Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Good Friday, April 7, 2023 — Evening

By Ann Reego

O Sacred Head Now Wounded

Read: John 19:2

Imagine a hymn so powerful that it has been a favorite and beloved Passion Hymn for 900 years! That is the story behind O Sacred Head, Now Wounded. Written by Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), it was based on John 19:2. I fell in love with J.S. Bach’s harmonization in college when my first theory assignment was to copy it from the Episcopal hymnal. Later we sang it and studied the flow of each line and how it emphasized Christ’s death and anguish through dissonance and moving parts. This hymn makes me feel as if I am at the feet of the cross.


God, bring us to the cross this Lent with aching hearts and broken spirits so that when we awake on Easter Sunday, our hearts and healed and our spirits are lifted and ready to follow the risen Lord. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Good Friday, April 7, 2023 — Morning

By Suzanne Matheny

Seeing the Love in His Glance

Read: Psalm 22:1, Mark 15:34, Matthew 27:46

“‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’”

Read: John 14:20

“‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.’”

Sister Monica Joan, elderly nun/midwife, is a favorite character in the BBC series, Call the Midwife. She suffers from dementia and feels purposeless. Yet, she has moments of lucidity and wisdom, with surprising clarity of memory or piercing observations. Yet, a day comes when she has a crisis of faith, despite her decades of prayer and service. She is distraught, questioning God, feeling lost.*

Biblical stories attest to God’s people, even God’s son, were subjected to doubts or feeling forsaken. Is it possible that any person of finite mind has not felt this tension? Spanish mystic, St. John of the Cross, coined the term “dark night” of the soul. And, recently, we have learned that Mother Teresa, in the midst of having done so much good, struggled with her doubts. What are we to think? We are human. We are not exempt. The irony is that wrestling with this tension may deepen our faith.

Sister Monica Joan also dreams of a white stag that becomes her symbol of knowing God’s presence – the Divine blessing she needs. In later scenes, she does see that white stag and exclaims, “I knew him at once for the love in his glance.”** In those dark nights, when we yearn to know God’s presence, it may seem elusive; and we are left to exercise faith that Christ is, as he said, in us. We may also need to learn new ways of seeing so that at once, we know him for the love in his glances.***


Love Divine, pure unbounded love that You are, open our eyes that we may see anew your presence in us and catch new glances of Love You send our way, in whatever form they may come. Amen.

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*Call the Midwife, BBC drama, Season 10, Episode 1.

**Call the Midwife, BBC drama, Season 9, 2019 Holiday Special.

***Lloyd, Samuel T., III. Sermons from the National Cathedral: Soundings for the Journey, pg.43-47.

Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Maundy Thursday, April 6, 2023 — Evening

By Dan Kelley

Calling Me Home

Read: Joshua 24:15

“Choose ye this day whom ye will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

I was 10 years old when my family moved from Saint Louis to Northbrook Illinois, a suburb about 25 miles north of Chicago. At the time it was a village of about 9000 people. We lived on Ferndale, a two block long street nestled next to the Sommes Woods Forest Preserve. Many children of different ages, different nationalities, and ethnic backgrounds lived on our street. The one thing we had in common in the neighborhood was when Mrs. Johnson rang her bell, play time was over. We all came out of the woods, or off the ball fields, or out of the street and went home when the bell rang.

My mother had her own signal. It was her whistle. She would place her two pinkies in her mouth and blow. It did not matter whether her hands were dirty from working in the garden or they were covered in silk gloves with little pearl buttons. The sound was the same. It was not shrill and it was not real loud. It was a pure tone that went up half a step at the end. It was mom’s whistle and it always got my and my three brothers’ attention immediately. It said, “Come to me now”.

When I was in the Army at Ft Dix, New Jersey, I was in the Philadelphia Airport with about 10,000 other soldiers trying to get home for Christmas. Unbeknownst to me my mother had flown to Teaneck NJ to visit my brother and see her first granddaughter. She was in the airport also and spotted me out of all the other soldiers. She whistled. I immediately came to attention and started searching. I knew that sound. It could only be my mother’s whistle.

Years later I was in a hotel parking lot in Atlanta. My parents were in another hotel across a busy six lane highway when my mother saw me. She whistled. My dad told her that I could not hear her. But I immediately turned around and waved. Dad asked, ”How do you do that?” She said,”That’s my boy. He knows my whistle”.

