Category Archives: Lent Devotions

Lent Video Devotions from RCA April 15th

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Megan Hodgin is a pastor, a facilitator who leads with curiosity, and a story-gatherer, always eager to listen to tales of light in the midst of darkness. Megan serves on General Synod Council staff as the coordinator for congregational mission engagement, equipping congregations with tools for discernment and action as they seek to partner with God in mission around the globe.

My roots have names.

Scott, Louise, Andrea, Kendra, Stacey, Anna, Karen, Jeff, Dustyn, Miriam, Brian, Marijke, Angela, and Tammy.

That’s at least a few of them. The list is too long to share in two minutes. And when I say they are my “roots,” I don’t mean that they are just part of my past…I mean they connect me to life; they connect me to Christ. Sometimes without even realizing it.

They are the people who have helped me ask difficult questions and make critical decisions. They have listened. They have spoken words of truth. They have sat in the silences. And most importantly, when I forget how I got here or who I am, they remember for me. Sometimes they tell me the story. Sometimes they just wait beside me until my memory returns.

That is what I think the women of Bethlehem did for Naomi. They are mentioned so briefly, but they are critical to her life! Surely they were there when she married Elimelech. And they wiped her brow while she labored with Mahlon and Chilion. So even when she returns from Moab in Ruth, chapter 1, without her husband and her two sons, they recognize her and call her by name. And at the end of the story, when Naomi holds her newborn grandson in her arms, it is the women of Bethlehem who remind her that God has always been with her, that God brought this new life into the world, and that God is the one who deserves all glory and praise. We don’t know their names, but we cannot deny their value. They kept Naomi rooted.

Do your roots have names? Are they people? Or maybe places? What or who connects you with Christ, with the source of life?

And who might name you as one of their roots?

“Rooted” is a video devotional series intended to help you seek God’s face this Lent. Each short video explores a piece of our rootedness in Christ: “They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper” (Psalm 1:3). The videos were created by RCA women and men in partnership with Women’s Transformation and Leadership

Lent Video Devotions from RCA April 14th

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Lynn Min loves to be creative. She aspires to consistently get her audience to think in new paradigms, making way for a much bigger God than the one we encase in our minds. Her presence as the minister of care at Middle Collegiate Church, or as a mental health counselor in her private practice, consume most of her professional time and allow her the space to help people think about God and life in ways they have not before. Most of her free time is spent enjoying her most significant creations: Isabella, Isaiah, and Ilyana, all of whom are age five and under.

Lynn: So, Sylvia, I’m doing this video on “rooted.” Like, that’s the theme, it’s a devotional video. What comes to your mind when I say “rooted”?

Sylvia: I think of family, I think of home, especially my home growing up. I think of Korean food. What about spiritually, what do you think about when you think “spiritually rooted?”

Lynn: A lot of things, like when God says, “Out of the mouth your heart will flow.” I feel like there is this nature between the things that are rooted in our hearts becoming alive, or coming into being, in our words, and in our actions, and in our beings. But we have to constantly kind of do our due diligence in saying, “seek my heart, search my heart, oh God; see if there are any wicked ways in me.” Because these things that are unseen—they have a way of coming forth and kind of coming into light, right? That things that are rooted in us, whether it’s bitterness, or love, or insecurities, or fears.

I think of, like, the image of God that’s really the Imago Dei, that’s rooted in all of us. Our shared humanity, and how within that, we find an essence of who God is, and what God is.

Sylvia: So where are we going?

[scene change]

Lynn: What do you think it means to be rooted?

Person 1: To be down to earth. And to be, like, humbled, I guess.

Person 2: Somebody who’s down to earth, somebody who’s level-headed.

Person 3: I would say, probably, to be grounded, know what you want, know what you want to do.

Person 4: Very, like, in the same…kind of stuck in the same motions, that kind of thing.

Person 5: Well, when you root a phone, we unlock it so that we can activate service. You could use it internationally, you could use it with different carriers, such as T-Mobile or Staten Island.

Person 6: For me, I think it’s more like, you have a good way of living in life. And you’re able to, like, go about your daily life fine, you know?

Person 7: To feel involved in your community. To feel like the things you do, both good and bad, have an effect. So that if you’re doing bad things, the people around you, the things around you, can let you know.

[scene change]

Sylvia: So, Lynn, what did you think of those responses back there? I really liked that one T-Mobile guy’s answer about how for him, rooting means just to root your phone. Kind of erasing everything on your phone and putting in something new.

Lynn: But it’s kind of like, let’s uproot everything that is not the true root. Don’t you think it was interesting that a lot of people had just about the same thing to say? Everybody kind of repeated that it was about being grounded. Trees came up a lot. Going back to, like, the Mother Nature kind of idea.

