Easter Monday Devotional 4/22/19

Dear Friends:  Sending you all Easter blessings and gratitude for joining us for our Lenten journey this year (and also one more reflection!).  I am grateful for all of our writers and for the kind words you shared with me along the way.  Thank you for the many ways you reflect the mystery and beauty of the resurrection to our campus.


I’ve come to think that the only, the supreme prayer

we can offer up, during these hours

when the road before us is shrouded in darkness

is that of our Master on the Cross

‘Into your hands I commend my spirit’

to the hands that broke and gave life to the bread,

that blessed and caressed, that were pierced;…

to the kindly and mighty hands that reach down

to the very marrow of our souls– that mould and create–

to the hands through which so great a love is transmitted-

it is to these hands that it is good to surrender our soul,

above all when we suffer or are afraid.

And in doing so there is great happiness and great merit.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ


On Holy Saturday, TCU hosted Kwibuka 25.  Kwibuka means ‘to remember’ and describes the annual commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. Hundreds of members of the Rwandan community in DFW graced our campus, many wearing a traditional mushanana.  As survivors recounted their testimonies, members of the audience wept with fierce intensity.  And how could you not weep?  How could you not hold your hand over your mouth and feel overwhelmed with horror?

And then, on Easter, the attacks in Sri Lanka startled us all out of our Easter bliss.

And, dear friends, I don’t have pretty words to make us feel better.  I just don’t today.  Each time I read the news, I bear witness to more hate and more hate and more hate and my heart hurts so much I wish I could just turn it off.  The news, my heart.  All of it.

Please don’t ask me to think about the resurrection, God.  My heart is heavy. My spirit is weary.  Like the disciples after the crucifixion and burial of Jesus, I feel hopeless and afraid. I feel trapped in Good Friday as the world erupts in violence all around me.

It is good, then, that the Easter season is fifty days long.  The walk to communion each Sunday gives me more time to try to understand the Paschal Mystery.  To look for the Risen Christ in the bombed out buildings of Colombo, to see the Risen Christ in the eyes of my friends who survived the genocide in Rwanda, to hear the Risen Christ despite the noisy hate speech percolating online.  To be the Risen Christ to those most in need of the loving presence of God.


God, as Easter stretches into Pentecost Sunday, help me surrender my spirit to you.  Fill me with wisdom and strength as I look for the Risen Christ in our suffering world.  I pray, God, for fear to die in me; for hope to rise in me; for the courage to be Christ in hurting communities.

Britt Luby


Lenten Devotional 4/18/2019

Have you had the privilege of meeting TCU senior Lauren Keaney? Lauren, an early childhood education major, took time out of her busy student teaching semester to write this reflection for us.  She is spiritually wise well beyond her years, and I am delighted that she will be continuing her time at TCU to complete her M.Ed.


38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with [q]all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10: 38-42


What is the difference
Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?

The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God

And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move

That the saint is now continually
Tripping over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, “I Surrender!”

Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.


 During this season of Lent, the story of Mary and Martha has been a much-needed reality check for me. It began when a priest encouraged me to reflect on how my interactions with God reflect those of the two women in the story. Like many of you, I’m sure, I see myself in Martha a little more than I’d like to.

I think sometimes it is easy for us who are trying to figure out what it means to pursue God to go about doing so too much like Martha and not enough like Mary. We think we need to do, do, do in order to encounter God in our lives. Like Martha, we can get caught up in what we are doing in the name of Him and miss out on what He is already doing within us. We forget that our identity in is who we are as God’s creations and not in what we do. God already chose each one of us and there’s nothing more we need to do to generate his incomprehensible delight besides show up.

That’s what Mary did—she showed up. She simply sat with Jesus and listened to Him. Mary recognized that the core of the spiritual journey is knowing who God is, not just going through the motions. To know God, we must spend time in quiet contemplation—something that is hard to engage in when you’re preoccupied with all your “doing.” Like Hafiz’s poem so beautifully points out, the challenge is to transition from thinking you still “have a thousand serious moves” to being consumed with the joy that comes from knowing and trusting your Creator.


 Creator of all, help us to find time in our lives to spend in the quiet with you so that we may deeply know your presence within ourselves and within others. Show us how to balance the qualities of Martha and Mary as we pursue you every day.

Lenten Devotional 4/16/19

Today’s lovely words come from Dalton Goodier, Senior Admission Counselor in the Office of Admission.  Dalton, an active member of the Disciples of Christ community, serves as the face of the Disciples of Christ church for the Office of Admission.  His friends tell me that he is a perfect representation of TCU: smart, engaged, and rooted in the Disciples tradition.  To learn more about the student Disciples of Christ community on campus, DOC, visit their website.


