Daily devotionals

reflections with Boston Ave

Reflections

Our daily devotionals are available here, as well as via email, Facebook, and Instagram. These daily reflections from our clergy, staff, and members can help serve as a source of inspiration, contemplation, insight, and guidance to help you think deeply, grow spiritually, love generously, and deepen your faith.

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Your Boston Avenue #DailyDevotional, Monday, March 4
God's Never-Failing Love
by Joel Panciera


“In every person there is a king. Speak to the king and the king will come forth.”
-Scandinavian Proverb

You know its true. Some people are a joy to be around – their humor, their point of view, their kindness, their positive spirit, etc. They bring out the best in us. But there are other types of people, “difficult” people, that have the opposite effect. They push our buttons and inspire feelings of competition, or disdain, or even contempt. Unfortunately, these days of political and cultural polarization can cause us to write off entire groups of people that we have never met, simply by their group identity.

What are we to do about this human tendency? How might Jesus address this challenge for us and for our world? Upon reflection, the answer seems pretty clear. Although he was a Jew and represented a very well-defined cultural group, Jesus went out of his way to defy human boundaries and offered compassion to those deemed unclean or undesirable by his people. He saw and valued the eternal presence of God in each soul, regardless of their views or cultural identity. He shared love with all elements of society, but had a particular focus on the ones who were shunned and excluded. In a sense, he saw the king or queen in every person and acknowledged their sacredness. He calls us today to follow his example and not be influenced by petty grievances or toxic group identities.

For me, one of the clearest reminders of God’s HESED (never failing love) is my dog, Timbuk. Regardless of my accomplishments or failures, my mood or inattention, Timbuk always greets me with overwhelming joy and love. If only I could share this level of love with others so freely.

Please watch this beautiful video, it incapsulates everything you need to know about HESED: www.youtube.com/watch?v=H17edn_RZoY
... See MoreSee Less

Your Boston Avenue #DailyDevotional, Monday, March 4
Gods Never-Failing Love
by Joel Panciera

 
“In every person there is a king. Speak to the king and the king will come forth.”
-Scandinavian Proverb
 
You know its true. Some people are a joy to be around – their humor, their point of view, their kindness, their positive spirit, etc. They bring out the best in us. But there are other types of people, “difficult” people, that have the opposite effect. They push our buttons and inspire feelings of competition, or disdain, or even contempt. Unfortunately, these days of political and cultural polarization can cause us to write off entire groups of people that we have never met, simply by their group identity.
 
What are we to do about this human tendency? How might Jesus address this challenge for us and for our world? Upon reflection, the answer seems pretty clear. Although he was a Jew and represented a very well-defined cultural group, Jesus went out of his way to defy human boundaries and offered compassion to those deemed unclean or undesirable by his people. He saw and valued the eternal presence of God in each soul, regardless of their views or cultural identity. He shared love with all elements of society, but had a particular focus on the ones who were shunned and excluded. In a sense, he saw the king or queen in every person and acknowledged their sacredness. He calls us today to follow his example and not be influenced by petty grievances or toxic group identities.
 
For me, one of the clearest reminders of God’s HESED (never failing love) is my dog, Timbuk. Regardless of my accomplishments or failures, my mood or inattention, Timbuk always greets me with overwhelming joy and love. If only I could share this level of love with others so freely.
 
Please watch this beautiful video, it incapsulates everything you need to know about HESED: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H17edn_RZoY

8 CommentsComment on Facebook

Amen and BowWow

That video was the sweetest thing I have seen in a really long time. Thank you! Also, I struggle with the very issues you mentioned and have to work harder to remember the beloved child of God part for those who are so obviously wrong, lol.

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Thank you

I think that if everyone had a dog that greets them in the way Joel describes, we would have world peace.

<-----I had a dog who was like a human. He danced, sang, comforted others, smiled...he passed away last month 😢

Thank you! I have granddog! 🐶

1:58 video: youtu.be/H17edn_RZoY

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Your Boston Avenue #DailyDevotional, Sunday, March 3
Filled Up With Good Stuff
by Judy Rowell


When my mother was in the clutches of her dementia, she thought she was in the “end times”. She came to live with me and was convinced that we (she and the three of me she believed there were) were imprisoned, and that guards followed us everywhere. When her condition progressed to a stage I could no longer handle alone, we found a place for her in a local facility. She told me every day of the armed raids, votes to kill people and torture others, natural disasters, and plagues surrounding her. I couldn’t help my mother, and hers is the second saddest dementia story I know. (The saddest is of a Jewish friend’s father who was back in a German concentration camp, which he had survived in his youth, but was doomed to die in because of his illness.)