For me, that just tells me that there is this truth that hums in the collective human consciousness. Like we just all know this. We don’t have to say, “God,” but we just all know this. We’re all kind of trying to be—When we say “rooted,” we’re trying to be the best versions of ourselves, the most, truest, forms of ourselves. And I think we become the best versions, the truest forms of ourselves, when we root—just like our phones, right?—we kind of uproot everything that is not essential and not what God had in mind. And I think the truth is that we’re the truest versions of ourselves when we reflect God the best. When we reflect that Imago Dei best.

“Rooted” is a video devotional series intended to help you seek God’s face this Lent. Each short video explores a piece of our rootedness in Christ: “They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper” (Psalm 1:3). The videos were created by RCA women and men in partnership with Women’s Transformation and Leadership.

Video Lent Devotion from RCA April 13th

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Rev. Denise Kingdom Grier has been the lead pastor at Maple Avenue Ministries in Holland, Michigan, for eight years. It is the first union church of the RCA and the Christian Reformed Church in North America. She is a 2005 graduate of Western Theological Seminary, where she received her Master of Divinity degree and will soon take her Doctorate in Ministry. She is the wife of CJ and mother of Gezelle and Christopher

Greetings. I wonder if you would consider with me, for just a moment, Psalm 1.

Blessed. And this word, blessed, this first word that appears to us, is not blessing as we would perceive it in our current context. For to be blessed is not just to receive or to have abundantly as it might be assumed if someone were to say, “Well I’ve been blessed today,” or “How are you doing?” “I’m blessed.”

But to be blessed is truly to be in right relationship with God. To be experiencing the ultimate shalom, that says that I am where I need to be with God, and God is in God’s proper place in me.

So, blessed…in [the] right relationship,

is the one who does not stand in the way of sinners,
or sit in the seat of those who scorn.
But her delight is in the law of the Lord.
And in this law she meditates, day and night.
And she will be like a tree.
Planted. Rooted.
By rivers of water.
Which brings forth fruit in its season.

How easy it is for us, beloved, to focus on fruit-bearing! To look like love. To talk like peace. To act like patience. But the one whose delight is in the law of God, in the Word of God, in the commands, in the ways, in the gesture of God—these are the blessed ones. The ones who are in right relationship. And they bear fruit in their season because their roots are connected to the source: the river, the ever-flowing fountain, which is Jesus Christ, our beloved one, the Word made flesh.

And so, beloved, in this Lenten season, while we desire in our hearts and souls to bear fruit that will last, according to the command of Jesus to his disciples in the Gospel of John; and while we desire to bear fruit of love, joy, and peace, and all of these other fruits of the Spirit; may we long for the greater gift that promises to bear fruit in us that will last. And that is to be rooted in the word of God, [in] such a way that generations not yet born might look upon us and declare, “These women—they are the blessed ones, in right relationship with God!” For the glory of God. Amen.

“Rooted” is a video devotional series intended to help you seek God’s face this Lent. Each short video explores a piece of our rootedness in Christ: “They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper” (Psalm 1:3). The videos were created by RCA women and men in partnership with Women’s Transformation and Leadership

Lent Video Devotions from RCA April 12th

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The Rev. Marla Rotman is a pastor in the Reformed Church in America serving at Peace Church in Eagan, Minnesota, and is also a certified spiritual director. Marla cares deeply about justice and healing at the denominational level as well as in community ecumenical groups around the topics of cultural understanding, increasing gender equality, promoting and supporting accessibility for people with varying abilities, and peace-making in a time of conflict. Together with her co-pastor husband, Tim, Marla is raising three boys to be men of integrity, empathy, and compassion.

Lent Video Devotions from RCA April 11th

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The Reverend Samuel T. Clover is an associate minister at The Reformed Church of Bronxville in Westchester County, New York. A graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York City (M.Div.), he also holds a diploma in the art of spiritual direction from San Francisco Theological Seminary, and earned an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from The New School.

When many of us think about roots, we picture the life-giving tendrils of plants and trees that reach into the earth for nourishment. Whether they delve deeper or spread wider as the plant matures, we can’t see them grow. These roots grow out of sight.

In our spiritual journeys, we sometimes go through grow-spurts of joy and fullness, but most often there are long periods when life seems static and dry. And in particularly challenging times, it might feel like our very roots are shriveling up, and we’re starving for any kind of consolation from God.

The 16th-century mystic John of the Cross called these times dark nights of the soul. He himself endured one in 1578, when he was locked in a windowless prison cell for eight months. Fellow friars from his Carmelite order thought he was too revolutionary in his attempted reforms, so they locked him away. It was during this time of literal darkness that he went through a spiritual purgation that left him bereft and unmoored, yet ultimately yielded a closer union with God.

