Cup of Blessing

Scripture: Matthew 5:6

We accepted it academically.

We believed it conceptually.

Now we know it personally: the Triune God cannot be bound by time, space, or place.

This understanding is one of the blessings Christ’s church has received from the horrible virus, COVID-19.

Sitting at my dining room table, leading worship, and officiating the Lord’s Supper on Zoom feels different from standing physically at the Communion Table before the people of God.

Yet, the bread and wine are no less valuable for those worshiping and communing at home.

God works through the elements, regardless of time, space, or place.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, he does good work within us and through us.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

– Matthew 5:6

Do I prefer in-person worship? Of course.

But the Lord keeps reminding me that this virus does not separate us from God’s love.

This virus allows us to show hospitality in new ways and show how we take joy in protecting the “least” among us as God’s people.

We still are blessed to be a blessing.

We still are the body of Christ, empowered as we faithfully move beyond the walls of our church buildings to seek and promote righteousness, exhibiting the kingdom of heaven to the world.

Prayer: Dearest Lord, thank you for giving your life – the ultimate sacrifice – so we might have hope. Help us share your eternal kingdom of love and grace here on Earth with the lost and lonely. Amen.

Katy Yates Brungraber, Chambersburg, PA


A daily Lenten devotional reprinted with permission from The Society of St. Andrew to inspire help sharing nourishing food with neighbors in need. 

Every $1 donated provides more than 40 servings to those in greatest need. A donation of $47 for the 47 days in Lent provides more than 1,880 servings. 

What a way to celebrate the resurrection of hope and lift the cup of salvation for our hungry neighbors! 

So Many Blessings

Scripture: Psalm 126:3

Blessings are raining down, like meteor showers, all around us, but not actually on you or me.

There are no blessings in our waiting hands, none in our empty cups.

We must be invisible!

Then someone says, “Have a blessed day,” and that changes everything!

With those four little words, someone has shared their blessings with us.

Did they have so many blessings that their cup was running over?

How many blessings did they share?

Are our cups now full and will they also run over?

We’ve gone from feeling totally invisible to enjoying an abundance of blessings, because someone not only cared, but shared – what an excellent example of improving our world.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord, for sending blessings upon blessings, even when our cups are already full. Help us remember that when we share our blessings, we are praising you. Amen.

Carolyn P. Maness, Lynchburg, VA


A daily Lenten devotional reprinted with permission from The Society of St. Andrew to inspire help sharing nourishing food with neighbors in need. 

Every $1 donated provides more than 40 servings to those in greatest need. A donation of $47 for the 47 days in Lent provides more than 1,880 servings. 

What a way to celebrate the resurrection of hope and lift the cup of salvation for our hungry neighbors! 

The Whys of Life

Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:5

“Oh gee, Mommy, why…?”

When I asked my older siblings what they remembered about me as a child, that phrase is what they recall me saying about everything.

It seems I was curious to know the answer to all the whys of life: why I had to come when called; why I was the youngest; why birds flew?

You name it, and I asked, “Why?”

Later in life, I understand for every “why” question I have, the answer is often “why not?”

Why, after years of study and attaining a professional degree, did I develop cancer?

Why is there hunger in a world of plenty?

Why do loved ones sometimes cause heartache?

Why did my spouse die, leaving me with so many loose ends to figure out?

And the answer is: Why not? 

For me, “why not” as the answer is realizing that it is not for me to know everything.

My attitude to all the good or bad things that happen is what matters to God.

For it is in my perspective toward the questions of life that I can give God honor.

My curiosity, a gift, led to my life-long learning, and my attitude is the choice I make as a “Cup of Salvation” – my offering that honors God. 

Prayer:
Gracious and loving God, continue to lead me this Lenten season to ways of honoring you in how I respond to the life you have given me. Amen. 

Audrey Benjamin
North Mankato, MN


A daily Lenten devotional reprinted with permission from The Society of St. Andrew to inspire help sharing nourishing food with neighbors in need. 

Every $1 donated provides more than 40 servings to those in greatest need. A donation of $47 for the 47 days in Lent provides more than 1,880 servings. 

What a way to celebrate the resurrection of hope and lift the cup of salvation for our hungry neighbors! 

Can I Borrow a Cup of Salvation?

Scripture: Romans 1:16

We all struggle with doubts – uncertainty about the future, ourselves, our faith.

These may last a few moments or stretch into days, even years.

When bad things happen, my faith quivers – school shootings, domestic violence, terrorist attacks, the list goes on.

The cup of Salvation eludes me.

On 9/11, I was in my office across the street from the US Capitol.

I didn’t leave until after United 93 crashed in Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon was hit.

I cried on the 20th anniversary watching the coverage, reliving the day.

As shattering as it was, I will never forget the horror of the realization that there can be so much hatred and pure evil in the world.

In the movie “Oh, God,” Jerry Landers (played by John Denver) asked God (portrayed by George Burns), “Why is there so much evil in the world?”

And God told him: “It’s up to us – we can love each other or kill each other.”

