Weekly Lent Devotional: Week 7

Ecclesiastes 7:10
Do not say, “Why were the former days better than these?”

Lent used to be a time of giving up something – chocolate, for example - to practice sacrifice and focus energies on God’s call. For many it feels as though we’ve been in a years-long season of the reluctant giving up of How It Used to Be.

We agree that change is needed but can’t seem to settle on what that looks like. It’s more important than ever that we know who we are and what our priorities are. The mark of Ecclesial Health helps us get real about how we do that.

Ecclesial Health. Granted, it doesn’t get the blood running the way Spirit-Inspired Worship or even Caring Relationships does. But Ecclesial Health carries a lot of heft.

It says we know what our values are, and we make our decisions in alignment with them. It says we aren’t afraid of transparency and making correction when necessary. It says we care for those who serve us as leaders, being accountable to one another and to God.

There is plenty we can give up for Lent.

We can give up our fear of talking about money.
Healthy giving habits are a sign of spiritual discipline. We can focus our energies on budgets that reflect God’s values.

We can give up the notion that our building is the most important part of our faith. 
We can focus our energies on building up the Body of Christ instead.

We can give up the idea that 1975 (or even 2019) is coming back.
Covid did its damage and accelerated what many had been experiencing for years. But we can look towards God’s future with the confidence of faith.

I am about to do a new thing...
Isaiah 43:19

Rev. Tracy Keenan
Missional Presbyter
New Castle Presbytery

Hearty Homemade Corn Chowder

• 8 slices bacon, diced
• 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
• 1 medium yellow onion, diced
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 5 cups water (chicken broth or vegetable broth may be substituted)
• 8 ears yellow sweet corn (husks and silks removed)
• 1 lb. yukon gold or baby red potatoes , sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
• 1/4 tsp dried thyme
• 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
• salt and black pepper, to taste
• 1 cup half and half or heavy cream
• handful of chopped fresh chives


1. Slice corn kernels off the cob and set aside. Take each ear of corn and hold it over a bowl. Use ei- ther the back of your knife or a spoon and scrape any remaining pulp and juice from the cobs.
2. Cook bacon pieces in large heavy bottomed pot (like a dutch oven) over MED heat. Cook about 5- 8 minutes, or until bacon is crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
3. Use a clean paper towel to absorb some of the bacon grease, reserving about 1 Tbsp of grease in the pot. Add butter and melt over MED heat.
4. Add diced onions and cook about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add garlic and flour and cook about 1 minute, stirring often.
5. While whisking, pour in water and increase heat to MED-HIGH. Add in corn, potatoes, thyme, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper. Stir and bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to MED-LOW and simmer.
6. Simmer, stirring every so often, for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender.
7. Use an immersion blender to blend about half the soup until smooth. Alternatively, remove about 3 cups of the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Stir the blended soup back into the pot.
8. Add in half and half, reserved corn juice, and about half the chives. Stir in and heat through.
9. Serve sprinkled with remaining chives and cooked bacon pieces, if desired.

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