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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, April 30, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Matthew 6:1–6, 16–18

“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (NRSV)

Reflection
On Saturday, July 13, 1991, my life changed in an instant. I was practicing the organ in Walnut Creek, California, when Kara came to visit the church. The sanctuary door was locked, but I let Kara in and we talked for three hours. The conversation never stopped after that. Kara and I had so much in common and we enjoyed everything together—eating together, going to concerts, hiking, and endless conversations. I couldn’t stop thinking about Kara. Sometimes when Kara and I were separated for extended times I sensed we were drifting apart, but we worked to continue the conversation with daily letters and reminders of our love. I even decided to fly halfway around the world to visit Kara when I sensed that our relationship had really cooled down, and that effort brought us closer together than ever before. Eventually Kara and I decided to get married exactly one year to the day after we met in California.

Now read that paragraph again, but this time take out Kara’s name and insert the word God.

That is the relationship we should seek with God. Not a relationship that only lasts for one hour on Sunday morning but one that is all consuming and endless; a relationship that is intentional and thoughtful, built on sharing and conversation. It is a relationship that may cool down at times, but it can always be revived because there is a deep sense of knowing and being known by the other. In that knowledge of each other comes trust and faith. It takes effort every day, but every day the relationship becomes stronger, deeper, and more wonderful.

Prayer
God, lover of my soul, help me to love you with my whole being so that I may become one with you now and in eternity. Amen.

Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music


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