I have to wonder – why can’t we all get along? 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 

– Romans 1:16

When things are going badly, and I can’t find my way out of whatever hole I’m in, I listen to my heart and find comfort that God is with me and will stay with me no matter what.

It stills my troubled heart and calms my fears.

So, THERE’S my cup of Salvation!

Prayer:
Loving God – thank you for being with us at all times, through good days and heartaches, tragedies, and happiness. We find strength and hope in our belief in you. Amen. 

Kathi Wise, McLean, VA


A daily Lenten devotional reprinted with permission from The Society of St. Andrew to inspire help sharing nourishing food with neighbors in need. 

Every $1 donated provides more than 40 servings to those in greatest need. A donation of $47 for the 47 days in Lent provides more than 1,880 servings. 

What a way to celebrate the resurrection of hope and lift the cup of salvation for our hungry neighbors! 

A Cup of Gratitude

Scripture: Psalm 23:5

In the Bible, a cup can be a cup (Matthew 26:27), or it can be a metaphor for an abundance of providential destiny – welcome or unwelcome.

A cup can symbolize blessings, saving grace, the righteous anger of God, disaster, consolation, or the sacrifice and suffering of our Lord.

These metaphorical cups reflect two connected themes: God’s divine judgment and God’s merciful redemption.

Jesus “drank” the cup of wrath on our behalf so that we might, by faith, “drink” the cup of eternal life. Praise God!

In Psalm 116, the Psalmist shares his reaction to deliverance from trouble, sorrow, and death.

“I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living….” 

“I will take the cup of Salvation and call upon the name of the Lord….” “I will pay my vows unto the Lord in the presence of all His people….” 

“I will offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the Lord.”

–  Psalm 116:12,9,13,14,17

No matter what circumstances I face, my response can be gratitude.

God so loved the world that He sent His only Son to die for us, and whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life.

For that alone, I should be the most grateful individual on Earth!

Prayer:
Dear Lord, I will lift the cup of Salvation heavenward this Easter. Thank you for filling it with Jesus. Amen.

Andi Lehman, Hernando, MS


A daily Lenten devotional reprinted with permission from The Society of St. Andrew to inspire help sharing nourishing food with neighbors in need. 

Every $1 donated provides more than 40 servings to those in greatest need. A donation of $47 for the 47 days in Lent provides more than 1,880 servings. 

What a way to celebrate the resurrection of hope and lift the cup of salvation for our hungry neighbors! 

“Finders Keepers … Losers Weepers?”

Scripture: Mark 8:35, Matthew 13:44-45

When I was little, there was a catchphrase one would quickly call out if some treasure, like a shiny marble or lost baseball, were found without an owner present.

“Finders keepers…Losers weepers!”

Until a recent Google search, I never realized my childhood shout-out was an old Roman proverb, going back to the playwright Plautus before the time of Christ.

Might Jesus as a boy have heard a Roman legionnaire exclaim?

Jesus told parables of finding a buried treasure in a field and the pearl of great price, but, unlike in the old Roman proverb, the finder must give up all they have to possess the joy of the treasure.

Thus, once again, Jesus turns the ways and wisdom of the world upside down on its head.

As a young man, I studied Latin to become a professor or an archeologist in a faraway country.

God’s call diverted my love of classics to proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ.

“Losing” my career dream led to “finding” the treasures of 40 years of ordained ministry which included teaching in the seminary and pastoring in the local church.

A losing weeper became a finding keeper – and so can you.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, by your gracious mercy, may we experience the paradox of your wisdom, that only in losing ourselves do we become the finders and keepers of your most genuine treasures, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

William Nash Wade, Strasburg, VA


A daily Lenten devotional reprinted with permission from The Society of St. Andrew to inspire help sharing nourishing food with neighbors in need. 

Every $1 donated provides more than 40 servings to those in greatest need. A donation of $47 for the 47 days in Lent provides more than 1,880 servings. 

What a way to celebrate the resurrection of hope and lift the cup of salvation for our hungry neighbors! 

One Cup of Blessing

Scripture: Psalm 116:13

A beautiful song comes to mind, and I find myself humming its soothing tune.

The words resonate deeply as I ponder the giver and the receiver – the divine and the human – that there is no distinction.

“One bread, one body, one Lord of all … one cup of blessing which we bless …”

This cup of blessing is a free gift of grace from God – Love poured out toward all of creation, and I am but a small breath of time, yet extravagantly beloved for all eternity.

In considering this blessing that is my life, how am I to respond?

I can do no other than to bless as well.

From this one blessing given, I began writing prayers.

Asked by our parish priest to compose special “Prayers of the People” to observe the first anniversary of September 11th, I’ve written the “Prayers of the People” weekly for the last 19 years.

I share those prayers with friends and other congregations, and I hope they bless those who hear them.

I pray you spend time in silence and solitude uncovering your own cup of blessing and the mercy that is our salvation.

Prayer:
In thanksgiving for every Eucharist of blessing, O Lord, we bless and praise your Holy Name. Blessed forever, we are one in You. Amen.