My mom’s illness changed me. I don’t know if it is true or not, but I feel like her obsession with true and fictional crime procedurals dwelling on the evil man perpetrates on man in film, on tv, and in books, along with her constant watching of a news channel that’s sole function is to induce fear so they can sell ads for expensive survival items, influenced her. If our hearts are like sponges and when squeezed what fills them is what comes out, maybe our minds are the same. I can’t prove it, but I quit watching and reading explicitly graphic crime stories, gave up shows with violence and profanity, evil super-villains, and serial killers, and now happily reside in a cozy world of rom coms, Brit coms, and musical comedies. In my need for sanity and psychological peace, I may even give up watching the news next.

Obviously, I can’t predict if I will also develop dementia, but my genetic makeup is loaded. If that day comes, I want to be walking around believing I am at a village fete in Midsomer, having tea with Father Brown and Sister Boniface, or even making wreaths after a snowball fight with a plucky ten-year-old orphan being raised by his handsome, single, Uncle Chris Kringle. Hopefully, the vicar will invite me to church at the local COE, or maybe I can go to the Wesley Chapel which serves tea in the garden after services. Maybe, I will think I am zinging around the universe in the Tardis having adventures with Dr. Who. I just want a happy heart filled with the love of God and my neighbor so when I don’t know who I am I can remember that someone up there loves me, and when squeezed what comes out is cozy. Lord, hear my prayer!
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Your Boston Avenue #DailyDevotional, Sunday, March 3
Filled Up With Good Stuff
by Judy Rowell

 
When my mother was in the clutches of her dementia, she thought she was in the “end times”. She came to live with me and was convinced that we (she and the three of me she believed there were) were imprisoned, and that guards followed us everywhere. When her condition progressed to a stage I could no longer handle alone, we found a place for her in a local facility. She told me every day of the armed raids, votes to kill people and torture others, natural disasters, and plagues surrounding her. I couldn’t help my mother, and hers is the second saddest dementia story I know. (The saddest is of a Jewish friend’s father who was back in a German concentration camp, which he had survived in his youth, but was doomed to die in because of his illness.)

My mom’s illness changed me. I don’t know if it is true or not, but I feel like her obsession with true and fictional crime procedurals dwelling on the evil man perpetrates on man in film, on tv, and in books, along with her constant watching of a news channel that’s sole function is to induce fear so they can sell ads for expensive survival items, influenced her. If our hearts are like sponges and when squeezed what fills them is what comes out, maybe our minds are the same. I can’t prove it, but I quit watching and reading explicitly graphic crime stories, gave up shows with violence and profanity, evil super-villains, and serial killers, and now happily reside in a cozy world of rom coms, Brit coms, and musical comedies. In my need for sanity and psychological peace, I may even give up watching the news next.

Obviously, I can’t predict if I will also develop dementia, but my genetic makeup is loaded. If that day comes, I want to be walking around believing I am at a village fete in Midsomer, having tea with Father Brown and Sister Boniface, or even making wreaths after a snowball fight with a plucky ten-year-old orphan being raised by his handsome, single, Uncle Chris Kringle. Hopefully, the vicar will invite me to church at the local COE, or maybe I can go to the Wesley Chapel which serves tea in the garden after services. Maybe, I will think I am zinging around the universe in the Tardis having adventures with Dr. Who. I just want a happy heart filled with the love of God and my neighbor so when I don’t know who I am I can remember that someone up there loves me, and when squeezed what comes out is cozy. Lord, hear my prayer!

3 CommentsComment on Facebook

Thank you for sharing this story. It's helpful to me.

Here is the picture I MEANT to send in with this devotional, lol, I sent one for another devo with this. Mea Culpa.

So wonderful to see both photographs. And I concur with your theory about filling our subconscious with delightful characters and places, happy experience. Not horror. In fact, I like your plans and would join you there!

Your Boston Avenue #DailyDevotional, Saturday, March 2
What About Prayer
by A Church Member


Many people, I suppose, ask questions about prayers. How to pray? What to pray? Where to pray? What is the right posture to pray? What are the right words to pray? Should prayer be out loud or silent? Do we have to be good enough to pray?

