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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | John 8:31–38

Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word.

I declare what I have seen in the Father’s presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father.”  (NRSV)

Reflection
Do you ever feel like you’ve fallen into a pattern of bad luck, and you can’t get out of the rut? Suddenly you expect every outcome to be bleak, and you might start to cut corners, or you might start to withdraw from others or your favorite activities. Nothing seems to be going your way, so why attempt to make things better or put in more effort? It’s easier to just give in to the quick fix of things, even if it might not be the right or just way of doing something.

Alternatively, think of when someone has hurt you deeply or lost your trust. You might start to question other actions that person took or what their intentions were all along. And you might start to have that mindset about other people in your life—whether they’re an acquaintance or your closest friend.

In either situation, you might go down the rabbit hole of questioning your faith in God. Why would God allow such painful or hurtful results or actions to happen to you? What did you do to cause these repercussions? You might even question yourself and your capabilities to trust, forgive, or love.

This is what John’s Gospel speaks to today. When our minds dwell on negative situations, or where we or others went wrong, it’s easy to be stuck in that space of self-doubt and the doubt of others—including doubt in God and God’s love, which supersedes any negative outcome.

Jesus quickly reminds us of the real truth in which our minds and hearts should dwell. Our faith in God allows us to be set free from all the pain, anxiety, and misconceptions that often pop up in our daily lives and our relationships. God’s truth is much greater than any truth we create ourselves.

Prayer
Christ of truth and light, remind us to remain in your word, especially when we question ourselves and our sisters and brothers. Allow us to see beyond earthly explanations and to remain faithful to your path for us. Amen.

Written by Jackie Lorens Harris, Director, Chicago Lights Elam Davies Social Service Center

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