Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Saturday, April 3, Morning

By Helen Smithson, April 14, 1979

Between Calvary and the Resurrection

Read Matthew 27:57-60

“And when it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man came to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given over to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled in a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away.”

Yesterday we thought of the darkness of Calvary – the jeering crowds, the taunts. Mary’s broken heart as she stood with John at the foot of the cross looking at the suffering of her Son, the desolate cry “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” The Lord’s triumphant “It is finished,” and then His last words, “Father, into Thy hands I commit my Spirit.” Now there is silence and a feeling of hopelessness. Yesterday was Calvary – tomorrow is glorious resurrection, but in between these two days there is gloom and despair. Many times this is where we find ourselves in life. We have experienced a great disappointment, a personal rejection, financial reverses, the sudden loss of a loved one, and we all become numb with unbelief at what has transpired. Here is where the Scriptures can hold us steady while our Lord puts together the broken pieces of our lives. He tells us that “… those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Isaiah 40: 31). As we wait on Him the glory of His resurrection breaks through, our hearts are comforted, and we move forward with greater strength than before. Truly, we serve a risen Saviour who comes into our lives when we allow Him to do so with the light we need for any darkness that comes to us.

Prayer

Eternal God, our Heavenly Father, as we travel the road of life, many times we find ourselves numb with grief or disappointment. Although we know that in You there is grace sufficient for every circumstance in life, sometimes there is a period of darkness and near despair, as there must have been the day after Calvary and the day before Easter, when we need You in a special way to calm our troubled hearts and to assure us that You are the Lord of our circumstances. Thank You at these times You are near and faithful, and thank you for the blessed way You take the pieces of our broken hearts, as we give them to You, and put them back together in such a way that they are even stronger than before. Thank You that You are the Risen Lord and to those who receive You, a personal Saviour. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Friday, April 1, Evening

By Esther W. Bare, March 12, 1976

When We Don’t Understand

Read Hebrews 4:14-15; 1 Corinthians 13:8-9

We Americans are a people who want to know. Indeed, the genius of Western man, some say, has been that he was determined to push the limits of his knowledge as far as he could and then put that knowledge into action. As individuals, we follow a somewhat similar path as we grow up: we try to understand ourselves, our families, other people, and the world beyond, and as Christians we try to relate our knowledge and understanding to God and his plan for us and for the world. Surely it is good to attempt this, for we remember that Jesus expanded the Great Commandment of the Old Testament – “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength” – to include loving God with all our minds.

But there is a point at which understanding ends. No matter how wonderfully satisfying our relationship with God may seem at times, sooner or later most of us are brought face to face with realities we cannot reconcile with our faith, situations that jar the foundations of our beliefs. And it is here that we may turn away and abandon our faith. Or we may look at Jesus on the cross.

Our hearts shrink from His suffering, yet we must hear the words: “My God, my God why has Thou forsaken me?” For his agony was not only of the body, it was the pain of despair, of non-understanding, of alienation from the Father to whom he had dedicated his life.

Christ on the cross gives us the answer, too; not so much an answer, though, as the way in which we may follow: “Into Thy hands I commend my spirit.”

Prayer

Help us to place our spirits into Thy hands, in times of joy and in times of despair. Save us from relying too much on knowledge and from making progress our god. Help us to realize our weaknesses, that we may seek Thy guidance always, in the name of Jesus who showed us the Way. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Friday, April 1, Morning

By Mrs. Laura White, March 17, 1978

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

“O Sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,

Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, thine only crown;

How pale thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!

How does that visage languish which once was bright as morn!

What thou, My Lord, hast suffered was all for sinners’ gain:

Mine, mine was the transgression, but thine the deadly pain;

Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ‘Tis I deserve thy place;

Look on me with thy favor, vouchsafe to me thy grace.

What language shall I borrow to thank thee, dearest Friend,

For this thy dying sorrow, thy pity without end?