The answer to these questions is in God’s hands. In other word, prayer is a mystery with answers that change as we grow mentally, physically and spirituality. But there is at least one constant, I think, about prayer. God wants to converse with us in prayer and is happy with any effort we make to pray.

So relax and be confident that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us by seeing our inner workings and the true intent of our prayers even if we don’t. (Romans 8:26-27) God created each of us and loves us because we are his children. So whether we coo like an infant or cry like a baby, or melt in humility and gratefulness or shout in anger, God loves to hear us and responds with love to every part of us. Amen.
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Your Boston Avenue #DailyDevotional, Saturday, March 2
What About Prayer
by A Church Member

 
Many people, I suppose, ask questions about prayers. How to pray? What to pray? Where to pray? What is the right posture to pray? What are the right words to pray? Should prayer be out loud or silent? Do we have to be good enough to pray?
 
The answer to these questions is in God’s hands. In other word, prayer is a mystery with answers that change as we grow mentally, physically and spirituality. But there is at least one constant, I think, about prayer. God wants to converse with us in prayer and is happy with any effort we make to pray. 
 
So relax and be confident that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us by seeing our inner workings and the true intent of our prayers even if we don’t. (Romans 8:26-27) God created each of us and loves us because we are his children. So whether we coo like an infant or cry like a baby, or melt in humility and gratefulness or shout in anger, God loves to hear us and responds with love to every part of us. Amen.

Your Boston Avenue #DailyDevotional, Friday, March 1
Be Still
by Evelyn Caruso


I love rescue dog stories; the kindness of strangers when they choose to adopt dogs that are abandoned, abused, discarded, or placed in kill shelters. These precious angels are given a second chance, and it feels good to see people love them. There is a YouTuber that has made it his mission to rescue such dogs and make them available for adoption. He has a sanctuary called The Asher House, it’s a haven for healing and rehab of all the trauma these poor dogs have experienced.

There was an episode on YouTube of one of these dogs escaping. All dog parents know these precious ones have an inherent nature to just take off. This one traveled very far and was unable to find his way back home. The man in charge of The Asher House took his truck and looked everywhere, the Oregon sun was beginning to set and soon the darkness will approach, making visibility harder. Finally, a friend gave him very practical advice and told him “You need to be still, and wait for the dog to come to you, moving around confuses the dog as he is trying to follow your scent”. He camped out in his car, the dog returned after hours of being in the wild.

I was thinking of this story and couldn’t help but remember the words “Be Still” those words appear in scripture several times as an invitation to trust God. Sometimes, things are out of our control like the story of this dog. Our first inclination is to do our own thing, but we only create chaos and drown in our confusion. Be still, breathe and center yourself, as you pray, notice your heart rate begins to relax, at this moment invite the peace and the presence of God to invade you and your situation.

Scripture: Psalm 46:10 “Be still and Know (recognize, understand) that I am God." (AMP)

Prayer: God of peace, we invite you into the chaos of this world, into the daily troubles of living in a fallen world. We place our trust in You.
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Your Boston Avenue #DailyDevotional, Friday, March 1
Be Still
by Evelyn Caruso

 
I love rescue dog stories; the kindness of strangers when they choose to adopt dogs that are abandoned, abused, discarded, or placed in kill shelters. These precious angels are given a second chance, and it feels good to see people love them. There is a YouTuber that has made it his mission to rescue such dogs and make them available for adoption. He has a sanctuary called The Asher House, it’s a haven for healing and rehab of all the trauma these poor dogs have experienced.  

There was an episode on YouTube of one of these dogs escaping. All dog parents know these precious ones have an inherent nature to just take off. This one traveled very far and was unable to find his way back home. The man in charge of The Asher House took his truck and looked everywhere, the Oregon sun was beginning to set and soon the darkness will approach, making visibility harder. Finally, a friend gave him very practical advice and told him “You need to be still, and wait for the dog to come to you, moving around confuses the dog as he is trying to follow your scent”. He camped out in his car, the dog returned after hours of being in the wild.   

I was thinking of this story and couldn’t help but remember the words “Be Still” those words appear in scripture several times as an invitation to trust God. Sometimes, things are out of our control like the story of this dog. Our first inclination is to do our own thing, but we only create chaos and drown in our confusion. Be still, breathe and center yourself, as you pray, notice your heart rate begins to relax, at this moment invite the peace and the presence of God to invade you and your situation.  

