Lenten devotional: Under the Sign of Thomas

Under the Sign of Thomas

Under the sign of Thomas

we live—we doubters—

we wonderers—we wanderers—

scrupulously suspicious

of human and inhuman

dogmatisms,

unfootnoted creeds, 

and facile suppositions.

We must put

our heads as well as our fingers

at the point where facts

puncture the flesh

and measure how far

love can unsafely go.


From “Invisible Harvest,” by the Reverend Thomas John Carlisle, 1987


Grace Congregational Church members and friends have contributed to this year’s Lenten devotionals. This year’s Lenten theme is “Good enough: Embracing the imperfections of life and faith.” Today’s devotional was offered by Ellen Green who knew the author.

Lenten devotional: When you have more

Artwork by Jen Bloomer

Acts 4: 32-35

32 The group of believers were united in their hearts and spirit. All those in the group acted as though their private property belonged to everyone in the group. In fact, they shared everything. 33 With great power the apostles were telling people that the Lord Jesus was truly raised from the dead. And God blessed all the believers very much. 34 There were no needy people among them. From time to time those who owned fields or houses sold them, brought the money, 35 and gave it to the apostles. Then the money was given to anyone who needed it.

Let us pray:

Oh God of Creation
and Bounty and all that is Good, 
Give us a vision 
To build community
To share what we have 
To emulate 
The vision of the first Church.
Amen


Grace Congregational Church members and friends have contributed to this year’s Lenten devotionals. This year’s Lenten theme is “Good enough: Embracing the imperfections of life and faith.” Today’s devotional was contributed by Ellen Green.

Lenten devotional: Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer from the Aramaic

O cosmic Birther of all radiance and vibration.
Soften the ground of our being and carve out a space within us where your Presence can abide.
Fill us with your creativity so that we may be empowered to bear the fruit of your mission.
Let each of our actions bear fruit in accordance with our desire,
endow us with the wisdom to produce and share what each being
needs to grow and flourish.
Untie the tangled threads of destiny that bind us, as we release others from the entanglement of past mistakes.
Do not let us be seduced by that which would divert us from our true purpose,
but illuminate the opportunities of the present moment.
For you are the ground and the fruitful vision, the birth, power and fulfillment,
as all is gathered and made whole once again.


Some early Christian groups sought to maintain Aramaic, the language of Jesus. As early as Constantine, translations of the Lord’s Prayer and other scripture appeared.


Grace Congregational Church members and friends have contributed to this year’s Lenten devotionals. This year’s Lenten theme is “Good enough: Embracing the imperfections of life and faith.” Today’s devotional was contributed by Ellen Green.

Lenten devotional: Perfect gifts

I have witnessed performances that reached perfection, though never reached perfection myself.  We have probably all watched Olympic performances where straight 10’s were correctly awarded.  I once saw the judges in a Barbershop competition sit back and put down their pens to soak in just such a performance.

Google: “Ringmasters—Notre Dame” if you wish to witness perfection.  I guarantee goosebumps!

While very few humans rise to this skill level within their chosen field, each of us has gifts we can share that make us good enough for God’s love.  Thank God for your gifts and for your opportunities to share them.


Grace Congregational Church members and friends have contributed to this year’s Lenten devotionals. This year’s Lenten theme is “Good enough: Embracing the imperfections of life and faith.” Today’s devotional was contributed by Russ Green.

Lenten devotional: Let us be grateful…

“Let us be grateful for people who make us happy.    

     They are the charming gardeners

       Who make our souls blossom.”

– Marcel Proust 


Grace Congregational Church members and friends have contributed to this year’s Lenten devotionals. This year’s Lenten theme is “Good enough: Embracing the imperfections of life and faith.” Today’s devotional was contributed by Barbara Densmore.

Lenten devotional: ‘Simple Gifts’

A field of yellow flowers

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Simple Gifts (A Shaker hymn)

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ‘tis a gift to be free.

‘Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be.

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,

To bow and to bend we shall not be ashamed.

To turn, turn ‘twill be our delight

‘Til in turning, turning we come ‘round right.


Grace Congregational Church members and friends have contributed to this year’s Lenten devotionals. This year’s Lenten theme is “Good enough: Embracing the imperfections of life and faith.” Today’s devotional was contributed by Russ Green.

Lenten devotional: Perfect – Good Enough

The season of Lent in some traditions means giving up something we enjoy, such as chocolate and other sweets or an activity that doesn’t seem to be edifying or helpful to others.  Lent can also be the past tense of loaned and can cover any season in one’s life.

The motto: “Living to give and giving to live” can mean giving up, giving in and giving to.

When a friend of mine was struggling with a knee injury, I loaned her a piece of equipment my husband had used daily until his death.  After her knee was healed, I inquired about the item, and she said she had given it to a friend, not realizing I had expected it to be returned.  I smiled and said: “OK .”

Giving up, in and to wasn’t perfect but good enough to maintain a loving relationship with my friend!


Grace Congregational Church members and friends have contributed to this year’s Lenten devotionals. This year’s Lenten theme is “Good enough: Embracing the imperfections of life and faith.” Today’s devotional was contributed by Jane Hanley.

Lenten devotional: Meditation based on the Beatitudes

Meditation Based on the Beatitudes

People who do not hold tightly to things are happy

Because all of God’s kingdom is theirs.

People who are gentle with the earth 

Will see it blossom forever.

People who can cry for all the world’s suffering

Will live to see happiness.

People who hunger and thirst for what is right

Will finally have their fill.

People who really care 

Will find love wherever they go.

People who don’t let the world get them down 

Will see God.

People who make peace happen

Are God’s children.

People who give up their own comfort so that others can be helped

Know what heaven is all about.

LORD, LET US BE LIKE THESE!


From THE EMPTY PLACE, copyright 1976, by Franciscan Communications Center. Used by permission.


Grace Congregational Church members and friends have contributed to this year’s Lenten devotionals. This year’s Lenten theme is “Good enough: Embracing the imperfections of life and faith.” Today’s devotional was contributed by Ellen Green.

Lenten devotional: The Calling of Isaiah

The Calling of Isaiah – Isaiah 6:1-8

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”

4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook, and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Grace Congregational Church members and friends have contributed to this year’s Lenten devotionals. This year’s Lenten theme is “Good enough: Embracing the imperfections of life and faith.” Today’s devotional was contributed by Ellen Green.