O make me thine forever, and should I fainting be,

Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to thee.”

UMC Hymnal #286

One of the most beloved of all the Lenten hymns is “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded.” The language of the hymn is intensely personal, as each believer is invited to consider the suffering of Christ for mankind’s salvation. The pictorial details of the first stanza are very graphic, almost as if the viewing of a picture of Christ on the cross prompted the poet’s words. He sadly views the grieving figure and notices the crown of thorns, the pale countenance, and the mournful expression. In the second stanza the speaker addresses this dying Christ with the realization that the pain suffered by his Savior was patiently endured even though the transgression and sin belonged to another. The third stanza turns to a note of thanksgiving and dedication, as the poet purposes his own life and love to be directed to this One whose life was freely given that man might have an access to God each day and a hope of life with Him forever.

Prayer

O God, in this Lenten Season, may we also “see” our suffering Savior. May we realize that His victory over suffering has made it possible for us to experience His resurrection power in our lives today. As we receive greater insight into His suffering, may we see our sin and His provisions for salvation in the Cross.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Thursday, April 1, Evening

By Dorothy & Asa Bishop, February 21, 1980

Lent is a Time for Preparing for Living

Read Mark 14:32-42

“And they went to a place which was called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here, while I pray…Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak’…”.

Lent is that period of time set aside on the Christian calendar when we direct our thoughts toward the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. This is the high point of the Christian year, and a special emphasis is required to make the proper preparation for this rapturous occasion. Although we should make an emphasis each day of the year to use our daily devotional period to help us in deepening our personal commitment to the living Lord, we may sometimes neglect to carry out this daily time of preparation throughout the year.

Through the use of the Lenten booklets prepared by fellow Church Streeters, we began a daily family devotional period which now prevails in our home throughout the year. The special emphasis on preparation during Lent stimulated us to continue our family devotionals. In this time of sharing, praying, and Bible reading, we are made more aware of how God lives and speaks through each person in our family circle. As we prepare for Easter this year, we will be looking for some additional emphasis to assist us in our daily celebration that Jesus Christ lives within us and in the world which surrounds us.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, as we prepare our hearts and minds for the death and resurrection of Your son, Jesus Christ, help us to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Forgive us for the many times we deny Thee daily and give us courage and strength to live in accordance with Thy will. Amen.

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Sunday Morning Worship

Church Street is offering in-person worship experiences at 8:30 and 11:00 on Sunday mornings and online via YouTube at 11:00 each week.  We would love for you to join us!  If your family would like to attend in-person, please use the link below to register!
Confirmation Sunday
This Sunday, April 25 is Confirmation Sunday!  We are so excited to welcome our 6th and 7th graders into the congregation.  They have worked hard all year and have been committed to Zoom meetings on Sunday mornings.  They have partnered in mission with the Beacon on Hope to provide items for the Food Co-Op and have raised funds with Heifer International to provide animals to families in need around the world.  If you want to help us celebrate this special Sunday, join us at the 8:30 service to welcome them!

In-Person NightLife

NightLife is back!! We had such a special evening on Sunday night as we gathered together for the first time. We’ll be back again this Sunday at 5:00 in the gym! Here is everything you need to know:
  • Masks are required and social distancing must be observed
  • Bring your own Bible
  • Temperatures will be checked upon arrival
  • Enter through either the CLC Breezeway doors or the Youth Area doors
  • NightLife will be in the gym
  • We will sit (6 feet apart) with our small groups for the whole evening and we won’t go into small rooms
  • Pick up will be in the Youth Lot at 6:00
  • We will have office hours until 6:30
We are SO THRILLED to be together and to see your faces. If you’re not ready to join us for in-person activities yet, please log in to Zoom! We’ll have a small group there as well.
Senior Deadlines Extended
Our original deadline for our college applications was set for Sunday, March 28. But due to some technical issues we are extending the deadline until April 30! Please get those applications in before that date! Let Jenny know if you have any questions.
If you have not submitted your form for Senior Form, please do that ASAP to be included as we celebrate the class of 2021!
MAD in the City
Mark your calendars for one of our favorite events of the year – Making a Difference (MAD) in the City! We’ll be serving together in mission July 11-14.
This year, we will modify the event to allow for appropriate COVID-19 protocols, so we won’t be staying overnight at church. But it is still going to be a special week of service, worship, and fellowship. Stay tuned for more info!

