Lenten Devotions Archives » Page 8 of 22 | Devotions | Goshen College

February 13, 2013

By Bob Yoder, campus pastor

Welcome to Goshen College’s on-line devotionals for the 2013 Lenten season! Our theme this year, taken from the Mennonite Church USA worship resources found in Leader magazine, is “Ashamed No More”; the four paragraphs below represent a brief summary of the writing team’s introduction to this year’s theme. Every Monday an author will introduce the sub-theme, whereas the following weekdays authors will reflect on a specific Scripture passage. The theme for this week, Lent 1, is “God Will Show Us Salvation.”


The biblical stories emerge from Eastern cultures where honor and shame are important — to a degree Westerners might have trouble understanding. Personal, family, community and national honor are of paramount concern. To be shamed, to be recognized as less than the image one has carefully crafted to bestow honor to one’s family and community, destroys people psychologically and spiritually. Therefore in this context, one may go to extreme lengths, such as lashing out violently against the instrument of shame, to restore one’s honor.

Western cultures base their biblical understanding of salvation mainly on judgment and guilt. For example, salvation is about having guilt removed through Jesus who died on the cross, thus restoring our relationship to God. Jesus takes away our guilt, freeing us of the effects of sin. However, honor and shame thinking is also part of a Western approach. For instance, we worry what people will think if they find out about a marital divorce in our stable family and wonder “How will it reflect on us if the world finds out?”

We need salvation from the disgrace we suffer and need to have our honor restored. Which is the better motivator to change our ways: the approach of judgment and guilt OR of honor and shame? Compare the effect on a misbehaving child when the parent says, “What you did is bad” versus “You should be ashamed of yourself.” Both seem to have their place, especially when linked to an offer of forgiveness and a new beginning.

In the parable of the prodigal son, a key Gospel text of the Lent-Easter season, we find that the prodigal son comes to his senses and makes a decision to return to the father not because he feels guilty but because he is ashamed of how he is living. As a Jew facing ruin and starvation, he is reduced to the level of tending pigs and desiring their food. However, his shame is overcome when the father takes the shame upon himself and restores the son to his original place.


God, the Restorer of all that is broken and pained in our lives, help us to experience your salvation. May we live in your desired ways and extend forgiveness to those who have harmed us, and receive forgiveness from those whom we have harmed.

February 1, 2013

Goshen College again offers an online resource to help believers make time and space in their hearts and minds to reflect during the season of Lent.

Beginning Feb. 13 (Ash Wednesday) and culminating on March 31 (Easter), Goshen College students, faculty and staff will provide weekday reflections based on the Sunday’s upcoming lectionary Scripture passages. Many writers will reflect on the theme: “Ashamed No More,” taken from Mennonite Church USA worship resources.

The devotions will reflect honestly on the Scriptures and offer words of assurances of faith. The spiritual offerings will include poetry, personal stories, reflections and prayers, all intended to more closely examine the call to change and follow Christ.

Since 2001, Goshen College annually celebrates special seasons of the church calendar, particularly Advent and Lent, with online devotions.


April 8, 2012


By Gwen Gustafson-Zook, minister of worship
SCRIPTURE: Mark 16:1-8 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

Two downcast women, deep in grief and weighed down by pain and suffering,
laboriously take one step at a time in the direction of their pain –
unable to avoid the inevitable,
unable to make sense of the senseless,
unable to do anything other than that which they know must be done:
funnel whatever energy remains into tender touch
for the one they so deeply loved,
for the one they so painfully lost. (more…)

April 7, 2012


By Liliana Ballge, financial aid assistant director
SCRIPTURE: Acts 10:34-43 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

I remember growing up in church hearing the stories about Jesus feeding the multitudes, healing the sick, making the lame man walk and bringing Lazarus back from the dead. I wondered how could a man perform such miracles. As a child, my wonder was more of an amazement and awe of how God could do all these things that appeared to be impossible and simply believed. However, as an adult, our wonder can sometimes turn into times of questioning and doubt of “how can I believe?”


April 6, 2012


By Ben Sutter, a senior history and communication double major from South Bend, Ind.
SCRIPTURE: John 13:1-17, 31b-35 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

Jesus does something incredibly curious as he’s sitting with his friends the night he’s arrested. He acts, as Jesus often does, in a way that causes us to pause. In John’s highly narrated account of Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, we read an explanation of Jesus’ thought process. (more…)

April 5, 2012


By Launa Rohrer, associate dean of students
SCRIPTURE: I Corinthians 11:23-26 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

We lost Grandma during Lent this year.

Growing up, staying at Grandma’s house was a treat. We had our routine. Breakfast always included homemade bread and vitamin C. Grandpa always read Scripture; Grandma read the meditation. Grandpa prayed for each child and grandchild before the day began. At the close of each day, Grandma would dole out cran-raspberry juice to each of us, hug us and send us to bed. (more…)

April 4, 2012


By Leanna Teodosio, a sophomore sociology and Bible and religion double major from Lima, Ohio
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

Have you ever really taken the time to listen to what a middle schooler had to say? There are some who call me crazy, but middle school is my favorite age group for a variety of reasons, including their stark honesty, humor, energy, emerging autonomy and individuality, to name a few. (more…)

April 3, 2012


By Jodi H. Beyeler, assistant director of public relations
SCRIPTURE: Exodus 12:1-14 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

As a kid, did your mom ever whisper to you when you left for summer camp, a sleepover or a date, “Don’t forget who you are and where you came from”? At the time, I thought that my mom just didn’t want me to embarrass her or my family. (more…)

April 2, 2012


By Ruth Hochstetler, day circulation supervisor in the Good Library
THIS WEEK’S THEME: Later you will understand
(NOTE: In this final week of devotions, there will be devotions on Saturday and Sunday.)

Three jars took up residence atop my bedroom dresser soon after I first started earning money as a child. One was labeled “savings,” another “spending” and the third “tithe.” (more…)

March 30, 2012


By Jim Brenneman, president
SCRIPTURE: Mark 11:1-11 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

As you read this, I am with a group of pilgrims preparing for another Palm Sunday procession. Literally, we are “approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives,” where Jesus sent two disciples to find a donkey colt for him to ride into Jerusalem by way of the Lion’s Gate. I have made this pilgrimage before. (more…)

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