Weekly Lent Devotional: Week 3

Romans 12:9-18, NLT
9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Romans 12:9-18 is a popular wedding ceremony text because meaning can be found in these words by all, regardless of their faith. No one is going to disagree that we shouldn’t try to let love be genuine. At the same time, these words are uniquely Christian, because these words are embodied in the life of Jesus. Jesus genuinely loved. Jesus persevered in prayer. Jesus offered hospitality to strangers. Jesus celebrated with guests at weddings and wept alongside mourners at funerals. Jesus associated with the vulnerable and did not exact revenge on those who sought to harm him. It seems unfair that Jesus had the advantage of God’s incarnation while he lived among us. Being fully human and fully God surely makes it easier to live with an Outward Incarnational Focus. But as members of the body of Christ, we who are simply fully human are called to do the same. As far as it depends on us, we are asked to embody these Christian qualities.

The youth group I work with was recently looking for some service opportunities in our congregation. I called a few of our homebound members, asking if they had any household tasks we could help them out with, imagining yard work, house cleaning, and perhaps delivering some food. But when I asked Judy what she might need done in her apartment, she asked me, “do any of them know how to play Rummikub?” They did help her clean a closet out. But then they played Rummikub. Author Madeleine L’Engle wrote, “There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred, and that is one of the deepest messages of the incarnation.”1 Sometimes Christ’s incarnation is lived out through healing and hard work. And sometimes through Rummikub.

  • Which characteristic of Christian community from Romans 12:9-18 have you experienced?
  • Which is most natural for you to live out? Which is most challenging?
  • Choose one of the qualities of community from Roman’s 12 to focus on this week. Write down 3 ways you will intentionally try and live out this quality. At the end of the week, reflect on how you may have received this quality through the Outward Incarnational Focus of others as well.

Jennie Sankey
Associate Pastor
Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church

1“Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art,” Madeleine L’Engle 

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

• 1 can black beans ( rinsed)
• 1 can corn, undrained
• 1 can Rotel, undrained
• 1 package ranch dressing mix
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1 Tbsp chili powder
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1 8 oz package light cream cheese
• 2 chicken breasts
• 1⁄4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
• 1⁄2 teaspoon of garlic powder
• 1⁄2 teaspoon of pepper
• 1 cup of diced onion
• 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
• 2 Garlic cloves minced

1. In a large skillet – heat oil and cook onions for 8 minutes than add garlic and cook for one minute.
2. Set your crock pot to low and add chicken, "cooked" onions and garlic, black beans, corn, rotel, all the seasonings, ranch mix.
3. Stir
4. Add cream cheese on top and cover and cook for 6 - 8 hours.
5. Before serving shred chicken using two forks.

Source: budgetsavvydiva.com
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