One of our favorite things about the spring semester each year is celebrating our graduating seniors.  And this year, we’re a special Senior Spotlight series on our blog.  Our seniors answered interview questions earlier this spring and it has been so much fun learning their answers! Check back in each week to get to know our seniors better and help to cheer them on as they wrap up high school and prepare for their next steps!

Meet Anna Grace Cathey!

What high school are you graduating from?
Webb School of Knoxville
What are your plans for next year?
University of Tennessee Knoxville
What is your favorite bible verse?
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
If you could choose one meal to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Mac and cheese
If you could give some advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Stand up for your beliefs
What is your favorite Church Street memory?
Children’s worship with Miss Sue
What are you most excited about going into the next season of your life?
Going to college!

Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Thursday, April 1, Morning

By Mrs. Elizabeth Reagon, March 28, 2018

Do You Wait for an Answer?

Read John 18:38, 17:17 (KJV), Matthew 24:35, 7:7 (KJV)

Pontius Pilate’s life may have been dramatically changed had he waited for an answer. The crucifixion scriptures tell us, “Pilot saith unto him, What is truth?” But the Scriptures continue, “and when he said this, he went out . …”

Jesus answered this very question a few hours earlier. As He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane for his Disciples, he asked his Father, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy Word is truth.” The Word is also eternal in Matthew 24:35 when Jesus said, “… my word shall not pass away.”

Jesus told us in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it shall be given; seek and ye shall find …” But do we ask and fail to wait for an answer or do we ask as Pilate did and then move on? Perhaps more important, do we wait expectantly? Do we anticipate an answer?

Do we allow time to sit quietly and meditate on God and His Word and give God a chance to communicate to us? Wouldn’t we give a friend a chance to respond to an inquiry?

No answer, yet; perhaps God prefers to reply through his Holy Word.

Scripture speaks and can deliver definite messages when we are attuned.

Reverently peruse the Scriptures, read slowly, prayerfully, frequently, meditating on it and you will have answers and also a light to direct your life.

Prayer

Righteous God, sanctify us, enable us to love you and your Word more, in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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BINDING SOUL AND SOURCE

Prayers for the Church Street Family

March 31, 2021

Rev. Dr. Jan Buxton Wade

Under soggy skies we make our way homeward, thankful that a dry dwelling is waiting to welcome us in the evening hours. Shapeless clouds have lingered low throughout the day, providing none of the inspiration of the yellow sun.  Within the dullness, however, we have sensed your working on our behalf, Forever Friend, particularly in these instances: . . . . . . . . . .  And as you have been cleansing and revitalizing the earth with your spring droplets, you have been widening impassable avenues and opening doors shut tight. Praise be to you!

Suffering Servant, these final days of Lent are hardest for us, for as we draw closer to your suffering, we realize we need more Lenten time to conquer our own weakness. We still lack the courage to stand up to the naysayers; we fear our own rejection by the crowds; and, deep down, we know that we too are capable of deserting you in your final hours. In the end, though, we remember you did not forsake your fickle friends, but strengthened them and turned them into faithful disciples. By the immensity of your grace, transform us also into strong and useful vessels, we pray, pouring out courage and fortitude to all timorous ones, that together we might boldly proclaim you to the world as Redeemer and Savior.

