Fourth Sunday in Lent- Week of March 14, 2021
Begin your devotion time by praying this prayer: Dear God, you sent Jesus to be a light to the world and show us how to love. Help us turn our lives toward Jesus and share the light of the world with others.
Reflect on the Way of Love together: This week’s practice on the Way of Love is TURN. Read John 3:16. How does this verse help you turn toward following Jesus?
Adult and Small Child
Read: John 3:14-21
Reflect: Do you ever feel afraid of the dark? Do you like to have a nightlight when you are in a dark room at nighttime? Almost no one I know likes walking into a dark place. We all want to be able to bring a flashlight with us to see.
Jesus tells us that the “light” has come into the world. Jesus reminds us that God loves the world so very, very much and wanted the world to have a special kind of flashlight for when things feel dark. God wants what is best for the world, and God sent God’s beloved child, Jesus, to be our flashlight in the world and to help show us the way.
The season of Lent is a very good time to pause and think about the places in our lives that feel “dark” – these might be times that feel scary or uncertain or when there is not enough love. Then we can think about the light. We can think about Jesus and how Jesus shows us the way to love. Jesus’ love will shine a light that we can follow to bring love to ourselves and to others.
Respond: Decorate a light switch cover in your home to remind you that God loves the world so much that God gave us Jesus to help show us the way to love. You can use stickers directly on the light switch, or have an adult help take the cover off and use paint or permanent markers to decorate the light switch. You can write words from the Gospel reading or draw a picture of Jesus, of light, of a cross or anything the reminds you of God’s love. Every time you turn on the light, you can think of how you can learn more about God’s love and turn on your own light to follow Jesus.
- Katy Denning
Adult and Elementary
Read: John 3:14-21
Reflect: Watching the New York Mets play was like a rite of passage for me while growing up in Brooklyn, NY. There were a few times when my uncle Danny took me to She's Stadium. Sometimes I was reluctant to go, but I always had fun because my cousins came along, too. Are there any activities or events that multiple members of your family participate in together?
I'd like for us to take a really good look at verse 16. John 3:16 was the first Scripture that I memorized as a child. During Mets games, I noticed the banners that hung on the stands, advertising different businesses. The banner with the words from John 3:16 stood out amongst all these others! It was important for baseball fans to know about God's love. God's love makes us want to turn towards God and show love to others.
Respond: Using three index cards, make a cartoon strip of God's love. On the first card, draw what comes to mind when you think of God. On the second card, draw what comes to your mind when you think of love. On the third card, you can draw a globe or a picture of the world. Share your cartoon strip with your friends, see if they can understand the meaning of the cartoon without you explaining.
- Imani Driskell
Adult and Youth
Read: John 3:14-21
Reflect: The verses today follow a question brought to Jesus from Nicodemus, a Jewish leader. Nicodemus doesn’t understand what Jesus means when he says we must be born again in order to see the Kingdom of God. To be born again, Jesus explains, happens when we see the world as God sees the world. We are born again when we love the world as God loves the world. The Kingdom of God is the Kingdom where love trumps everything else, including judgment. And God came for the whole world. Read that again—the. Whole. World.
These verses sound wonderful when we apply them to our own lives and to the lives of those we love. God loves us unconditionally, how awesome is that? But what about in the lives of others—the others we aren’t particularly fond of, others who aren’t kind to us, others who hurt us and those we love? How, we ask ourselves, can God love them when they’re so awful?
Respond: It is hard to see and respond to the world the way God does. We must turn our way of thinking—readjust the way we think. For the next week (or even the next month) think of someone you have a hard time loving and/or you have a hard time understanding how God loves that person. Every time you see or think about that person whisper to yourself, “God loves _____ as much as God loves me.” Over time, notice how you begin to change the way you see the person. Notice how you begin to see others in the world. Is there a difference? Are you seeing through God’s eyes?
- Katherine Doyle
Adult and Adults
Read: John 3:14-21
Reflect: “For God so loved the world....” is a welcome comfort to many and so eternal that it pops up in unlikely places quite frequently. And yet, I find this passage amongst the entire reading something of a call to arms and an invitation to turn where we are into who we are called to be; into what we can become. Verse 19 reminds us of the light that has come into the world and the preference of some for darkness. So, the question might be whether we are leaning toward the light or the darkness, but I’d go further and ask whether we can turn from wherever we are to the light--the brightest light we’ll ever know. Our journey of faith in the world demands to know whether we are willing to turn that light on for others. “For God so loved the world...” Amen.
Respond: Find a place that needs light and offer yourself. Wow, what an ask! On this very subject a friend once told me, “Mallard, you’ll talk to anyone, I’m just not like that.” As we explored further, we considered ways that a shyer person might be the light to others and we eventually came up with quite a few. We thought about how we live, how we talk, even how we eat could offer a light to others. What we write, post and repeat is another. Showing in our workplaces and places of faith what inclusion really means and standing for it. Modeling behaviors that reveal the light when we’re in places of conflict. Offering ourselves when the question is, “Who will go?”
- Mallard Benton