Writing about it afterward, he gave instructions for those experiencing a similar feeling of rootlessness:

  1. Abandon the desire for possessions, which are ultimately distractions, because as long as we strive for them we’re relying on our own efforts and blocking God’s graceful provision.
  2. Trust our faith above intellect, because intellect relies on that which can be explained, and God’s action ultimately cannot be explained.
  3. Remember that a dark night ends in a closer union with God.

And why did John call it the dark night? Because when we release our coping mechanisms and attempts at explanations, our accustomed way of seeing the world falls away, like the scales that fell from Paul’s eyes. And God is so much bigger than what we think we can see.

So this Lent, remember that while God certainly works in the light, often our greatest growth happens in the dark—those hidden places where our spiritual roots deepen and mature. God bless you in your spiritual journey.

“Rooted” is a video devotional series intended to help you seek God’s face this Lent. Each short video explores a piece of our rootedness in Christ: “They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper” (Psalm 1:3). The videos were created by RCA women and men in partnership with Women’s Transformation and Leadership.

Lent Video Devotions from RCA

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Lesley Mazzotta is a spiritual director, retreat leader, educator, and writer. She serves as the educational consultant and facilitator for the RCA Women’s Transformation and Leadership Initiative, creating curriculum and leading events around the country that encourage, equip, and empower women to their full leadership potential. From 2012 to 2016, she was the joint director of spiritual formation at Community Reformed Church and Christ Episcopal Church in Manhasset, New York. Lesley recently cofounded Girl Inspired, an organization that empowers girls to live abundantly (www.girlinspired.org). Lesley has a BA from Tufts University, a certificate of spiritual direction from General Theological Seminary, and is a member of Spiritual Directors International.

One of my favorite poets is Mary Oliver, a faithful Christian woman who writes exquisitely about finding God in the beauty of nature. As I think of our Lenten theme, Rooted, I remember a poem by Oliver called “When I Am among the Trees.” In this poem, Oliver talks about the joy of being around the willows, the honey locust, the beech and oaks and pines. She says they save her every day; they call out, “Stay awhile… rest…” And they remind her of the most important lesson of knowing that she, as well as each of us, has come into the world to be filled with light and to shine.

Oliver goes to this place of profound peace and safety because she desperately needs it. Oliver feels disconnected and separated. She writes, “I am so distant from the hope of myself, to which I have goodness, and discernment, and never hurry through the world but walk slowly and bow often.”

I think all of us can relate to these feelings—the sense of being unrooted in this fast-paced, overstimulated, often scary world. We all need a place where we can go to rest and stay a while. Especially during Lent, we are called to these places to go more deeply into ourselves and our relationship with God. The Psalmist invites us to do this, to become like the trees that Oliver describes: to plant ourselves by streams of water so that we can be nourished and healed and prosper in all that we do. I believe this is not only to root ourselves in the depth of our own faith but also to reach out and help others root themselves in God’s great love.

So today, during this Lenten season, I ask each of us to consider: where is the place you go to be rooted?

“Rooted” is a video devotional series intended to help you seek God’s face this Lent. Each short video explores a piece of our rootedness in Christ: “They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper” (Psalm 1:3). The videos were created by RCA women and men in partnership with Women’s Transformation and Leadership.

Lent Video Devotion from RCA

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Carmen Means is a conference speaker, pastor, mentor, entrepreneur, songwriter and teacher. She is the founder of The Movement Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Pastor Carmen believes people do not want to remain broken; they are just unaware that they can live whole.

Hello there—I want to talk to you today about a word called “Rooted.” R-O-O-T-E-D, yes, rooted. A simple word, but yet so powerful. And yet, even so complex.

The word “rooted” is mentioned in the Bible throughout Scripture several times. But today I want to talk to you from Ephesians 3, which Paul is telling us to be rooted and grounded in love.

But before he gives us that, he’s actually saying a prayer, and he’s asking that we experience the unlimited—yes the unlimited—gloriousness and resources of who God is. That we be empowered, and strengthened, and that through Christ Jesus, that we experience God through faith.

And then it goes on to say that we be rooted and grounded in love. After that it talks about a love that passes all understanding: the height and the depth. And in that is this power! And we will experience God’s unfailing immeasurable love, and we may be filled off of this love.

But let’s go back to the original word, which I started this off with: that word, rooted. Rooted and grounded in love. Rooted means to be established. It means to be ingrained. It means to go deep. But roots do not start off deep!