Nancy Severin, Fort Morgan, CO


A daily Lenten devotional reprinted with permission from The Society of St. Andrew to inspire help sharing nourishing food with neighbors in need. 

Every $1 donated provides more than 40 servings to those in greatest need. A donation of $47 for the 47 days in Lent provides more than 1,880 servings. 

What a way to celebrate the resurrection of hope and lift the cup of salvation for our hungry neighbors! 

That First Cup of Coffee

Scripture: Luke 21:20

Every kitchen and hotel room in the United States has one thing in common, a coffee pot.

Not all the same, but the pots all make that first cup of coffee most people think they need to start their day.

As I enjoyed my cup of coffee this morning, I thought about the cup of Salvation, given to every one of us who believe in the risen Savior, Jesus the Christ.

We tend to take that cup of coffee for granted; it will be there wherever we are, but how often do we think about that cup of Salvation that is also there no matter where we are?

During this season of Lent, let us remember that Jesus prepared that cup for each of us with his shed blood, providing deliverance from guilt and the power of sin for us.

As we enjoy that first cup of coffee, let us remember the grace and mercy given freely to each of us but paid in full by Jesus our Lord to all who believe.

Prayer:

Help us to remember every day the sacrifice you made for us and the wonderful gift of the cup of Salvation you provided for each of us. Amen.

Doris Hedrick, Natural Bridge, VA


A daily Lenten devotional reprinted with permission from The Society of St. Andrew to inspire help sharing nourishing food with neighbors in need. 

Every $1 donated provides more than 40 servings to those in greatest need. A donation of $47 for the 47 days in Lent provides more than 1,880 servings. 

What a way to celebrate the resurrection of hope and lift the cup of salvation for our hungry neighbors! 

Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

Scripture: Psalm 116:17

The dancer took her place at the front of the sanctuary.

Her body was loosely bent, her head bowed, and her arms draped lightly to her sides.

As the pianist’s notes and choir voices joined together, “…Fill My Cup, Lord…” began to reverberate throughout the sacred space.

The dancer stretched and raised her right hand in a graceful upswept arc to the left; then, in a moment, with her left hand mirrored the movement to the right, the emerging shape of a chalice could be discerned in the air.

During the following minutes, the dancer illustrated the prayerful words of the entire song.

The congregation’s worshippers, long accustomed to the gifts of vocal and instrumental music, were moved to both hear and see the plea for filling sustenance and the hope for overflowing wholeness.

The rhythmic movement of fingers striking piano keys, the range of vocal inflections and facial expressions, and the expressive choreographed steps attested to hours of practice and planning attuned to innate abilities and learned skills.

As the concluding chord and last syllable rang, the dancer’s final pose fixed, the offering lingered; indeed, a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving was made to the Lord.

Prayer:
Thanks be to you, O God!

We are forever grateful for your sacrifice of love poured out in Jesus.

Let our offerings of time, abilities, talents, material resources, and constant prayer be a sacrifice of thanksgiving from our hearts to yours.

In Christ, Amen.


Kathleen Overby Webster
McGaheysville, VA


A daily Lenten devotional reprinted with permission from The Society of St. Andrew to inspire help sharing nourishing food with neighbors in need. 

Every $1 donated provides more than 40 servings to those in greatest need. A donation of $47 for the 47 days in Lent provides more than 1,880 servings. 

What a way to celebrate the resurrection of hope and lift the cup of salvation for our hungry neighbors! 

Cup of Blessing

Scripture: Psalm 16:5a

A cup may be full of blessings or curses.

Read on to drink from the cup of blessing!

They canceled school. Instead of doing homework I went sledding.

As I returned home from sleigh riding in the new-fallen snow, Mom handed me a steaming cup of homemade hot chocolate.

What a cup of blessing!

When the Hebrew people lifted a cup of drink to their lips, they tasted blessing.

They drank from a cup of abundance as the fruit of their land flourished, blessed by sunshine, rain, and protection from their enemies.

For short, King David says, “The Lord is …my cup.” 

The Lord is the Shepherd who provides the cup.

A cup was also a cup of judgment in the Bible because Israel fixed its desire on things other than God alone.

As such, the people must drink this “cup of his wrath.”

Every one of us has set our hearts on things other than God.

For this, the punishment is the cup of His wrath.

Now, we celebrate the cross and resurrection because Jesus drank from the cup of God’s wrath freeing us from the punishment for our sins.

Now, the cup Jesus offers is the cup of forgiveness for sin.

The cup of his curse became the cup of our blessing.

Drink from his cup of blessing today!

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for drinking the cup of the curse that I may drink your cup of blessing.

In Jesus’s name, I pray. Amen. 

Tom Thomas
Forest, VA


A daily Lenten devotional reprinted with permission from The Society of St. Andrew to inspire help sharing nourishing food with neighbors in need. 

Every $1 donated provides more than 40 servings to those in greatest need. A donation of $47 for the 47 days in Lent provides more than 1,880 servings. 

What a way to celebrate the resurrection of hope and lift the cup of salvation for our hungry neighbors! 

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