We inevitably got teased by our friends for our rapid response to the whistle. They said we were trained like Pavlov’s dogs. We did not care. We knew whose call that was and we knew who’s we were. That call belonged to someone who loved and cared for us. Who only wanted the best for us. 

In this Easter season we need to re-examine who’s we are and who is calling us. The someone calling us, loves us and cares for us. And wants the very best for us. As John reminds us, “He goeth before them, and his sheep follow him: For they know his voice.” Are we answering his call like we know his voice?


Dear Good Shepherd, Silence in us any voices but your own so that we may hear your voice and go where you would lead us. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Maundy Thursday, April 6, 2023 — Morning

By Rev. Rick Isbell, Reprinted from the 2022 Lenten devotional 

Towel and Basin People

Read: John 13:3-5, 12-17

On Maundy Thursday evening one year in the church I served before coming to Church Street, we had a foot washing as part of the service. The clergy conducting the service invited members of the congregation to come down to the front pews, take off their shoes and the clergy members would wash their feet in basins provided. It was a very anxious time for clergy and congregation. Would anyone come down? What reactions would the clergy receive? It was as awkward for the congregation as it was for the disciples around the table that first night. After some anxious moments, about a dozen or more members came down and got their feet washed by the clergy.

When I left that church to come to Church Street, the staff gave me a handcrafted pitcher and basin which I placed on the window sill behind my desk for all 27 years at Church Street. It was a physical reminder of the Order of Deacon in which I was ordained and what all Christians are called to do. 

You and I are called to be towel and basin people. We are called to serve and not to be served. It’s easy to do the things which are easy and for which we receive praise and publicity. It’s harder to discipline ourselves “to get on our knees” and do the unpleasant tasks of Christian discipleship and servanthood. Jesus set an example for us by washing tired and dirty feet. Jesus calls us to do the same in one way or another.


O God, help me to follow the example of Jesus to serve others. Show me where and whom you want me to serve. May your Holy Spirit guide and strengthen me as I go with my towel and basin.

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Weekly Prayers for the Church Street Family

Week of April 5, 2023

Rev. Catherine Nance

O God who calls forth all springtime flowers, thank you for the beauty of this day. Sunshine. A breeze. Pinks, whites, yellows, pale purples are smiling from bushes and gardens. We want to stay outside and bask the beauty of your creation. 

You have called all things good; and yet, you have given us the freedom to choose whether to live into your Goodness or not. So, while we are capable of admiring beauty we are also capable of thinking and doing things that do not reflect beauty. Today, is Wednesday. If we follow the gospel writer Mark’s timeline, it is today that a frustrated Judas colluded with religious leaders to betray Jesus. We step away from his shadow and insist we would never do anything horrendous. Not I, Lord! 

As the gentle breeze blows and the sunlight touches our face, we feel the whisper of your grace and know that we need forgiveness. We have followed our own ways – for good reasons, we think. We have pushed aside or shoved ahead – all for a just cause, we think. We have betrayed loved ones who have hurt us — they deserve it, we think.  We have forgotten the needs of the poor and the voiceless – their time will come, we think. We have not supported causes in our community – my voice won’t matter, we think. 

Our names do not bear the weight of “Judas Iscariot,” but you know our names. You know our bent to selfishness, greed, and self-centeredness. You have promised us that in knowing our names, you call us by name, you love us, and offer us a place in your heart. 

Forgive us O God, for our betrayal of your love when we have not loved others. On this Wednesday, when the disciples ask, “Is it I, Lord?” may we hear the Savior’s voice say, “I have called you friend.” 

Thank you for your forgiving love, your restoring grace, and your renewing spirit. In a reconciled posture, we now pray and bow before you. We offer prayers of gratitude for our Savior Jesus Christ and his obedience to you; his Self-giving love. 

In humble gratitude, we offer these prayers of concern for our community and our world. For Nashville and all the family at the Covenant Christian School, for refugees in Ukraine, for those devastated by tornadoes in Mississippi, Arkansas, Illinois and other places …. Hear our prayers, O Lord.  

And now, we thank you for the opportunity to join in prayer for those in our church family who have asked for prayer…. 