Scripture: Psalm 46:10  “Be still and Know (recognize, understand) that I am God. (AMP)   

Prayer: God of peace, we invite you into the chaos of this world, into the daily troubles of living in a fallen world. We place our trust in You.

3 CommentsComment on Facebook

Thank you for a timely reminder - I am really bad at being still, but need to work on that.

Thank you, just the words of truth I needed today. Being still.

This is profound, actually!

Your Boston Avenue #DailyDevotional, Thursday, February 29
Leap Year
by Belynda Clanton


2024 is a “Leap Year.” There it is on our calendars, that extra added day, February 29 that only shows up every 4 years. Leap Year calculations are precise, but then there are also exceptions. Every year that can be divided by 4 is a Leap year.

It gets a bit more complicated, but adding this additional day ensures that the calendar year aligns with the solar year. I never thought of it before, but I learned that all planets have Leap Years to help keep them aligned to the natural rhythms of our cosmos. Mars is so imperfect in its orbit and alignment that it has more Leap Years than regular years.

Just like the planets, we get ourselves out of alignment with the source of our life, too, don’t we. We miss a rotation, we miss the mark, we don’t want to change, and we often really don’t like where God may be leading us.

During this Leap Year 2024 let’s give in, take a Leap of Faith, and bend to where God’s leading. It could just make all the difference.

Scripture & Prayer: Psalm 16:5-7
No, the Lord is all I need. He takes care of me.
My share in life has been pleasant; my part has been beautiful.
I praise the Lord because he advises me.
Even at night, I feel his leading.
... See MoreSee Less

Your Boston Avenue #DailyDevotional, Thursday, February 29
Leap Year
by Belynda Clanton

 
2024 is a “Leap Year.” There it is on our calendars, that extra added day, February 29 that only shows up every 4 years. Leap Year calculations are precise, but then there are also exceptions. Every year that can be divided by 4 is a Leap year.

It gets a bit more complicated, but adding this additional day ensures that the calendar year aligns with the solar year. I never thought of it before, but I learned that all planets have Leap Years to help keep them aligned to the natural rhythms of our cosmos. Mars is so imperfect in its orbit and alignment that it has more Leap Years than regular years.

Just like the planets, we get ourselves out of alignment with the source of our life, too, don’t we.  We miss a rotation, we miss the mark, we don’t want to change, and we often really don’t like where God may be leading us.

During this Leap Year 2024 let’s give in, take a Leap of Faith, and bend to where God’s leading.  It could just make all the difference.

Scripture & Prayer: Psalm 16:5-7
            No, the Lord is all I need. He takes care of me.
            My share in life has been pleasant; my part has been beautiful.
            I praise the Lord because he advises me.
            Even at night, I feel his leading.

Your Boston Avenue #DailyDevotional, Wednesday, February 28
Father of American Methodism
by Rev. David Wiggs


February is an appropriate time to remember Francis Asbury, the father of American Methodism given his views on the treatment of Blacks in America.

Asbury was born in Staffordshire, England. At the age of 18, in 1763 he became a Methodist preacher under the guidance of John Wesley. In 1771, he volunteered to go to America to serve the fledgling Methodist movement in the colonies.

Five years later when the Revolutionary War broke out, he and John Dempster were the only English Methodist preachers to remain in the colonies. He became more well-known as he traveled the country with legendary Methodist preacher “Black Harry” Hosier. Hosier was known as a spell-binding speaker traveling as a free slave preaching to Blacks. He became the first African American to preach to a white congregation in America in 1784.

In 1784, Wesley determined that the Methodists in America needed their own ordained leaders. He ordained Methodist preacher Thomas Coke and sent him to America. Coke ordained Asbury upon his arrival and they both took on the title of Bishop against the protests of Wesley. They led the organizing of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States.

They both vigorously opposed slavery saying that the buying and selling of people is clearly contrary to the whole spirit of the Gospel. Under Asbury’s leadership the early Methodists opposed slavery in America (as did Wesley and the Methodists in England) and yet struggled to fully embrace African Americans in leadership of the newly organized church. This led to a number of splits in American Methodism around issues of race.

Asbury continued as the key leader in America Methodism until his death in 1816. Records indicate that he traveled around 6,000 miles annually and was ready to preach anytime a crowd gathered. The numbers of Methodists grew from a few hundred into the hundreds of thousands under his administration.