We often look at different things that happen throughout the world, and we can always tell the maturity of a tree [by] how deep the roots [are].

I want to ask you this: Can I tell your maturity [by] how deep your love is? Or the bigger question: How deep is your love?

I believe that today if the world needs to experience anything from us, it needs to experience the love of God! And the only way they can experience that from us: it first must be rooted and grounded within us! We cannot give out what we have first not received!

So, today, how deep is your love? If [it’s deep], let’s go deeper! Let’s be rooted and grounded in love so that people will experience the immeasurable power of God, that immeasurable that passes all understanding, and we may love them.

Are you rooted? Are you grounded? If so, is it in love?

“Rooted” is a video devotional series intended to help you seek God’s face this Lent. Each short video explores a piece of our rootedness in Christ: “They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper” (Psalm 1:3). The videos were created by RCA women and men in partnership with Women’s Transformation and Leadership.

Lent Video Devotion from RCA

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Lent Video Devotion from RCA April 7th

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Cheri Honderd is wife to Mick (for 33 years), mom of four (now six with the addition of two sons-in-law), and grandma to five precious and fun grandchildren, who she spends as much time with as possible. She is the founder and executive director of Hand2Hand, which provides food and hope to children. She is a former pastor of missions at Fair Haven Church in Hudsonville, Michigan, where she remains as a volunteer pastor. She enjoys hiking, biking, boating, and reading.

During this season of Lent I’m amazed once again of God’s great love for us and for the entire world. His love is so deep that Jesus willingly gave his life for us. He completely covers us with his grace and offers us a new life and a new identity in his resurrected power.

And yet, the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy, and tells us lies about who God is and who we are. He causes us to doubt the great love of God for us and so the need to be rooted in his Word—in his truth—is imperative.

Just as Jesus, when he was tempted in the wilderness, said, “man shall not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God,” we too need to live on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

As we walk this journey of repentance and remembering all Jesus did for us on the cross, it doesn’t mean that we walk in defeat or with our heads held down in shame. Focus on who God’s word says you are because of the blood of Jesus which covers you.

My friend, you are a child of the one true king and no weapon formed against you will prosper. You belong to Jesus; he doesn’t just accept you, you belong to him. You are his prized possession and you have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of you. Be filled with his words, his presence, and his power daily, because you will bear good fruit, fruit that will last, if you remain in him.

Search the Bible today for more truth about who you are in Jesus. Let’s rise up in his truth and go and make a difference in the world by being Jesus to all we meet, through his power, today and every day. Because God so loved the world he gave his only son.

As Proverbs 4 says, “His words are life to us.” Let’s be rooted in them.

“Rooted” is a video devotional series intended to help you seek God’s face this Lent. Each short video explores a piece of our rootedness in Christ: “They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper” (Psalm 1:3). The videos were created by RCA women and men in partnership with Women’s Transformation and Leadership.

Video Lent Devotions from RCA April 6th

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Debra Rensink is a longtime resident of the northwest Iowa rural community of Sioux Center. She is married to her best friend, Mark, and has three married adult children and one grandson. Deb is an RCA pastor, but at this time is not actively serving a congregation. While seeking God’s direction for her future, Deb mentors women who are living in shelter after leaving an abusive relationship.

To be rooted means that you have firmly established yourself in the source from which you receive strength.

Difficult family and ministry events took place, which were depleting my strength and shallowing up my faith. I was clinging to the insufficient promises of this world, leaving me uprooted, directionless, and personally disconnected to God. I wasn’t deeply rooted anymore.

To help me become rooted again I began to cultivate the practice of Sabbath. Sabbath is being attentive to God, as well as to yourself, so I needed to step away from the orientation, distractions, and confusion of the world in order to reorient my relationship with God. When I did that, soon my inner spirit began to settle, and as God’s steadfast love and promises were brought back into focus I felt I had made it home! Being attentive to God, beginning to know him again, helped me to remember the faithful and unfailing promises he offers to me, and believe me, I needed to hear that over and over again.

When I felt inadequate I remembered that God is my adequacy. He promises to always supply. When I felt weak, I remembered, he is my strength. He is sufficient! When I became weary and burdened I accepted his invitation to come and rest. And when my plans failed I clung to the promise that his plan is for good, and not for disaster.

So during this season of Lent; steal away for a moment, an hour, a day. Be attentive to God, remembering his promises for you. May this keep you rooted, steady, and strong as you deepen your relationship with God.

“Rooted” is a video devotional series intended to help you seek God’s face this Lent. Each short video explores a piece of our rootedness in Christ: “They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper” (Psalm 1:3). The videos were created by RCA women and men in partnership with Women’s Transformation and Leadership