Even When It Hurts: Acknowledgements

Even When It Hurts -- Lent 2021 Devotional Book

This is a labor of love for me, but I cannot do it alone. Here are the people who are part of this project:

The picture on the cover was taken by Raphael Nast and sourced from Unsplash.Com.

My writers are incredible, and some of them even offered to write extra devotions to cut down on the number that I had to write myself. They are Marilyn Allen, the Reverend Keith Axberg, Michael Boss, Cathey Frederick, the Reverend Paul Moore, David Sloat, Ashley Sweeney, Mary Ann Taylor, Carol Treston, Penny Worrell, and Tom Worrell.

May you be blessed by what you read.
-Jen McCabe

Even When It Hurts: April 4, 2021 (Easter)

Even When It Hurts -- Lent 2021 Devotional Book

Read: Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

I will not die, but live, and I will tell what the Lord has done.
-Psalm 118:17

This portion of Psalm 118 is a shout of triumph but it is not triumphalist. The psalmist has been through dark days. He thought he might not make it. He has learned a “hard lesson,” but lives to tell about it. The story is not about how he triumphed, but how God saved him from the day of trouble, to which he responds with praise. “I will tell what the Lord has done.” He opens with a common refrain that expresses how Israel was to understand the heart of God: “His love continues forever.” This is all about praising God’s everlasting love. He ends gathering the people together with him. “Let us rejoice and be glad today!”

Lent is over. Yesterday was the last day of Holy Week. It is as of we have been through the lament of Lent and are emerging from the other side full of hope.

COVID-19 has had us lamenting for over a year, compounded with new variants that are more virulent than what first emerged to plague the world. Yet as vaccines gain momentum, the beacon light of herd immunity begins to dawn on the horizon. This trial will not go on forever. There is hope.

A little less than a year ago the death of George Floyd galvanized the nation and brought into sharp focus the disparity between how black and white people are treated. The ghosts of our past have emerged in violent white-supremacist groups, even as we have wrestled with the unconscious ways in which we, too, have participated in our nation’s original sin. Yet the work is yielding fruit. The backlash from the events of January 6th show signs that most of us really do want to expand the national story to include the stories of people of color.

Oppression will not go on forever. There is hope.

If we are to take the pattern of this psalm as our own, then we must give thanks to God for bringing us through. Even our own efforts are made in the context of God’s never-ending love. In the end, we must all join together in praise, for a single voice just does not do the moment justice.

God of unending love, we lift our hearts in praise for the ways you are bringing us out of darkness into the light of love, faith, and justice. Amen.
-The Rev. Paul Moore

Even When It Hurts: April 3, 2021 (Holy Saturday)

Even When It Hurts -- Lent 2021 Devotional Book

Read: Psalm 77

I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.
-Psalm 77:12

I’m definitely a “glass half full” person by nature. That said, I also realize that however much I’m inclined to think that my faith and optimism have been tested over the nearly seven decades of my life, the greatest travails most likely lie ahead. For this reason, I try to keep both my physical and spiritual being in fine fettle. A great way to do this is by taking a walk outside. The prophylactic benefits are well established, but beyond that, it doesn’t take much time in nature to be reminded of “the deeds of the Lord” and God’s “miracles of long ago.” This sense of continuity and faithfulness is both humbling and sustaining, and leads to the inescapable conclusion, “What God is as great as our God?”

Lord, when I am in distress, help me to recall “my songs in the night” — the meditations of the miracles you show me every day. For you are the God who performs miracles, and who leads me “like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” Amen.
-Michael Boss