Every day during Lent, members of Oconee Street UMC will write a Lenten devotional and share with the congregation.
by Katie Calkin
March 24, 2014
1 Peter 4:10 – 11
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever.
I don’t get up ready to serve. Ruby and our dog Rosie often have to coax me into getting up at all. Sometimes as I drag out of bed I tell myself, “just get through the day, you don’t have to give it your all.” I am so grateful for the people that I serve through my job. They make me wake up and show up in a real, engaged, spirit-filled way. As a health educator doing outreach for a hospital, I work daily with people who are struggling and suffering. I have the honor of witnessing both their brokenness and their beauty. They are often my spiritual teachers…
J. went from working 70 hours a week to being unemployed, uninsured and drastically slowed down by a colostomy bag. She has been waiting for repair surgery for 6 months. She feels cast aside and has periods of shame that she can’t work or pay her medical bills. But in classes she laughs and talks wisely about managing stress and maintaining hope. She chooses to spread joy despite her pain and limitations.
I’ve know C. for years and he frustrates me with his black and white rules about faith. But then I remember that he killed another person, that he met Jesus in a prison cell. The clear cut rules that outline his faith are very important for him in living a clean life and feeling restored with God. He is a steady reminder to me that everyone’s faith is shaped by life experiences and to be careful of the ways I judge my Christian sisters and brothers.
I have a soft spot for R. who wants to quit smoking. He lives in a friend’s car or tent or occasional couch. He cries every time we talk about strategies for quitting and what his life will look like without smoking. His most consistent relationship has been with cigarettes. He carries much shame about choices he has made and things that have been done to him. Hearing the creative ways he survives each day is humbling. He is an example of the incredible resilience of the human soul.
My God, we’re a mess. We are all carrying wounds and causing wounds. Thank God, that’s not the whole story. When we are fully present with each other, when we approach each other with servants’ hearts, we make space for the Holy Spirit to move among us and help us towards wholeness.
Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for this day. I let go of my ego and fears…may your will be done through me. May I be your love and compassion, your justice and mercy in the world. May I see the Divine in everyone I meet…may everyone I meet see the Divine in me…together may we create moments of heaven on earth. Amen