“We probably need ‘unsaying prayer,’ the prayer of quiet or contemplative prayer, to balance out and ground all ‘saying prayer.’  Many seem to have little experience of prayer of quiet, and tend to actually be afraid of it or even condemn it.  They have not been taught what to do with their overactive minds, and so they are afraid of silence.  Without an inner life, our outer prayer will soon become superficial and ego-centered.”

– Richard Rohr


When I was younger, I asked a mentor about Paul’s command to “pray without ceasing” (1st Thessalonians 5:17). How can one pray continuously, without ever stopping? That’s when he taught me The Jesus Prayer, a short prayer meant to be recited over and over. Its words are simple: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Despite their simplicity, these words cover the entirety of our relationship with Christ. “Lord Jesus Christ” acknowledges that Jesus is the Christ, our personal lord and savior, while the next line, “have mercy on me”, asks Christ for forgiveness and brings us into union with God. The prayer ends with our own acknowledgement that we are sinners in the hands of a loving God—we are imperfect but made whole in oneness.

When my mentor taught me this prayer, he encouraged me to say it to myself, then to repeat it. And then to repeat it again. And again. And again.

That evening, I took a walk across campus, repeating the prayer in my head. It quickly became a mantra and even when I stopped focusing on the words and went back to studying and answering emails and talking to friends and doing the millions of other things that are always on our minds, the words continued to reverberate in my mind.

I’m a runner, and I’ll often repeat this prayer when I’m running around campus or out on the Trinity River. The words find their own rhythm, echoing with each footfall. Eventually, the words take over and it becomes less of a vocal prayer and more of an attitude and a state of being. When I find myself in this space, I am closer to my creator and their creation.

In the remaining days we have left in this Lenten season, I would encourage you to appreciate the world in all its beauty. Spend time with loved ones. Marvel at the springtime green that’s popping up all over campus. Enjoy a cup of coffee or a favorite TV show. When you do these things and acknowledge the love that made it all possible, then you will truly be praying without ceasing.


Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Devotional 4/11/2019

Today’s reflection comes from Dr. Paul Witt, professor in the Department of Communication Studies.  For over 20 years, he has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in theory, character, and intercultural communication.  He and his wife are active participants in the Christian community in Fort Worth and serve as marriage mentors at Gateway Church. They have one adult son.  When I saw his words about the importance of character in TCU Magazine, I knew he would be a great addition to our devotional collection.  I appreciate how practical and accessible his words are, and I hope they give you some examples of concrete practices to try as Easter approaches.


 “You are those who have stood by me in my trials.” Luke 22:28


Jesus spoke these words to his closest friends during his last week on earth. He was referring to the previous months when they had accompanied him throughout the countryside, into the city of Jerusalem, and right into the Temple itself. They had watched as Jesus endured rejection and ridicule from casual listeners and religious authorities alike. When he spoke these words in the Upper Room, the disciples had only an inkling of the trials that lay ahead in the next few hours and days.

Every year as Passion Week approaches, I travel alongside Jesus by reading the gospel accounts of how he spent each of his last ten days on earth. I try to “stand by him in his trials” as I read contemplatively, projecting myself into those significant events. Maybe you would like to do the same this year, beginning this Friday, April 12.

FRIDAY, a day of celebration (John 12:1-11). Jesus attended a dinner party in the home of friends.

SATURDAY, a Sabbath day. Not mentioned in the gospels, but we assume Jesus enjoyed a day of rest and worship “…as was His custom” Luke 4:16.

SUNDAY, an emotional day (Mark 11:1-11). Unrestrained joy, not unlike a true coronation of King Jesus.

MONDAY, a physical day (Matthew 21:12-17). Setting things right that had gone wrong, in the temple and in broken bodies.

TUESDAY, a day of instruction (Matthew 21:18 to 26:13). An unprecedented outpouring of principles, parables, prophecies, and vital facts about life in the Kingdom of God.

WEDNESDAY, a day of silence. Not mentioned in the gospels. Did Jesus withdraw alone to prepare for what was to come? Compare with Revelation 8:1, just before the end of all things.

THURSDAY, an intimate day (John chapters 13-16). Last words for those who knew Him best, as He showed them “the full extent of His love” John 13:1.

GOOD FRIDAY, a crucial day in human history (John chapters 17 to 19). Betrayal, arrest, desertion, false trials, condemnation, beatings, and crucifixion.

SATURDAY, a day of despair (Luke 23:55-56). Imagine the crushing grief of the disciples, who felt themselves to be “…without hope and without God in the world” Ephesians 2:12.

