Daily Devotionals

The following “Daily Devotionals” are provided through the

United Church of Christ Website.

To read the full devotional, please click the Title of the devotional and you will be directed to the UCC website. We only keep the current month listed on this page.


The Hard Stuff

We’re not terribly interested in the hard stuff of life, are we? Fortunately, it is the nature of God to go straight into and through the hardest stuff, so we know we are not alone.


Everything Is Changing

The pandemic is revealing, once again, what really matters, and what the good gifts of life are that don’t arrive by two-day shipping.


Provoking Love

During this Lenten season, I commit to inserting joy and laughter into my daily fight for justice and peace. I commit to saying ‘thank you’ and ‘I’m sorry.’


Sometimes Too Much is Just Right

While Martha served dinner, Mary sat on the floor and poured fragrant perfume over Jesus’ feet. To some, her behavior seemed over-the-top. But sometimes too much is just right.


In This Economy?

There is enough wealth to care for the sick and the poor, the hospital and the small business, the grandparent and the grandchild. Not if we continue with business as usual.


The Last Duet

Grandma was the first person who taught me about the power of agape love, and I believe the legacy of her agape love and persistent joy is still saving my life every day.


Watered by Tears

God, you do not cause us to suffer. Instead, you take the suffering we are given and plant it in the soil of your transforming grace and mercy. May we rejoice in the harvest.


A Jar of Oil

Let’s not pretend with one another that loving God means you will never be broke. Because I’m not the only person of faith who ignores the 1-800 numbers of creditors calling.


In Every Respect

Being tested turned Jesus tender. As we struggle every day, driven by fears, distracted by shiny objects, overcrowded with longings, doing the best we can, Jesus sympathizes.


Thought, Word, and Deed

What thoughts floating around your head cause you to sink into a kind of low-grade, chronic hell? And keep you from being somewhat less than a living sacrifice to God?


The Parable of Dirty Underwear

It’s awkward to imagine the Holy One in underwear. But like tighty-whities, the Lenten journey is mostly a journey of subtraction, paring down, and clinging to nothing but God.


Grace Made Plain

I imagine God speaking plainly: ‘I could walk out right now and leave you cringing in your corner. But I am going to surprise you. I am going to give you another chance.’


Those Stones

Traveling light is a young person’s game. Everything seems disposable when you’ve got time to replace it.


Investigation Incomplete

Any evaluation of a person without regard for that person’s core values is incomplete. Incomplete assessments of who people are, beyond what they possess, leads us into battles.


Holy Venting

Honestly? Sometimes I wonder if the whole Lenten self-examination thing doesn’t spur us (read: me) toward endless naval gazing and even greater self-centeredness.


Cursing and Coaxing

Whatever it takes to wake me, Holy One, I will give you thanks. By coax or by curse, lead me once more to the trouble and beauty of being fully alive in your justice and joy.


The Burden of Hatred

Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. – Ephesians 4:26-27


Fearful Empathy

No matter how much you know, or how often you wash, don’t you feel foreboding? So summon empathy from that quavering place where we all feel afraid and just be kind.


My Soul Desire

Lent is about both emptying ourselves and offering ourselves as empty vessels. Lent is an opportunity to God to fill up our longing for love, justice, and shalom.


My Biggest Bucket

The divine presence with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, could have easily put the fire out, but instead, they walked in the fire with them. And that was enough to save them.


Chocolate and Other Habits

Two weeks into Lent, how are those Lenten practices you planned to observe faithfully? Still going strong? No shame if they’re not. But also, no kudos if they are.


Unfinished

Your belief that you’re supposed to accomplish it all—end racism, fix the environment, overcome all your issues, whatever—before you die? It’s not going to work out.


Intercessory Prayer and Boundaries

In intercessory prayer, we are placing those we care about in God’s hands—and relaxing our own grip.


‘Tis of Thee

Where is our citizenship? To whom do we pledge our first allegiance? What is the color, the face of liberty? Who gets to taste the sweetness of country?


Arrogance v. Confidence

Arrogance converts our fears to venomous hate. Confidence transforms our fears into audacious courage.


God’s Ostrich

How funny of God to create an ostrich with the ability to run like hell and the tendency to bury its head in the sand. Probably we have all tried these two solutions to problems.


For God So Loved the Cosmos

The cosmos is not separate from you or outside of you. You are it. You are God’s love. That’s what Jesus came to reveal, then and now.


Always Contrite

It’d be a good thing to adopt contrition as a way of life, not just an occasional response to a particular sin. The best heart to have would be an always contrite heart.


Burning Like a Fire

Not all anger is poison. Anger can be holy fuel to right the world’s wrongs. But I can’t fool myself: not all my anger is holy. A lot of my anger is poison.


Perfected Distraction

Perfectionism may leave us paralyzed, afraid to do anything for fear of getting it wrong. My tangle with this word, perfected, distracts me from the truth: God is love.