Lord, bless us with the energy and desire to serve in the spirit of Francis Asbury.
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Your Boston Avenue #DailyDevotional, Wednesday, February 28
Father of American Methodism
by Rev. David Wiggs

 
February is an appropriate time to remember Francis Asbury, the father of American Methodism given his views on the treatment of Blacks in America.

Asbury was born in Staffordshire, England. At the age of 18, in 1763 he became a Methodist preacher under the guidance of John Wesley. In 1771, he volunteered to go to America to serve the fledgling Methodist movement in the colonies. 

Five years later when the Revolutionary War broke out, he and John Dempster were the only English Methodist preachers to remain in the colonies. He became more well-known as he traveled the country with legendary Methodist preacher “Black Harry” Hosier. Hosier was known as a spell-binding speaker traveling as a free slave preaching to Blacks. He became the first African American to preach to a white congregation in America in 1784.

In 1784, Wesley determined that the Methodists in America needed their own ordained leaders. He ordained Methodist preacher Thomas Coke and sent him to America. Coke ordained Asbury upon his arrival and they both took on the title of Bishop against the protests of Wesley. They led the organizing of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States.   

They both vigorously opposed slavery saying that the buying and selling of people is clearly contrary to the whole spirit of the Gospel. Under Asbury’s leadership the early Methodists opposed slavery in America (as did Wesley and the Methodists in England) and yet struggled to fully embrace African Americans in leadership of the newly organized church. This led to a number of splits in American Methodism around issues of race.

Asbury continued as the key leader in America Methodism until his death in 1816. Records indicate that he traveled around 6,000 miles annually and was ready to preach anytime a crowd gathered. The numbers of Methodists grew from a few hundred into the hundreds of thousands under his administration.

Lord, bless us with the energy and desire to serve in the spirit of Francis Asbury.

Your Boston Avenue #DailyDevotional, Tuesday, February 27
Seneca's Saying
by Angelyn Dale


Recently, I have been reading a great deal about revered Spanish philosopher Seneca. He was born in 4 BC and lived in Rome from the age of five. Seneca left numerous writings, but perhaps his greatest claim to fame is that he was the tutor and advisor of Emperor Nero of Rome for the early part of Nero’s reign when he provided competent government.

So if you don’t have an imminent exam in ancient Roman history, why should you ponder the life of an ancient Roman philosopher? The truth of Seneca’s counsel still shines through the writings that he left us, even thousands of years later. One of his sayings that resonates with me most is the following:

"Live with men as if God can see. Converse with God as if men can hear."

I think there is great profundity here. Imagine if we lived with each other as if God could see every interaction that we have with one another. Would we be so quick to criticize, so embracing of slaying and slandering each other on social media, so instantaneous in our condemnation of those who represent different ideas and philosophies than those that are the most comfortable to us? Would we be so quick to screech “It’s my right to [fill in the blank] without any contemplation of how exercising that right could negatively impact someone else?” I don’t think so. And yet, who among our community of faith doesn’t believe that God can and does see everything that we do? If we believe that, why don’t we act like it?

Secondly, can we claim that we pray to God in ways that we would want others to hear? Are our prayers unselfish and desirous of good outcomes for others, or only ourselves? Are we conversing with God to serve others, or providing a laundry list of all the things that God could/should do to satisfy our human desires? Can we take up the habit of praying unselfishly for the betterment of others, such that we would have nothing to fear if mankind could hear our conversations with God?
Live with men as if God can see. Converse with God as if men can hear. Perhaps we still have something to learn from a Spaniard born before Christ. Perhaps wisdom is still wisdom, regardless of the age from which it derives. Please God, let it be so.
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Your Boston Avenue #DailyDevotional, Tuesday, February 27
Senecas Saying
by Angelyn Dale

 
Recently, I have been reading a great deal about revered Spanish philosopher Seneca. He was born in 4 BC and lived in Rome from the age of five. Seneca left numerous writings, but perhaps his greatest claim to fame is that he was the tutor and advisor of Emperor Nero of Rome for the early part of Nero’s reign when he provided competent government.

So if you don’t have an imminent exam in ancient Roman history, why should you ponder the life of an ancient Roman philosopher? The truth of Seneca’s counsel still shines through the writings that he left us, even thousands of years later. One of his sayings that resonates with me most is the following:

Live with men as if God can see. Converse with God as if men can hear.

