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Our fourth Lent devotion is from Cheyne Collier, a Spiritual Life intern at Habitat for Humanity International.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. — Romans 15:5-6 (New International Version)

We don’t value friendship as much in our contemporary times, and many publications report that we are in a “friendship recession” in the United States. We typically imagine it as a transition phase to other romantic or professional partnerships and forget the power that comes with supporting others. The lack of meaningful friendship in our partnerships is negatively affecting work, mental health and our ability to strive to live well together. It is easy to focus too negatively on these divisions during seasons of sacrifice like Lent, but let us also remember that we reflect on the broken to seek restoration.

In Romans, Paul sees these effects in the Roman Church as he works through conflict with many diverse people. You have the major camps of the Jewish people and the Gentiles, but each of those groups comes from various sects, ethnicities and religious practices across the world, all with conflicting views of what is good for the new Christian movement. Paul finds the solution to the issues of this community in the others-centred love of Jesus, who was friends with tax collectors and sinners and whose closest disciples were a motley crew of people with different views and backgrounds.

We have known the power of partnership from very early on at Habitat, and it has been a staple of our mission to build adequate housing. This is why such partnership values were at the heart of the Spiritual Life team’s work on our Faith Foundations. We recognize that walking humbly with God allows us to be open to loving all of our neighbours. We are required to love others from diverse places and support each other’s burdens, especially in this season, because Lent is not just about sacrifice but sacrifice for the restoration of right relationships in the world. As we discipline ourselves to take on difficult challenges, let’s remember that we cannot wait for others to bring these partnerships to us. We must model and seek out this burden-bearing and encouraging love because it can be the light in the darkness, not only for those we serve but for ourselves also.


Loving and ever-present God, You empower us through Your love to do the impossible, but You do not leave us to do it alone. Let us find Your image in all people and work together. May we support and encourage the friendships and partnerships that You will bring us from unexpected places. May we grow through differences and challenges to bring Your vision of adequate housing for all. May we not wait for others to find us but instead seek love and listen as we forge new connections. In Your holy name, Amen.

Read our 2024 Lent Devotions here

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