The symbols of the bread and the cup remind us of the sacrifice Jesus made for us. Just as food and drink nourish and strengthen the body, as followers of Christ when we are given the bread and cup in the Lord’s Supper, we are nourished and strengthened in our faith.

In the moment of sharing the bread and wine we are unified in our shared purpose and destiny. As we eat the bread we say ‘Jesus, I take you as the bread of my life,’ and as we drink the cup we say ‘Thank-you Lord, for shedding your blood for my salvation’ and take comfort in Christ’s selfless love.

Carolynn Chasse

Day Thirty-Six

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

 Luke 22: 39-53

GETHSEMANE… from Devotions by Mary Oliver

The grass never sleeps.

Or the roses.

Nor does the lily have a secret eye that shuts until morning.

Jesus said, wait with me. But the disciples slept.

The cricket has such splendid fringe on its feet, and it sings, have you noticed, with its whole body,

and heaven knows if it ever sleeps.

Jesus said, wait with me. And maybe the stars did,

Maybe the wind wound itself into a silver tree, and didn’t move,

maybe the lake far away, where once he walked on as a blue pavement, lay still and waited, wild awake.

Oh the dear bodies, slumped and eye-shut, that could not keep that vigil,

how they must have wept, so utterly human, knowing this too must be a part of the story.

Day Thirty-Seven

DAY THIRTY-SEVEN – Wednesday, March 27, 2024

 Luke 22:31-34

When I read this passage it reminds me of hope and faith. No matter what happens in life keep believing and trusting in God. There have been times in my life that I did wonder if God was there. I always look for signs that are very often right in front of my eyes/ears if I take the time to be aware.

In today’s world, we are faced with many temptations: e.g. greed, jealousy, lust, adultery. We must be ever wary of these and other temptations and avoid them, in order to live our lives as Christ wants.

Luke 22:54-62

These passages reflect on the fact that unacceptable behavior has a way of spreading if left unchecked. We need to be aware of our own breaking points and if needed reach out to others for help. Unacceptable behavior has a long-lasting effect on yourself and the people around you.

Kelly Olsen

Day Thirty-Eight

Thursday March 28, 2024

 Luke 23:1-25

Have you ever made a definite decision on a matter, then changed your mind due to influences of others or peer pressure? This is one such story.

Early in the morning Jesus was taken before the high courts and council of the Jews. Here, he faced Pilate who asked him, “are you the King of the Jews?” “So you say,” answered Jesus.

Then Pilate spoke to the crowd’s council. “I feel there is no reason to condemn this man.”

But the crowd, which by now had escalated into a mob, insisted more strongly of their convictions. “With his teachings, he is starting a riot among the people all through Judea. He began in Galilee and now has come here.” When Pilate learned, indeed, that Jesus was from the region ruled by Herod, he sent him to Herod, who conveniently was visiting Jerusalem that time.

Herod was pleased when he confronted Jesus, for he had heard about this man who could perform miracles. But Jesus ignored his questions. The priests of the council stepped forward and made further accusations against Jesus. Now, Herod and his soldiers mocked Jesus and treated him with contempt. They put a fine robe on him and sent him back to Pilate.

Surprisingly, before this episode with Jesus, Herod and Pilate had never met before and assumed they were enemies. But now they were becoming friends.

Now, Pilate called the chief priests and leaders again, stating he could find no reason to condemn Jesus. Nor did Herod find him guilty. They both agreed that Jesus had done nothing wrong to deserve death, but he should be whipped and then released.

But the frenzied crowd cried out, “kill him and set the prisoner Barabbas free.”

For the third time, Pilate appealed to the angry mob. But the crowd insisted on Jesus being crucified.

Peer pressure made Pilate pass the death sentence on Jesus.

Heather McCrae

Day Thirty-Nine

Friday, March 29, 2024

Luke 23:26-49

 This passage is very troubling to many of us. How can people do such cruelty to a fellow human being? Yet in the Old Testament, Psalm 22:14-16, Jesus’ crucifixion had been prophesized hundreds of years before crucifixion was invented! With all the wickedness that happens we must remember that Jesus forgave them. Nobody is so wicked or hateful that they are beyond being prayed for. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing!”

When Christ was born there was a light like none that had been seen before. Is it not right that darkness should notify all of his death?

We as Christians have to make a decision. Are you going to be emotionally affected? “How awful that Jesus had to go through all of that!” Are you going to be physically sickened (like myself)? “How disgusting, people can be so cruel!” Or are you going to be spiritually enlightened? “Jesus, you did not suffer and die in vain.”

We can praise God like the centurion did. It is our choice.

Bonnie Solomon