I think there is great profundity here. Imagine if we lived with each other as if God could see every interaction that we have with one another. Would we be so quick to criticize, so embracing of slaying and slandering each other on social media, so instantaneous in our condemnation of those who represent different ideas and philosophies than those that are the most comfortable to us? Would we be so quick to screech “It’s my right to [fill in the blank] without any contemplation of how exercising that right could negatively impact someone else?” I don’t think so. And yet, who among our community of faith doesn’t believe that God can and does see everything that we do? If we believe that, why don’t we act like it?

Secondly, can we claim that we pray to God in ways that we would want others to hear? Are our prayers unselfish and desirous of good outcomes for others, or only ourselves? Are we conversing with God to serve others, or providing a laundry list of all the things that God could/should do to satisfy our human desires? Can we take up the habit of praying unselfishly for the betterment of others, such that we would have nothing to fear if mankind could hear our conversations with God?
Live with men as if God can see. Converse with God as if men can hear. Perhaps we still have something to learn from a Spaniard born before Christ. Perhaps wisdom is still wisdom, regardless of the age from which it derives. Please God, let it be so.

2 CommentsComment on Facebook

May we keep ourselves always open to God’s heart and mind.

I love his writings. Did it realize how old they were. Thank you so much.

Your Boston Avenue #DailyDevotional, Monday, February 26
Music and the Movement
by Judy Rowell


Music is powerful. It can move and elevate, entertain, and energize, or calm and comfort. A powerful link exists between music and the Civil Rights Movement, using the gospel songs of the Black church as a balm, an encouragement, and a motivation.

One of the great voices of the Black church and the gospel genre was Mahalia Jackson. She was so popular that people tried to entice her to make popular music records, telling her she would earn three times the money. Her response was that she didn’t think she could because it was her life experience that shone in her gospel singing, which she didn’t think she could put into secular songs. On the TV show, The Voice, I frequently hear African American singers agree with each other that they grew up singing in church; it is a common, but rich environment for encouraging young voices.

The music of the movement could bring people together as they marched, singing songs like, “We Shall Overcome” and “We Will Not Be Moved”. It could comfort in times of stress. There is a lovely clip of Martin Luther King, Jr. at the podium of the March on Washington where he looks troubled and a little stressed before his speech, but from behind him, he hears his dear friend, Mahalia, begin to sing “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho” and the sweetest smile comes over his face – you can see what the music and the lady singing it mean to him. Later during the speech, he seems to lose his way and she calls out “Tell them about the dream Martin!”. Martin heard her, put his notes away, and told them about the dream.

The music kept spirits up in the jails of the south as more and more protesters were arrested; teenagers and younger, the youngest only nine years old, sang together to stay brave.

Song writers like Bob Dylan, Pete Seager, and Sam Cooke lifted hearts with the songs they wrote and when mainstream singers like Peter, Paul, and Mary took up songs like “Blowing in the Wind” and “The Times They are A’Changin” they reached an even wider audience. I must admit to being not only moved but changed by them. I believe it was the music that started me on my path to greater understanding and care for my black brothers and sisters. Growing up in the vacuum of no mention of race in my home, I was never taught to hate or look down on anyone, but with no mention, I wasn’t encouraged to go out of my way to help either. The music awoke in my heart a need to stand up for what was right that I still feel today. This month, for Black History month, PBS has a wonderful program called “Gospel” – I highly recommend it.

Scripture: Amos 5:24 “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
... See MoreSee Less

Your Boston Avenue #DailyDevotional, Monday, February 26
Music and the Movement
by Judy Rowell

 
Music is powerful. It can move and elevate, entertain, and energize, or calm and comfort. A powerful link exists between music and the Civil Rights Movement, using the gospel songs of the Black church as a balm, an encouragement, and a motivation.
 
One of the great voices of the Black church and the gospel genre was Mahalia Jackson. She was so popular that people tried to entice her to make popular music records, telling her she would earn three times the money. Her response was that she didn’t think she could because it was her life experience that shone in her gospel singing, which she didn’t think she could put into secular songs. On the TV show, The Voice, I frequently hear African American singers agree with each other that they grew up singing in church; it is a common, but rich environment for encouraging young voices.
 
