Lenten Devotion for March 21, 2023

The writers in Good Courage, the 2023 United Church daily devotion book for Lent have taken their readers on journeys to places that for many of us, are outside our experience. I think that’s good. Lent is a season for self-examination and growth.

To visit, even briefly, the hard places where people dwell, and struggle, and look for meaning and hope, is a good thing.

A few years ago I was on the writing team for one of these Lenten books. It was an honour to be asked. It’s humbling now, to see how much deeper into places of vulnerability and pain this year’s writers have gone, than I went with my writing. They have shown such, well, Good Courage.

Amy Panton’s pieces have been particularly challenging. Today she asked how we might respond if someone in our life revealed they practised self-harm. The character she creates for us to meet wants to be accepted for who they are.

I could not tell, from the brief sketch, if this person wants to be accepted as someone who has found in self-harm a necessary coping mechanism that they have no desire to stop, or if the person wants to be accepted as someone who is struggling to find healthier ways to cope.

I’m not sure my question would matter all that much, in the moment the person revealed the scars on their arms from cutting. I think they might just want to know that the person they chose to hear their story, would listen.

Amy Panton, the writer of today’s devotion is doing important work. Check out her website, podcast, and The Canadian Journal of Thelology, Mental Health and Disability.

The website:


The Podcast:


The Podcast in Video Form, with captions, on Youtube:


The Journal:


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