We pray for …

  • A member having a heart cath this week; pray for peace and calm about the procedure
  • A family who buried their mother this week after a long and loving life
  • A member whose sister died and funeral is this week
  • A church member who is grieving the death of his wife
  • A member having surgery on Thursday
  • A member whose mother is nearing the end of her life; prayers for peace from Lewy-Body Dementia
  • The many in our congregation who have family members waiting on test results; some for cancer, some for other diagnoses. Prayers for clarity from doctors.
  • School teachers and administrators who have to plan for threats and prepare students for emergencies
  • A precious little boy born prematurely and in distress; grateful for miracles in NICU and for a loving family who surrounds the mother, father, and child.
  • State legislators to represent us well and be reasonable about gun violence
  • Teenagers and young adults dealing with depression

We give thanks for …

  • The peaceful transition from life to death to eternal life; thinking of dear friends and family members who are in Eternal Light.
  • School resource officers
  • A glorious Palm Sunday! Thankful for all those who work with children and youth choirs!
  • Our Altar Guild

We continue to pray for …

  • A young father receiving chemotherapy and his family
  • Those who are in rehab
  • Those who continue to grieve.
  • Those looking for a job.

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, April 5, 2023 — Evening

By Barry Christmas

No Greater Love

Read: John 15:13; John 13:34-35; Matt. 7:1-2 (NIV)

When I contemplate the degree of suffering and torture my Savior endured on the cross so that I might be cleansed of all sin and redeemed unto God, I fall to my knees in awe of His boundless love and mercy. The depth of His love for us challenges our human capacity to comprehend. He has taught us by example how to love one another unconditionally and has given us a New Commandment: We must love one another as He loves us. Notice, He did not say this as a suggestion, but as a directive; and He didn’t list any exceptions to this command. He loves everyone; and out of that love, He suffered and died for every human being, no exclusions. God created each of us with the capacity to love one another, with the same love He has for us, but we fail miserably. If only we would surrender our hearts to God and allow the Holy Spirit to work through us to pour out His love on everyone we meet, can you imagine what a different community we could be?

During this season of repentance and renewal, won’t you look up at the cross and consider taking all of your prejudices and judgmental thoughts and leaving these burdens at Jesus’ feet? As the Apostle Paul instructs us in Romans 12:2, instead of “conforming to this world,” let’s “renew our minds and be transformed” to loving all of God’s creation, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, political affiliation, social status, or crimes committed. In God’s eyes we are all the same: guilty of sin, with no right to judge one another. Let’s allow God to work a miracle in our hearts and in our lives, and leave the judging to Him. We may never experience the full potential of God’s love working through us, to bring others to Him, until we open our hearts and minds to His Great Love.


Dear Lord Jesus, I consider the tortures you endured on the cross and am reminded, there is no greater love than your love for me! Help me to overcome my prejudices and learn to love all of your creation, just as you love me regardless of all my faults. Thank you Lord for teaching me, by your example, the true meaning of unconditional love. Amen

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Wednesday, April 5, 2023 — Morning

By Rev. Rick Isbell

The Act of Giving

Read: Luke 21:1-4

On Sunday, January 15, during the singing of the first hymn at the 11 am service, she slipped quietly into the nave and sat down in the south transept. She was a woman of the community wearing a worn coat, a cap over her head, and carrying several large shopping bags in her hands. I don’t know her name nor did I think much of her attendance that morning. The nave was a warm and welcoming place on a cold winter morning. But this one woman exemplified the act of unselfish and humble giving in a most powerful way.

During the time in worship when the congregation shares its tithes and offerings, she showed what Jesus was talking about in the first few verses of Luke 21. While the offering plates were being passed and people were putting in their checks and cash, and as the choir shared the offertory anthem, this lady rose from her pew on the side transept and shared an amazing “sermon” on what Jesus had taught. She slowly and quietly came near the baptismal font and carefully placed two small wrapped bouquets of flowers on the table beside the baptismal font. Then she quietly went back to her pew. She gave what she had this one morning as an offering to God. As we sang the last hymn, she gathered her bags and quietly slipped out the door into the hallway.

I will probably never see her again, but what she did during worship on January 15 will remain with me forever. She showed me that all gifts given in the humble and sacrificial way she gave are sometimes more powerful than all the checks and $20 bills put in the offering plate. “He said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty…’” (Luke 21: 3-4 NRSV)


Oh dear God, help me to give so others might know of your love and grace. During this Lenten season, show me how and where I might give like this lady did. Amen.

