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Monday, February 26

Lectionary Passages (NRSV)

Genesis 41:46-57 – Joseph in service to the Egyptian people
Psalms 119: 73-80; 145 – (76) “Let your constant love comfort me, as you have promised me, your servant” (145) “… answer me, Lord, and I will obey your commands.”
Psalms 121:6 – “The Lord will help and guard you.
Mark 3: 7-19a – Jesus heals the infirm; Jesus chooses the twelve to follow him and serve others
1 Corinthians 4: 8-21 – “Do you prefer the whip or love?” Paul asks the Church at Corinth


Woven through the lectionary passages for today’s Lenten Devotional are the threads of service and love. So tightly are they woven that they become, as they should, indistinguishable and inseparable.

Old Testament Joseph is an instrument of God’s love as he works from his position of power in the Egyptian King’s court to save the vulnerable from years of pestilence and hunger. Writers of the Psalms praise God for His help and protection, and in gratitude they commit themselves to obey his commands. The Apostle Mark relates how Jesus shows his love by healing the infirm, even when under threat of persecution. And in the first of his letters to the Church of Corinth, the Apostle Paul admonishes Christ’s followers to address the choice between the power of love and submission to the whip of oppressors, including the tyranny of their own vices and immorality.

The lectionary passages instruct us that loving is serving no matter how many or how few we reach. Whether it is Joseph acting to save tens of thousands of Egyptians from famine, or Jesus healing a handful of the infirm, or Paul guiding a few score of the faithful in Corinth, it’s not the numbers being served that counts but that love is reflected in servicing that matters.

Today’s lectionary passages are among many Biblical lessons about God’s freely-given love. The passages motivate us to share His love through sacrificial service, whether it is to a few or to many. So, today’s devotional question is simple: When will we have read enough of these biblical messages about sharing God’s love through service to act? After reading today’s lectionary passages, maybe now is the time to start or to recommit ourselves.


We thank you, Lord, for sharing your gift of love and for the healing power your love kindles in us. We confess to you, Lord, that we’ve been reluctant, even resistant, to share your love through the service we’re able and equipped to provide to others. Move us to commit ourselves to share your love through our service. This we pray. Amen.

Phil Church