New devotions are posted Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
On Wednesday, we gathered again for mid-week evening prayer and to listen to another saint and martyr of the church as together we considered the cost of discipleship. This week we encountered the profound reflections of Sister Teresa Benedicta. She was born Jewish but converted to Catholicism, eventually becoming a Carmelite nun. Her life as a devout Christian did not spare her from the horrors of the holocaust, and she was killed at Auschwitz in 1942.
In the poignant poem that Sister Theresa crafted on Good Friday in 1938, she unveils a truth that resonates deeply with our Lutheran understanding of discipleship—namely, the willingness to share in Christ’s suffering as a pathway to sharing in God’s promise. Sister Teresa beautifully depicts Mary’s faithful presence beneath the cross, illustrating her role as the “Mother of Sorrows.” Through her willing embrace of Calvary’s anguish, she secures anew the gift of life for every soul.
Similarly, Sister Teresa’s contemplation on the writings of John of the Cross sheds light on the gift of taking on the sins of others, emphasizing its profound connection to Christ. As Lutherans who treasure the connection we have to Jesus in our baptisms, we’re similarly united in such suffering when taken on for the sake of our neighbor. Thus, the “love of the cross” is not at odds with our identity as joyful children of God; rather, as Sister Theresa suggests, it fills us with a deep and pure joy as we partner with Jesus’ redemptive work.
This Lenten journey invites us to embrace the call to share in Christ’s suffering with hearts full of joy and gratitude. By bearing our own crosses with love, we participate authentically in God’s vision for the world. May God’s blessings accompany you abundantly as you walk this path of discipleship with courage and faith.
May God’s peace find you today. -Pastor Peter
Let us pray… God of love, we give thanks for the life and witness of Sister Theresa Benedicta. Grant us courage to embrace suffering joyfully, knowing it unites us with Jesus, fulfilling the promise of your vision for the world. Amen.
The gospel of Mark begins: “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Those who are closest to Jesus, the disciples, don’t seem to get it. Maybe we can identify with that.
The temptation to turn away from some of the heartbreaking images we see day after day is understandable. But God calls us to open our eyes not only to the beauty and goodness in the world, but to the pain and suffering, as well. Only when we are aware of our neighbor’s plight can we do whatever is in our power to help alleviate it.
This past Wednesday we began our Lent Wednesday worship series, “Considering the Cost.” Each week the writings of a contemporary saint and martyr of the church are being shared. To start things off, we reflected on a powerful message delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during a Lenten sermon. As we listened in, we were reminded of the profound truth that love transcends all boundaries and obstacles. In his stirring sermon, Dr. King illuminated the transformative power of love, urging us to embrace Jesus’ command to love our enemies.
The Bible is filled with characters, literally and figuratively. Perhaps the best way to describe how the Bible portrays its characters is “human” because they are, in fact, human. The Bible is true and the people that inhabit its pages were real people with real problems, just like us.