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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Hebrews 4:12–16

Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account. Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (NRSV)

Reflection
For a passage that discusses grace, the author finds a way to lift up a scary God. The sharpness of God that is described might awaken us to the transparency in which God understands us, knows us, seeks us. But this doesn’t need to be a terrifying aspect of God. This can be a refreshing gift.

Think about if we had the capacity to hide parts of us from God. We might spend more of our efforts faking our goodness instead of spending our efforts productively—learning about ourselves with God, being honest, discerning how God is calling us into service for the world. Well, we might be doing this anyways, but grace! Grace is a beautiful and hard-to-understand gift, because it’s countercultural to what we’re used to experiencing in the world: shame and judgment. Through grace, God knows us intimately, loves us intimately, and empowers us to keep following God. We can be real with God, which opens up something in us. Our realness makes space for the growth God calls us into.

There’s a book called The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron about practices for awakening the artist in each of us. One of the main practices is what she calls “morning pages”—every morning writing three pages worth of stream-of-conscious thoughts in a journal. It’s a dumping of all that’s in our head, all that we’re carrying and worrying about. She’s seen in so many that these morning pages help open space for the creativity in us that’s wanting to come out.

Isn’t grace somewhat like this? God’s grace lifts a burden and brings us even closer to God and the world in which we’re seeking.

Prayer
Let us dwell in the gift of your grace today, God. Amen.

Written by Abbi Heimach-Snipes, Pastoral Resident


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