SUNDAY, Resurrection day (Matthew 28:1-20). We have celebrated this, THE LORD’S DAY, every Sunday for nearly 2000 years. He is risen indeed!


Lord, help me to faithfully observe the events of the Lenten season not only by attending church but also by reserving time each day for quiet contemplation. Don’t allow the frenzied pace of my 21st-century life to rob me of the honor of standing with you today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Lenten Devotional 4/9/2019

Today’s reflection comes from Charlotte Holliday, one of the sweetest souls to walk the TCU Campus.  Charlotte works in the Luther King Capital Management Center for Financial Studies in the Neeley School of Business.  She is a TCU graduate currently pursuing her MLA at TCU, and her oldest daughter is a junior on campus (it’s a true Frog Family!).  Her commitment to TCU, to her family, and to her faith is evident in the way she treats her community with kindness and care.


I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Romans 8:18

I want to know Christ-yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death.
Philippians 3:10


When I was a little girl I loved the week leading up to Easter. My mom would take me to the mall and buy me a new dress in a beautiful pastel color, new shoes, and a bow to match my dress. I loved getting all dressed up! There was always a different feeling at church on Easter than any other Sunday. There was an energy, an excitement, a joyful atmosphere. I knew then that Easter was the celebration of Jesus’s resurrection and I loved everything about that beautiful, bright Sunday.

But it wasn’t until I became an adult that I truly understood what Jesus went through the week leading up to Easter, making the day more bright and beautiful than ever before.  To fully experience the joy and gratefulness of Easter Sunday, one must know the events that led up to it.

One week before His resurrection, on Palm Sunday, Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem. It was a joyful day for crowds waving their palm branches as Jesus passed them on the donkey. As they shouted, “Hosanna in the highest”, Jesus knew what the coming days would bring…. On Monday, seeing money being changed at the Temple, Jesus began overturning the tables saying, “My Temple will be a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” On Tuesday, Jesus and his disciples went to the Mount of Olives and he gave the Olivet Discourse, a prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age. On Wednesday, Judas negotiated with the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus. On Thursday, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as they prepared to share in the Last Supper. During this meal, Jesus established communion, instructing his followers to remember his sacrifice by sharing in the elements. He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” After supper, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Sweating drops of blood, he prayed, “Father, take this cup from me, but not my will, but yours be done.” Late Thursday night, Jesus was betrayed by Judas’s kiss and arrested by the Sanhedrin. Peter denied knowing Jesus three times before the rooster crowed, just as Jesus had told him. On Friday, Jesus endured the shame of false accusations, condemnation, mockery, brutal beatings, and abandonment. He was pierced with a crown of thorns. After being beaten to near death, Jesus was exhausted, but was made to carry his own cross to Calvary. Jesus spoke few words while nailed to the cross, among them were, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing, Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit, it is done.” On Saturday, Jesus lay in the tomb and his body was ceremonially treated for burial with spices. On Sunday, Jesus’s mother and Mary Magdalene found Jesus’s tomb empty. An angel appeared saying, “Do not be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.”

Jesus suffered so much the week leading up to his death, but he shows us how to keep an eternal perspective while suffering in our broken world. It’s difficult for me to think about what Jesus endured the week before his resurrection, but it’s necessary to fully appreciate the joy, wonder, awe, and undeniable hope that Easter Sunday brings!


Dear Jesus, Thank you for everything that you went through for us. Thank you for loving us so much that you were willing to endure such mental, emotional, and physical anguish so that we may be forgiven of our sins and have eternal life with you in Heaven. As we reflect on the events of the week leading up to your death, burial and resurrection may we feel the somberness that comes with knowing what you suffered so that we may rejoice and feel the full effect of your resurrection on Easter Sunday.  AMEN

Lenten Devotional 4/2/2019

Today’s reflection comes from Jamartae Jackson, Program Coordinator in the Office of Inclusiveness and Intercultural Services.  Jamartae works closely with Community Scholars and First Generation students, and he brings authenticity and wisdom to his important work.  When I walk into a meeting and see Jamartae there, I know I’m in the right spot.  It means I’m working shoulder to shoulder with people advocating for marginalized students in tangible, important ways.


 7 May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.
8 For the sake of my family and friends,
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your prosperity.

