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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | John 15:9–17

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another. (NRSV)

Abiding in God’s love is easier said than done. What is it about our world and history that teaches us to be so self-critical and so critical of others? How easily we can forget that God reaches out and loves us even before birth, before our intellectual awareness, before the moment we notice God’s presence.

As this text reminds us, without experiencing a grounding in God’s love, we’re less effective in living out our calls. We’re less loving toward others. We’re less bold in standing up for God’s justice in our world.

I found myself in an anxious rut a while ago and decided I needed to take some kind of proactive step in simply just remembering how deeply God loves me and each of us. So I decided to set my morning alarm with the words “God loves you more than you can imagine.” Now, every day when my alarm wakes me up in the morning, this is the message and the thought I first have. Are there days I don’t notice it? Sure. Has it radically changed my life? No. Does it warm my heart and help me start my day when I do notice? Absolutely.

We receive more messages in our world that we are not enough than that we are loved, and it’s something we’re working against every day. Thankfully church is a place where we can hold each other up in community when we’re overburdened by the “not enoughs.”

I pray that whether it’s through an alarm, a message on your bathroom mirror, or something else, you can remember today how deeply God loves you.

Creator God, help us remember your deep love for us. Amen.

Written by Abbi Heimach-Snipes, Pastoral Resident

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