Monthly Archives: March2019

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Grow

Grow - Lent Devotional @ Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

Luke 13:18-19

He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”

If you are taking part in the Lent goal to read all of Luke, between now and Sunday, read Luke 12-14.

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Just think how much information and direction is stored in a seed, even one as tiny as a mustard seed. Inside that little ball are all the ‘instructions’ needed for the plant to develop and grow and flourish – it is a miracle waiting to happen. And yet, just looking at the seed without thinking of the tree it can become, it would be easy to underestimate this. Untended, it could fall through a crack, get swept aside, or be trodden underfoot. And not just seeds: this is our human condition. God has given us so much potential for love and growth, put so much inside us to develop and flourish, and yet too often we view ourselves as small and insignificant – we put ourselves down and limit our possibilities. God calls us to remember the miracle that is within us and the ‘tree’ that we can each become; to allow ourselves to grow in his love, and to anticipate the love and comfort that our ‘branches’ can bring.


Nurturing God, awaken within us the awareness of Your loving purpose for each one of us. Guide us in the direction You would have us take, planting Your word as the basis of our lives. Inspire us to grow in Your love and to share Your love that we may reach up and out into the world, giving life and encouragement for others. Amen.


Thank you for joining us on this prayerful
journey of reflection through Lent.

Lent Devotional Home

Focus

Focus - Lent Devotional @ Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

Luke 10: 41-42

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

If you are taking part in the Lent goal to read all of Luke, between now and Sunday, read Luke 9-11.

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Apparently we’re losing the ability to focus. The multitude of alerts and notifications that bombard us in today’s world are blamed for eroding our ability to concentrate. There’s no doubt that we live in a distracted and distracting world, but today’s reading reminds us that this isn’t necessarily a new problem. As we see in Jesus’ response to Martha, our environment has always been able to create anxiety and distraction. There will always be something else to do and another demand on our time. The challenge now, as it was then, is how we respond to it. Can we, as Mary did, put aside our worries and concerns and open our minds to Jesus’ teaching? Can we be still in one moment and open our hearts to the message God has for us?


Calming God, still our minds and open our hearts to hear Your word for us. Slow down the worries that race through our thoughts. Create peace in their place, that we can hear Your voice. Help us recognize Your truth – that You are the only thing we need, and in You we can find comfort, always assured of Your eternal love. Amen.


Thank you for joining us on this prayerful
journey of reflection through Lent.

Lent Devotional Home

Endure

Endure - Lent Devotional @ Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

Luke 8:15

But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.

If you are taking part in the Lent goal to read all of Luke, between now and Sunday, read Luke 7-8.

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Holding fast. Patience. Endurance. The words in this reading are ones of positive determination. They acknowledge challenging circumstances, but call us to commit with energy and tenacity to our faith. In the full parable that our verse today comes from, Jesus is clear about the difficulty of maintaining and growing our faith in the world. Hearing the word and then following Jesus’ teaching isn’t always easy or popular, and frequently confronts what our wider society deems valuable or desirable. But we are called to hold fast. When the world tempts us with self-focused beliefs, we are called to love our neighbour. When the world entices us, offering status or wealth or popularity, we are called to affirm that the first shall be last. There are no quick fixes on this path, but God promises to sustain us, that we may live in patient endurance, inspired to bear the abundant fruit of a life following Jesus.


Sustaining God, You know the difficulties in our world and see the challenges we face. Help us to grow our faith in the midst of a society that rejects and scorns You. Support us to hold fast to Your word, when those around us may persuade us to take an easier path. Nurture in us the patience and endurance needed to stay true to Your teaching. Amen.
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Thank you for joining us on this prayerful
journey of reflection through Lent.

Lent Devotional Home

Healing

Healing - Lent Devotional @ Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

Luke 5:31-3

Jesus answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

If you are taking part in the Lent goal to read all of Luke, between now and Sunday, read from Luke 4-6

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As Jesus begins his ministry on earth, one theme is abundantly clear. Jesus has come to heal and restore us. His focus from the very beginning is on those that society rejects and excludes; those needing comfort and forgiveness, or craving reassurance and peace. That’s likely all of us, and we can find comfort and peace in the inclusive nature of Jesus’ love. From an ailing widow to a high-ranking government official, Jesus made no distinction in how he responded to those who sought his help. He recognized their need, acknowledged their pain, and made them well. In the same way for us today, Jesus recognizes our needs and sees where we fall short. He participates in our pain and understands our worries, and he is there to console and heal our troubled hearts. We are each one of us embraced by his loving care


Compassionate God, You reach out to us and offer Your healing embrace; a love that puts up no barriers, but rather seeks out our pain and shortcomings and offers us peace. In You, we are always welcome and accepted, always forgiven and renewed. Thank You for Your comfort and reassurance, that we are always loved and You are there for us eternally. Amen.


Thank you for joining us on this prayerful
journey of reflection through Lent.

Lent Devotional Home

Beloved

Peace- Lent Devotional @ Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

Welcome to the 2019 Walton Lent Devotional. Each week throughout Lent, and then each day during Holy Week, you’ll receive a short email with a Bible reading, reflection and prayer.

In the Advent Devotional last year, we explored the story of the birth of Jesus, as told in the Gospel of Luke, and so for Lent we’re continuing to look at Luke and reading his account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. If you’re looking for something to ‘take up’ (rather than ‘give up’) for Lent, why not also set yourself the goal of reading all of Luke? To help with this in each email, as well as the reading for the reflection, you’ll also find a link to read 2-3 chapters of Luke every week (less for each day in Holy Week). 

The beginning of Jesus’ ministry is marked by a powerful endorsement – the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus and a voice from Heaven acknowledges Jesus as God’s Son. In reading this, we have the opportunity to also acknowledge Jesus in our lives and proclaim our faith. Perhaps even adapt the words of Luke and affirm: “Jesus, You are my Saviour, my Beloved.” As we turn our lives towards Jesus in this way, we can gratefully recognize that his life – the episodes and events we will read about over the coming weeks – had one core purpose: to make us whole with God. To make us whole with God in this life, by healing us and showing us how to live; and to make us whole with God after death, by canceling out our human failings, so that only our love for God remains. Because in God’s eyes we are, each one of us, beloved children of God.


Beloved God, thank You for loving us, despite all our flaws and shortcomings. Thank You for looking past our anger and selfishness and fear, and seeing only love. Send us Your Holy Spirit that we might turn closer to You and closer to the life You would have us lead. Sustain and guide us, as You guided Your Son Jesus Christ, that we might follow his teaching in our world today. Amen


Luke 3:22

And the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

If you are taking part in the Lent goal to read all of Luke, between now and Sunday, read from Luke 2:41 through to the end of Luke 3


Thank you for joining us on this prayerful
journey of reflection through Lent.