Psalm 122:7-9


In life we go through struggles while looking for answers to the pain we endure. For times like this I lean into Psalms 122:7-9; it is a personal favorite of mine. My grandmother who recently passed away in October taught me this scripture. It allows me to make sense of all the pain and negativity of life. Recently I have leaned into this scripture because I am grieving her loss and this connects me to her. I miss her laugh, smile and genuine presence. Some days are great and some are not, but she’s prepared me and my family for this moment. For example, the thought of peace being within thy walls and prosperity within thy palaces forces me to reflect on the good times we had. It allows me to take the next step of my journey. The comfort I feel validates the word of God even more, because my guardian angel provides intentional reminders of how good he’s been to me. It’s hard to explain, but it does provide a peace unlike any other.

This reflection also leads me to the thought of that perfect peace described in Isaiah 26:3. The connection forces me to trust the most high in a way I’ve never had to before. In challenging times I encourage you to find your peace in struggle and love in your purpose. Always remember your light is meant to illuminate a path for others to follow and when your light is dim, your connection to your purpose is too. Be bold, vulnerable and willing to fight anyone in the way of your peace, including yourself.

Lenten Devotional 3/29/2019

Today’s devotional comes from Graham Watson, a business and religion student from the Disciples of Christ tradition. Graham loves to listen and think differently. Graham also writes a frogfolio called the Art of Hornedfroggedness under his alter ego Purple Thor.  It has been a gift to know him during his time at TCU.


“I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 (NRSV

Reflection: Happy Esther

Last week, many of our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrated Purim. This Jewish holiday commemorates God saving the Jewish population through Queen Esther. The Book of Esther records this history but doesn’t mention God. It’s a weird flex, but not unhelpful. This narrative can draw our attention to the people of faith. We get an outside view of people embodying the hands of God and an inside look at their struggle carry out God’s call on our lives.

In Christian community, it is easy to compare the way you see God working in other people’s lives with your own inner struggle. As Steven Furtick puts it, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

Drawing comparisons and insecurity are challenges faced by Christians and non-Christians alike, and it’s not a new problem. Esther, already recognized for her beauty, went through 12 months of beauty treatments before being “ready” to be in the presence of King Xerxes.

I don’t know how Esther felt, but this would make me feel pretty, pretty inadequate. As Christians, we learn to lean on God to handle our inadequacy, but we still doubt God and/or ourselves. Faith is difficult. For an outsider, Lent, Christianity, and trusting God can be daunting. How do we begin to prepare to express God’s glory or operate as God’s hands and feet? I don’t know. When faced with a big task, I too often procrastinate rather than trust in God. Here’s what I do know. I know that sometimes I need to step back, put in some hard work, and have faith. I can also witness that we express God’s glory every year, every day.

With faith and insecurity, it’s okay to struggle. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the expectations of God, of others, of the people we love, including ourselves. Esther struggled to meet the expectations of the king/her husband and her adopted father, Mordecai. She struggled to risk her life to save her people.

Jesus struggled too. In the garden of Gethsemane, our Redeemer struggled to follow the will of the Father and die (Mt. 26).

For me, a part of Lent is just showing up for that struggle. This Lent, I’ve learned to swallow the fact that my doubt, my emotions, my choices, my limited ability can all be obstacles to embodying the Gospel. Jesus is the spoon full of sugar that helps this medicine go down.

Our reliance on God is not something we swallow just once. I identify with Esther’s lack of confidence, but the story doesn’t end there. God empowers Esther to rise up and save the Jews.

My prayer is that this Lenten season, we too recognize God’s hand in leading all of God’s children to overcome obstacles. We might doubt ourselves and we might doubt God, but God will follow through.


Lenten Devotional 3/28/2019

Today’s reflection comes from David Abshire, Residence Hall Director for Samuelson and Carter Halls.  I love seeing David on campus because he always greets me with abounding enthusiasm.  He values supporting students on the margins, and this is evident in the way he treats every person he encounters with dignity.


 “He has told you, humanity, what is good, and what God is seeking from you: only to practice justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” –Micah 6:8


 This season has been a one of renewal for my heart; not through rest, but re-engagement. Over the past months, I had found myself fatigued by the troubles of life. I was unable to watch the news or scroll through my social media without feeling the emotional impact of troublesome, political issues. It was important for me to put down my phone, turn off the TV, and re-center myself. Don’t get me wrong – the rest was valuable – but my soul was still missing something: love in action. I decided that it was time to re-enter the conversation with remembrance of Micah 6:8: Seek Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly.

This justice-mercy-humility mindset has always been the game changer that revitalizes my heart during a tough season. As a learner, I value the humility of intellectual vulnerability and seeking understanding. I began watching more documentaries and reading about women’s issues, racial discrimination, education, poverty, and the LGBTQ experience. For me, learning about the suffering of others informs a humble perspective of my own agency in the world, cultivates a love for mercy for these communities, and reaches deep to re-ignite my heart’s craving for justice. In learning, reflection, and service, I have found my truest sense of self, fullness, and purpose. I believe that my calling of service to others requires that I seek to understand and care those that Christ has called me to serve; to soak my heart in their stories; to let compassion fill my chest; to stand with open arms; to join them in the struggle for justice.