The music of the movement could bring people together as they marched, singing songs like, “We Shall Overcome” and “We Will Not Be Moved”. It could comfort in times of stress. There is a lovely clip of Martin Luther King, Jr. at the podium of the March on Washington where he looks troubled and a little stressed before his speech, but from behind him, he hears his dear friend, Mahalia, begin to sing “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho” and the sweetest smile comes over his face – you can see what the music and the lady singing it mean to him. Later during the speech, he seems to lose his way and she calls out “Tell them about the dream Martin!”. Martin heard her, put his notes away, and told them about the dream. 
 
The music kept spirits up in the jails of the south as more and more protesters were arrested; teenagers and younger, the youngest only nine years old, sang together to stay brave.
 
Song writers like Bob Dylan, Pete Seager, and Sam Cooke lifted hearts with the songs they wrote and when mainstream singers like Peter, Paul, and Mary took up songs like “Blowing in the Wind” and “The Times They are A’Changin” they reached an even wider audience. I must admit to being not only moved but changed by them. I believe it was the music that started me on my path to greater understanding and care for my black brothers and sisters. Growing up in the vacuum of no mention of race in my home, I was never taught to hate or look down on anyone, but with no mention, I wasn’t encouraged to go out of my way to help either. The music awoke in my heart a need to stand up for what was right that I still feel today. This month, for Black History month, PBS has a wonderful program called “Gospel” – I highly recommend it.
 
Scripture: Amos 5:24 “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

1 CommentComment on Facebook

Love this!!!

Your Boston Avenue #DailyDevotional, Sunday, February 25
Lent Infused With Advent
by Joel Panciera


“While all things were wrapped in a powerful silence, a secret Word leapt down from heaven - to even me. For the same one who was begotten of God throughout all eternity is born each day, this day, within our time, within all humankind – we even made a holiday to remember it . . . This birth is always happening. Everything depends on it.”
-Meister Eckhart

As I peer out my window and see snow, my thoughts turn to Advent and Christmas (when we didn’t have snow). During this past December we rehearsed the story of Christ’s birth in a tiny, insignificant place such a long time ago. I fear that Christians too often focus only on the story’s colorful surface details and completely ignore its deeper significance. Although scholars may easily poke holes in the historical veracity of both birth stories (Matthew & Luke), I believe that rehashing these issues obscures the gospel’s true intent. Meister Eckhart puts his finger on the deeper truth – Christ broke into our world then and he comes to us today. We are not alone. Everything about our faith and growing relationship with God depends on this awareness.

During Lent, as in Advent, we are called to examine our lives and undergo a spiritual “tune-up.” The key thing to remember however is that we do not do this alone. Our Lenten experience should be infused with the spirit of Advent and Christmas. Christ has come. Christ comes this very day. Christ will come tomorrow. Everything about our Lenten journey is built upon this essential truth. What a “comfort and joy” this can be if we are open to this awareness!

“Search me, God, and know my heart. Examine me and know my thoughts. If you find any disobedience within me, lead me instead on paths of right-living that are eternal.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
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Your Boston Avenue #DailyDevotional, Sunday, February 25
Lent Infused With Advent
by Joel Panciera

 
“While all things were wrapped in a powerful silence, a secret Word leapt down from heaven - to even me. For the same one who was begotten of God throughout all eternity is born each day, this day, within our time, within all humankind – we even made a holiday to remember it . . . This birth is always happening.  Everything depends on it.”
-Meister Eckhart
 
As I peer out my window and see snow, my thoughts turn to Advent and Christmas (when we didn’t have snow). During this past December we rehearsed the story of Christ’s birth in a tiny, insignificant place such a long time ago. I fear that Christians too often focus only on the story’s colorful surface details and completely ignore its deeper significance. Although scholars may easily poke holes in the historical veracity of both birth stories (Matthew & Luke), I believe that rehashing these issues obscures the gospel’s true intent. Meister Eckhart puts his finger on the deeper truth – Christ broke into our world then and he comes to us today. We are not alone. Everything about our faith and growing relationship with God depends on this awareness.
 
During Lent, as in Advent, we are called to examine our lives and undergo a spiritual “tune-up.” The key thing to remember however is that we do not do this alone. Our Lenten experience should be infused with the spirit of Advent and Christmas. Christ has come. Christ comes this very day. Christ will come tomorrow. Everything about our Lenten journey is built upon this essential truth. What a “comfort and joy” this can be if we are open to this awareness!
 
“Search me, God, and know my heart.  Examine me and know my thoughts. If you find any disobedience within me, lead me instead on paths of right-living that are eternal.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

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