Lent 2018: Reflections from Current and Former Volunteers 2018 Lenten Reflection Guide - Page 3
March 1, 2017
T hinking about recompense and repayment for doing
righteous deeds and for praying in secret is an odd experience when
you’re doing a year of service through a faith-based organization. Am
I supposed to keep secret the work that I’m doing during this year?
Should I quietly go about it and not share my experience with others?
Is it wrong for me to want to tell my stories from my placement? Do I
expect recompense from God for this year of service?
To answer those questions, a colleague suggested turning to Brazos
Theological Commentary on the Bible: Matthew by Stanley Hauerwas.
Hauerwas cites Bonhoeffer when questioning how to be the light
of the world (Matt. 5:16) while also doing righteous deeds in secret.
He writes, “According to Bonhoeffer, the hiddenness that should
characterize the disciples’ action applies to the disciple” (p. 74).
Hauerwas expands on this idea by saying that we must be apprentices
of Jesus and learn to forget ourselves in our actions and act selflessly
as Jesus did instead of doing such things for praise and recognition.
There’s a subtle beauty of the Lenten season of fasting and praying
beginning with Ash Wednesday falling on St. Valentine’s Day. Instead
of worrying about all of those questions, perhaps my prayers and
meditations should be on how I can follow in Christ’s way by selflessly
loving others just for the sake of loving them and expecting nothing in
return from them or from God.
As I’ve journeyed in my spirituality this year, I’ve questioned why I believe what I
do. In conversations with those who have different beliefs, I’ve learned that there’s
truth in everyone’s spirituality and that none is inherently better than others. As I’ve
struggled with this reading and with how I express my spirituality, I’ve learned that
it’s okay to question what I believe and that growth and strength of conviction come
from those conversations and that struggling. This passage confirms that for me as
I continue to live out and journey in my spirituality during this faith-based year of
During this Lenten season, I challe nge myself and others to engage even more
deeply with your communities. There is so much to learn about our communities and
the work that is being done there. Throughout Lent, I challenge myself to listen more
intently to the needs of my organization and my city and to ask of others what I can
contribute instead of giving alms without research.
About the Author: Katrina Buchanan, currently serving with Lutheran
Hailing from Erie, PA, Katrina Buchanan is serving as the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America’s Justice for Women program assistant in Chicago through
the Lutheran Volunteer Corps. She is a graduate of Robert Morris University in
Pittsburgh, PA with a degree in English, a minor in public relations, and a secret
minor in theater. A former hockey player and a lifelong hockey fan, she can be heard
coaching the Erie Otters from the stands when visiting home or through enthusiastic
tweets while she serves in the Windy City.
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
“Take care not to perform
righteous deeds in order
that people may see
them;otherwise, you will
have no recompense from
your heavenly Father.”
~ prayer ~
Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument
of your peace. Where there
is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I
may not so much seek to be
consoled as to console; to be
understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love; For it
is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are
pardoned; it is in dying that
we are born again to eternal