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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 105:1–6, 37–45

O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,
   make known his deeds among the peoples.
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
   tell of all his wonderful works.
Glory in his holy name;
   let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Seek the Lord and his strength;
   seek his presence continually.
Remember the wonderful works he has done,
   his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,
O offspring of his servant Abraham,
   children of Jacob, his chosen ones.

Then he brought Israel out with silver and gold,
   and there was no one among their tribes who stumbled.
Egypt was glad when they departed,
   for dread of them had fallen upon it.
He spread a cloud for a covering,
   and fire to give light by night.
They asked, and he brought quails,
   and gave them food from heaven in abundance.
He opened the rock, and water gushed out;
   it flowed through the desert like a river.
For he remembered his holy promise,
   and Abraham, his servant.

So he brought his people out with joy,
   his chosen ones with singing.
He gave them the lands of the nations,
   and they took possession of the wealth of the peoples,
that they might keep his statutes
   and observe his laws.
Praise the Lord! (NRSV)

As we face challenges or feel alone, it is helpful to reflect and savor the blessings we have experienced. As I prepare to welcome a new class of graduate students, I think back to when I started school filled with angst or excited plus, as a friend would say.

In a new city (pre-Facebook) you would meet classmates and roommates on the day you land on campus. No profiles to skim or pings to send out, you have to take a leap and introduce yourself to a stranger. You both bound into a mutual shared vulnerability. I can recall the faces of those that extended themselves. Those individuals who wanted to learn my name and my interests.

Over time, the conversations would be less forced and natural and soon nonstop. The friends you sat next to in class who cheered you up when an exam didn’t go your way or that first date ended up being the last date. The friends with whom you argued Jordan vs. Bird long after midnight. Or who shared a painful memory and listen to yours.

By graduation, the angst you feel is not about starting school but leaving. As you exit, you are richer for the shared experiences and treasured memories.

Rejoice and give thanks to the friends and teachers who believed in us and helped us learn and grow. Give thanks to the champions who have gone before us and reside only in our warmest memories. Gracious God, help us to be champions to those who are new and are filled with angst. Help us extend grace and love to all your people. Amen.

Written by Ranjan Daniels, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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