Lenten Devotional - February 24, 2021
Opening Prayer: 
God of all, out of your abundance you give us the gift of grace. You teach us that when we gift others with grace, with kindness, your abundance is multiplied in our world and in our hearts. All too often, we see scarcity - of time, of treasure, of love. Help us to see past that mindset and into the world of your kingdom come. Amen.
Are You Marked?
by Michele Ottinger
Romans 12:9-13 (NRSV)

9 Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
Romans 12:9-13 is often referred to as the passage containing the mark of a true Christian. It reads: “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.”

Whenever I read this familiar passage I question whether or not I am marked as a true Christian. It is a question we can all ask ourselves. Having spent most of my life involved with young children I have decided that it is often the youngest among us that display the characteristics of Christ. Being the hands and face of Christ comes easy for most young children. Perhaps it is because they are so fresh from God. One such four year old theologian/teacher was Caleb. I met Caleb in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. Until my work in this desolate area my view of poverty was what I had seen in the metropolitan area of St. Louis. Then Caleb and his grandparents, with whom he lived, changed that forever. Their shack in the holler looked like something from a movie set. It had not seen a paintbrush in many years. There were no working utilities. Plumbing consisted of an outhouse and a garden hose catching the mountain water runoff. Electric was not hooked up so coal oil lamps were used and heat came from an iron stove. And yet, in the midst of this, Caleb and his grandparents were full of joy and love. I visited their home often in my time “on the mountain” and witnessed many acts of kindness. His grandmother, whom he called “Mammy,” shared what little they had with neighbors who were “down on their luck.” His Papaw often cut wood from the mountain and carried it to those who were in need. They were thankful for the little they had and spent their life sharing it and the love of Christ with others. During my visits Mammy and I would talk church, for the family was deeply rooted in their Christian faith. As my time with Caleb’s program came to a close, Mammy rode the school bus with the children one morning. She came to say goodbye with Caleb by her side. He had something clenched in his hand. When his Mammy finished he put out his hand and in it was a piece of quartz he had found on the mountain. It was his gift to me and it changed my life forever.

Sometimes it is the simplest acts of kindness that have the most lasting effects on someone and can impact them in extraordinary ways. The point of this story is not that we are rewarded for doing good deeds, but that simple deeds can produce larger results than we expect. The simple acts of kindness shown by Mammy, Papaw and Caleb touched the fabric of my soul because, through them, I saw the love of God. Situations like my time on the mountain do not come along every day. But what I learned from it was that everyday there are situations that a simple act of kindness can help with. I learned that there are opportunities all around us to show that we have the mark of a true Christian. Acts of kindness do not need to be complex or extraordinary but can be normal, everyday events that provide the opportunity to show the love of Christ to others. 

So, as we walk this journey of Lent, let’s challenge ourselves to Make Lent Make a Difference by sharing kindness. For any act of kindness we show others does not come from who we are but who Jesus is through us.  
Closing Prayer: 
Dear God, your son told his disciples, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." We are your children. Help us to see the world with the simplicity of a child and know that even the smallest gift, given with a full heart, is greater than the treasure of a king. 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