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Sunday Schedule
Worship – 8:30AM & 11:00AM
Sunday school – 9:45-10:45AM
NightLife – 5:00-7:00PM ($5 dinner)

This week in Youth Ministry…

  • Senior Banquet – Thursday, April 27 @ 6:30
  • Final NightLife of the Year – Sunday, April 30 @ 5:00
  • Summer Earlybird Registration Due – Sunday, April 30

Senior Banquet

This Thursday night, join us in Parish Hall at 6:30 to celebrate the graduating class of 2023. Please register below by noon, April 26 if you plan to attend.

Senior Banquet Helpers

We need helpers to set-up, monitor food, and clean-up for the senior banquet. Please sign up below! Specific times are included on the registration form called “Banquet Helpers.”

Final NightLife

Our last regular NightLife of the year is this coming Sunday. That is BONKERS. Join us as we wrap up this school year and look toward the summer with hope and expectancy. Reminder: Sunday, May 7 is the choral evensong service and Sunday, May 21 is our end of the year party!

Summer Registration

We’ve extended the early bird discount for a few more days! Be sure to register by Sunday, April 30 for that rate.

Senior Banquet

Banquet Serving Sign-Up

Summer Registration

High School Prayer Breakfast

We only have one Prayer Breakfast left at each location this school year. We hope you’ll join us!

  • May 2, Panera Fountain City, 7:20 AM
  • May 9, Chick-fil-A West Hills, 7:20 AM

Parent Sign-Ups

Meal Sign-Ups: Each Sunday, we serve our students breakfast and lunch. We ask families to volunteer to help make these meals happen! The sign-ups are below. If every family signs up for one breakfast and one dinner each, we will have nearly every week covered!

Breakfast Sign-Up

Dinner Sign-Up

Have you viewed our page on Church Street’s website? Check it out!

Jenny Cross, Youth Director

Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Tuesday, April 4, 2023 – Morning

By Verna McLain

Who He Is

Read: Psalm 139:9

“If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me and your right hand will hold me.”

Albert Schweitzer, physician, theologian and musician, worked in a mission hospital in Africa from 1913 until the end of his life in 1965. He touched the lives of many. In his writing entitled: The Quest of the Historical Jesus, he wrote: “He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lakeside. He came to those men who knew him not. He speaks to us the same word: “Follow thou me!” And sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfill for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience “Who He Is.”

Several years ago, I visited the Holy Land with a Church Street group. We walked the “Way of the Cross” stopping at the spots where Jesus stopped as He was carrying his cross. The steps were steep in places and it was as though we were walking with Jesus carrying our own cares and burdens that were holding us down and making the way more difficult. I am reminded of an old hymn-“Must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free? No there is a cross for everyone and there is a cross for me.’’ Jesus died on that cross that he was carrying and set us free to serve Him and others. But first, we must let go of all the things that keep us from walking with Jesus – fears, anxieties, anger, hate, jealousy. Bring them to the cross and leave them and then walk away with renewed faith and hope.

So what task is Jesus setting you to follow after you leave your burdens and cares at the cross? Is He calling you to serve others? Is He asking you to teach a Sunday School class or serve on a committee? Is he asking you to run for public office. As Schweitzer said in his search for Jesus, Jesus will reveal himself in the toils, the conflicts and the sufferings. Are you willing?

Jesus said: “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Do we believe that? So what is our next step in our Quest to learn WHO HE IS?


Jesus, walk with me in my trials, in my troubles, in my sorrows and in my Joys. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Monday, April 3, 2023 – Evening

By Krystal Cranfield

Keep Trying

Read: Galatians 6:9

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” – Pablo Picasso

Since college, I’ve kept this quote as my laptop wallpaper. I’ve scribbled it on notes when struggling to meet a deadline, muttered it under my breath after I’ve worn down my eraser. The words belong to an artist who, prodigious work notwithstanding, should be no one’s role model. It’s a useful adage though, so I remember it.

This quote is better:

“Let’s not become discouraged in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not become weary.” – Galatians 6:9

I have never been especially talented, or at the top of my class. If they awarded blue ribbons yesterday for Most Compassionate or Least Selfish, I would have walked away empty-handed and regretful, but I keep trying. We have to do good things to lead us to the next good thing. An impactful spiritual walk begins with the acknowledgement of our fundamental shortcomings and the incredible gift of forgiveness; these are first steps we will tread many times over. The disciples lived this way, trusting that the path Jesus set before them was not purely for their own eternal benefit, but for the good of their communities and the generations that would follow.


Lord of all good things, thank you for this season of preparation and hope. Help us find rest when we grow weary, and sustain us for your work ahead. There is so much good to accomplish, we’ll keep trying.

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