Lenten Devotional - March 10, 2021
Opening Prayer: 
Dear God, as I walk out of my door in Year 2, Day 1 of this pandemic, protect me and those around me. You have been present with me throughout this time and I give you thanks. Bless the care I take to wear a mask and socially distance from my neighbor, even as all I want to do is hug them and dance. Help me to realize that day will come, is coming. Guide me to my own care and to see to my neighbor's needs. Amen.
Happy Anniversary? A COVID Reflection
by Amy Bush
Luke 10:27 (NRSV)
27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
The last year has been challenging for all of us a global pandemic, intense political culture, grieving lives lost and our pre-COVID life, and _____________ (fill in your blank). We’ve made it to the one-year mark of when our world, and life as we know it, shut down. One year. Let that sink in for a moment. 

My first COVID response email from my school district was sent on March 9, 2020, and within a week, we learned that the district would be closed from March 18-April 3, 2020. Throughout the next year, we all lived in flux empty toilet paper shelves, no school to virtual school or working from home, ever changing news about the virus, Zoomed in and out, and the prayers for a vaccine to hopefully end this all. Yet, in all of this flux, we found joys, neighborly generosity, creative solutions to distance and safe interactions, and never forgot that God is with us always. 

For me, this year has been difficult as a "people person." Surprise! I am my best self when busy and surrounded by people. I love festivals, concerts, camps, mission trips, work/school and a church community when it’s full of people and life. We all know COVID living has felt a little lifeless at times, and has taken (or continues to take) a toll on our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health, and all for good reason. Yet, amidst all this, we found ways to be a good neighbor in our world and to one another. 

The first part of this scripture, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind,” is a constant in our lives. My soul has been heavy with COVID’s impact, student/youth and family needs, and lacking the fire I feel from engaging with people. My strength has dwindled from sitting on my couch for too many streamed shows and Zooming. My mind has been overwhelmed with so many different routines, but also with boredom like I’m going to organize every closet kind of boredom. And yet, when I prayed, coordinated a local mission trip, hosted virtual confirmation and turned to God, I did so fiercely with my heart, soul, strength, and mind. This love fueled me to continue and do my best each and every day, even when it’s hard.  

Lent is traditionally a dark time, a time for reflection, and I know that all of us could write a comparable pandemic narrative. What spoke to me most about this scripture was the last bit to love “your neighbor as yourself.” Loving myself is always tough because I’m critical, reflective, and a perfectionist. However, this year I’ve wrestled with loneliness, being hard on myself because I didn’t do enough for the day, and finding it difficult to reach out to friends because I was overwhelmed. My message for you (and for myself) is to take time for self-care. Look for the joys or grateful moments in each day and lift your thanks to God. Many people in our St. Lucas community and personal lives are good neighbors and are ready to support one another with grace and love in any way we can. But we cannot seem to extend the same love and grace to ourselves. I challenge you this week to do a little something for yourself that brings you joy, so that you can share that joy with others. 

As our world continues to change with more in-person gatherings, vaccine availability, and a new routine (again), embrace these changes with self-care, grace, and love that you would extend to any neighbor. Be gentle with yourself and continue to love with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. Make Lent Make a Difference in your life through self-care so that you can continue to be the hands and feet of Christ to others. 
Closing Prayer: 
Healing God, bless all of those places to which we will return, vaccinated and well. Help us to realize this is a moment in your very long time. Bless us as we resist the temptation to gather before it's safe. Bless those keeping us safe in this ever evolving situation and guide them. Bless us all as we begin, cautiously, one step at a time, to gather again. Amen.
Make a Difference This Week!
Make Lent Make a Difference is the Lenten focus for 2021. This past year has put before us many obstacles and changes, but one thing that never changes is the love we receive from Jesus Christ. 

This year, as we move through the 40 days of Lent, let us challenge ourselves to become the face of Jesus to others through our actions and words. Challenge yourself to make a difference even in these unusual times. Kindness spreads like the ripples in a lake when a single rock is thrown in. A small rock of kindness can create great waves of change.

Here are just a few ideas to get you started
Making Lent Make a Difference...

PRAY a Prayer:

  • Of thanksgiving for those who show you kindness
  • For your family, friends and neighbors
  • For those who serve us- the first responders
  • For your church family
  • For your community
  • For your country
  • For your enemies

READ the Word:


  • Make a phone call to someone to just say hello
  • Spend the day not complaining about anything
  • Leave a small treat or note on a neighbor’s porch
  • Send a note or possibly a donation to a non-profit you support encouraging them in their work
  • Forgive someone who you’ve been struggling with for a while- if not to be kind to them, then to be kind to yourself
  • Tell someone why you are thankful for them through email, written note, or phone call
  • Leave a thank you note to someone who “works for you”- a postal worker, trash collector, waitress, cleaning person, first responders, etc.
  • Focus on how you can show kindness to the environment through your actions
  • Compliment someone either through card, email, phone, or in person
  • Leave an anonymous encouraging note for someone to find

In each week’s e-blast you will find updates and additional difference making ideas. In addition, the staff of your church will be writing and sharing a weekly Wednesday devotion. Those will come to you in an e-blast and on Facebook each Wednesday evening during Lent.
St. Lucas UCC | 314.843.2100 | www.stlucasucc.org