Foreigners Included

There is no valid appreciation of what God has given us, without the inclusion of foreigners: those who are in our neighborhoods and those who are at our borders.


The Burden of Money

Money is a deeply spiritual issue because it has tremendous power over our psyches and well-being. Fear and shame about money do the work of evil just as much as our love of it.


When the Devil Quotes Scripture

Before you tell your sibling that God has a purpose for their suffering, maybe check whether your faith is unnecessarily saddled with the baggage of Scripture-as-litmus-test.


Wings

How much room is there under a God-wing? Enough for me and you, says the psalmist. I guess that’s also nice, but then I’m like, wait, does that mean everybody gets to come in?


Mic Drop

Walk a little longer. Listen a little more intently. Pray a whole lot more. Open your heart just a bit wider and watch what the gracious, merciful, slow-to-anger God can do.


Sorry

Dear God, as we prepare to enter Lent, remind us that bearing the sign of the cross on our forehead is not enough. Guide us toward true acknowledgment and sincere amends.


Meetings

My hunch is that our many meetings might be redeemed, or at least different, if we entertained the notion that our main reason for meeting together is to encounter God.


Blackness

We do not blame the night sky for being night. We rest in it. And that Blackness is beautiful.


Questions that Begin with How

As children of God, we have the opportunity to ask different questions than the rest of the world asks. Questions that help us truly meet one another on holy, even ground.


Beating Up Brother

It’s hard to be obedient to your parent when you’re bent on bashing your brother.


Sketch

Next time you get to church early or the sermon gets boring, look around. Ask yourself: which parts of this building look like heaven? Conversely, which ones fall short?


Still, Though

“I’m looking for a sign,” said my friend.


Somebody’s Watching You

It’s easy to get so consumed in a crisis that you think the crisis is all about you. It’s easy to forget that even in times of stress, our lives are testimonies of the Holy Spirit.


Wait for Each Other

At the world’s table, the wealthy, the privileged, and the strong devour everyone’s share of life. At the Lord’s table, mutual deference is the sacrament’s outward sign.


Trying to Get There

O God, get us to the heavenly feast. And when we arrive, may we meet one stranger after another who welcomes us, as though we truly belonged.


Keeping up with the Phoneses

Cultural messages that I thought were harmless growing up, I now realize were problematic all along. Blessed are those who manage to get it all right! I am working to do better.


Dear John

I love you. There. I said it first. I hope—though the world keeps breaking your heart—that you take it as a sign your heart is actually working as it was intended.


Resistance Training

Everywhere we turn, we are offered opportunities for resistance training. The path of least resistance is also the path of least growth.


Get Angry

Don’t feel like you have to be nice all the time. Don’t feel like you always have to accommodate and compromise and stir in honey. Go ahead, release your inner table-over-turner.


Gobsmacked and Gorgeous

Just when I am tempted to give up on the entire human enterprise, I am gobsmacked all over again by the utterly spectacular resilience of the human-divine spirit.


God Is Not Worried

We tend to project our anxiety onto the Creator. We imagine God’s hands wringing with concern, pondering the next move. Nope. God’s at peace. And God wants the same for us.


Chiasmus

How wondrous to rediscover the language and literary style of Jesus, whose words are forever unveiling themselves in new and ancient forms.


Bent, Not Broken

We’re quick to declare things as broken and ready to discard. The intensity of life’s stressors can diminish our capacity to see God’s unfolding grace within us and around us.


Rising in the Darkness

You don’t have to be a literal morning person to rise in the darkness and cast some light of faith and warmth for the rest of us.


Trial and Error

What has God’s faithfulness done to us, that we reject humility? How has God’s love wearied us, that we neglect mercy? How do we answer for our persistent injustice?


Inoculate Me

Parents sometimes sacrifice children on the altars of our careers. Government sacrifices children on the altar of defense spending. God rejects child sacrifice—Abraham’s and ours.


Needy Jesus

Nobody preaches about Jesus belching. Which is a shame, and maybe a heresy in this world where getting your bodily needs fully met is a privilege reserved for the few.


Love’s Emancipation

Change that is deep and abiding requires a change of heart, and a change of heart is precisely what the love of God is all about.


Unmoved

There are no perfect people, only people who pretend they are. Perfection as a requirement for access to God leads to pinched lips, ruler smacks, and bonfires.


God’s Gentle Partners

Viewing the planet as personal property to be divvied up among the worthy runs counter to the ‘earth-honoring faith’ that we need in our environmentally perilous time.


God-Watching

Just for today, become a God-watcher. Stop frequently in your travels from here to there. Lift up your heart, put your senses on alert, filter through the ordinary for the extraordinary.


Good Meetings

What might make us not give up meeting together? If we don’t learn how to self-govern ourselves in meetings, what will happen to self-governance and democracy?