As Mary stood weeping beside the empty tomb, you know all those whose tears still flow today.  Touch those everywhere, we pray, who are too traumatized to even utter your name. Steady those who are shaken by natural disasters and those whose dreams are shattered. You are in the business of making all things new, so implant your assurance in each hurting soul, we pray, that this Easter Season may be a time of rebirth for all. Have mercy, O Christ, upon all who are in need of your presence, especially your children at Church Street UMC:

  • Prayers appreciated: Hip replacement was successful
  • One grateful for visit with out-of-town daughter
  • Gratitude for a new housing arrangement
  • Family thankful for vaccine made possible by church
  • Thankful that initial visits with specialists in Nashville were promising
  • For a miracle to heal a painful leg ailment
  • Proper diagnosis for intestinal malady
  • Solace for families who mourn
  • Healing of violence in our communities
  • Healing for one suffering with fractured shoulder
  • Member in treatment for lymphoma
  • Courage and strength for friend with intestinal cancer
  • Guidance for one involved in a new course of study
  • Young family broken by alcoholism
  • Continued prayers for healing after eye surgery
  • Courage for one transitioning to new home
  • Continued healing for an alcoholic
  • Dear friend having medical tests

May your holy rest encompass us this night, and all whom we love, Dear Lord, for we turn over to you all our cares and anxieties. And somewhere in the shadowed hours, remind us that we still belong to you, no matter what we may have done or failed to do. In that assurance, we shall sleep soundly, praying as Christ himself taught us:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Wednesday, March 31, Morning

By Laura Still, April 20, 2019

Affirmation of Faith

Read John 13:1

“Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”

If you begin a sentence with who, what, where, or why, then the sentence should end in a question mark. We all learn that. During the season of Lent, there are many questions we ask. Why did Jesus have to die? Why did Jesus pray? Let this cup pass? What happened to Jesus’ body? Did Jesus always know he was going to be crucified? Why did Jesus cry out, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ These are questions asked in every Lenten study I have been a part of, and I have attempted to answer questions to the best of my ability in sermons and in lessons.

One of the first Lenten hymns I remember learning is “What Wondrous Love Is This” (#292 in the United Methodist Hymnal). It was just a decade or so ago that I paid attention to the missing question mark! The title is not a question but an exclamatory sentence! An affirmation.

What wondrous love is this!

This discovery coincided with my own spiritual growth and understanding. I had worked so hard to explain all the different atonement theories and make sense of the crucifixion. I wanted to be able to answer satisfactorily the questions people would ask in studies.

There is a freedom to accept God’s love and grace when we can exclaim, ‘What wondrous love is this!’ I encourage asking questions and I know full well that is an important and necessary part of our spiritual development. But, at some point, it became more important to me to be embraced by God’s love than being able to explain it.

What wondrous love is this!

Prayer

O God beyond all reason yet so accessible, we thank you that you love us and call us into a new understanding of life through your love. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Wednesday, March 31, Morning

By Laura Still, April 20, 2019

Among Us

Read John 1:14

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

I confess this is my favorite verse of the Gospel, but I am still finding out what it means. When I was young, I daydreamed about what it would be like to be one of the people who met Jesus during his three years of ministry on earth. Surely if I had actually seen him, in the flesh, all my questions and doubts would disappear and I would have become one of the disciples, leaving everything behind to follow him.

However, as a teenager and young adult, my certainty faded as all the complications of the living damaged my self-confidence, and failures ate away my faith. How could I follow Jesus in a world that pulled me apart? There was no sudden blinding light for me, but there were tiny flashes: kind words, laughter, the soaring trill of birds at the moment of twilight. Little sparks sent to remind me he did not leave us alone; he promised he would always be with us. In the gray winter days, the sun is hidden, but we can feel it above the clouds. Lent comes to remind us the Spirit is with us every day, still among us, still full of grace and truth.

Prayer

Dear Lord, give us eyes to see your light when it is hidden and hearts to feel your presence within us. Let us be led by your Holy Spirit in all we do.

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