During this season, watch a documentary, read a book, or listen to a podcast, about the experiences of oppressed communities. Hear their stories. Reflect deeply on your privileges and your ability to cause change. Find a cause to support. Put on your armor and follow Christ’s calling to seek justice for the widows, orphans, sick, afflicted, impoverished, and oppressed. Renew your promise to serve your fellow man.


God, please guide me down a path of humility so that I may serve and seek justice for my fellow man.

Lenten Devotional 3/26/2019

Today’s reflection comes to us from Dr. Charlotte Hogg, a professor in the TCU English Department.  I had the privilege of taking a creative non-fiction writing class from her many moons ago.  She is wise and funny, creative and kind; I’m honored to share her words with you this morning.


“Day by day
Day by day
Oh, Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day”  –Robin Lamont, Godspell, 1973


When I was quite young, my parents went on a rare date night to a movie; what they wanted to see was sold out, so they picked a film that had open seats: Godspell.  Even my stoic dad loved it, this musical version of the Gospel of Matthew in which Jesus and his disciples were portrayed as hippies, dancing in floppy hats and scrappy clothes. The disciples took in Jesus’ messages of love and inclusiveness.  My mom bought the soundtrack, and I would listen over and over again to the songs, not fully understanding all of the messages.

Years later I bought Godspell on DVD, feeling sunny as they sang and danced to these songs that took me back to my childhood and where the diverse cast of apostles beamed when in the presence of Jesus. The movie was critically panned and controversially ends with the crucifixion and not the resurrection, and yet watching it was joyful, a reminder that the parables in the Gospel of Matthew are both as simple and as complicated as humans, but mostly a reminder that Jesus is all about compassion and love.  I listen to the soundtrack repeatedly during Lent, taking in its earnestness and awe that can feel so hard to come by these days.  It slows me down during what in the school calendar is usually a most frantic time, the song “Day By Day” taking on an almost meditative quality with its repetition and hopefulness to find the Lord more fully.


Dear Lord:  help me know and remember that every day is a chance to reset and seek to know you better, and in the process move beyond the busy-ness and details that can overtake our days.  Help me most of all to practice the love and compassion modeled by Jesus day by day. 

[Godspell, photo from Patheos.com]

Lenten Devotional 3/22/19

Today’s devotional comes to us from an actual human ray of sunshine, Vanessa Roberts Bryan.  As Assistant Dean of Student Development Services, Vanessa provides leadership and infectious energy to a variety of campus programs.  She works tirelessly to make our community better.


Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
(excerpt from Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, lyrics by Helen H. Lemmel)

“Let us keep looking to Jesus. Our faith comes from Him and He is the One who makes it perfect. He did not give up when He had to suffer shame and die on a cross. He knew of the joy that would be His later. Now He is sitting at the right side of God.”  – Hebrews 12:2


For many of us, the crucifix can be an intimidating and painful image to think about.  Many times we want to speed through the agony of the passion and crucifixion to quickly get to the joy of the resurrection.  By doing this, we can miss the gifts that come from reflecting on Jesus’ sacrifice.

I was a freshman in college the first time I attended confession and really felt God speaking to me through the sacrament.  My campus minister, Fr. Dean, gave me what I thought at the time was a very odd penance.  He told me to sit in the sanctuary and gaze upon Jesus on the cross.  He said to really spend time looking at Jesus, reflecting on his pain and suffering, but also reflecting on his immense love.  As I sat in the pew with no specific prayer to recite, I felt confused.  But, I did as I was instructed – gaze upon Jesus.  In those moments I got lost in Jesus’ holy face.  I was moved to tears by his mighty love and the beautiful sacrifice he made for me.  Just as the hymn and scripture say, the longer I focused on Jesus’ wonderful face, the more the things of the earth, my worries and fears, became strangely dim.

Praying in front of the crucifix or with the passion is one of my favorite ways to pray, especially during Lent.  Gazing deeply into the eyes and face of Jesus, I am reminded of his pain, but more importantly I am reminded of his mighty sacrifice and love for me.

Take time this Lent to truly and deeply reflect upon Jesus’ passion and crucifixion.  Imagine yourself there with him.  Pray for the grace to feel his great love through his great sacrifice.


Gracious and loving God, open my eyes and my heart to the experience of your passion.  Help me to find healing and love in your beautiful sacrifice.  In your holy name, Amen.