What Kind of World Did You Wake Up In?

More than fear, more than anger, more than hope, more than anything, what I feel is an eerie sense of coming doom. Yet I remain confident that the promises of God are true.


Can’t Say Nothin’?

The police found a way to make my daughter pay for attempting to have agency and use her voice. But God does not require us to remain silent in the face of injustice.


God’s Preferred Material

Remember choosing teams for this or that, and dreading being chosen last? Last is God’s preferred candidate. The unlikely is God’s idea of a good time.


Can You Keep a Secret?

Secrets are destructive. To families. To congregations. To bodies. They divide us. They drive us to avoid each other. They make understanding impossible.


Organists and Sinners

Jesus caught a lot of criticism from the religious leaders about the company he kept. Those leaders ended up sounding pretty unkind, and a little too sure they were in the right.


A House, A Temple, A Tent, A Shelter

It’s a temptation to believe we will find God only if we build the perfect structure and light the candles lit correctly. But God is ready to live with you wherever you are.


Turn, Turn, Turn

The ancestors are whispering, and just like the breeze they’re about to shout. Turn. Chant a different tune, set a new pace, call forth a shifted order that says: you matter.


Listen Up

What did Isaiah say in troubled times? In a word: reconnect with the One who was both the first and the last, who had laid the foundation of the earth and heavens.


The Finger and The Moon

The Bible that points to God is not God. The theology that points to God is not God. The church that points to God is not God. The pastor who points to God is not God.


On Not Knowing

To be faced with something we don’t know can feel quite shameful. For a lot of us, especially in some circles, not knowing can feel like a crime. Rather than risk it, we nod knowingly.


A Better Me

I get defensive more than I’d like to admit. I look at my flaws and can’t imagine someone would love me. But people who love me don’t shield me from the ways I need to evolve.


Good Morning

Joy comes when we understand that desperate times cannot prevent the fulfillment of God’s promise in our lives. Even in the night, God is moving us toward better days.


Hand and Foot

Be grateful if you’ve been on the receiving end of selflessness, but don’t regard the service of others as their duty and your right.


Welcoming Questions

Things seem so hard right now. Disturbance drives us deep, below the rocks, into our cores. We can welcome disturbance as something pregnant with good.


Bruised, Broken, Smoldering, Snuffed Out

Headlines full of over-the-top violent imagery agitate our inflamed emotions and rub the raw places in our spirits. Be mindful of where they lead, and remember Who you follow.


Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

We sometimes live in a full-sun spirituality that can make our eyes ache. We need the respite of night, the salvific hibernation of a rainy winter day, the relief of tears.


Password Power

Blessed, indeed, are the people who’ve wised up to only having to know one password. That one password relieves the pressure of thinking they can do it on their own.


Watch Your Mouth

I’m not too worried about the kind of bad words my child knows. What I want her to learn is the power of words to build up a person—and the power of words to tear down.


Even Spots Can Be Changed

A leopard can’t change its spots, some say. But humans are not leopards, and hearts are not spots. We all lose when we refuse to acknowledge the holy transformation of others.


Apocalypse Not Now

There is a sense that time is winding up; it’s certain we can’t go on long this way. Paul’s words send me out to live in such a way that all creation will have a few more laps to run.


Skate Expectations

I love ice skating, by which I mean, I love watching other people ice skate on a screen from my couch. So much of what people do in life is much harder than it looks.


Gifts Given

That new, shiny thing? We can delight in it for a time, but it will lose its luster. And then we look for the next hit. God calls us to shape our lives around greater gifts.


Far More

Maybe you have a set of New Year’s resolutions that are beginning to seem more a burden than a blessing. Here’s good news. It’s not all on you, not all up to you. God is able.


Gifts Given

That new, shiny thing? We can delight in it for a time, but it will lose its luster. And then we look for the next hit. God calls us to shape our lives around greater gifts.


Epiphany

The answer is in the sky, not in more effort or more determination or more willpower. Look up, not around. Look deep, not shallow. Look long, not short. Signs are calling your name.


Worthy Is the Leader

The rule of law is not oppressive if that rule is grounded in God’s love for all: advocating for the poor, supporting the weak, taking a stand against destructive violence.


Merry Christmas!

I hope your eggnog hasn’t soured, that you haven’t recycled the tree and moved on to other things. I hope you’re still in Christmas. I hope Christmas is still in you.


From the Farthest Parts of the Earth

Our church is filled at this time of year with processionals of children as angels, shepherds, and magi. The world, too, is full of processions as refugees seek new life and hope.


Eight Days In

A little more than a week after Jesus’ birth, Mary is starting to realize how much work this is really going to take. Are you?


In the Beginning

Our big days and calendars are really of little importance to the God who created us. God existed before time itself, and God is consistently present in every day.