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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | 1 Timothy 1:15–17

The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost. But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (NRSV)

Although this is a short passage, it comes from a larger context. The author has much gratitude toward Jesus for transforming him from being a violent persecutor to becoming a changed man. We may or not relate to this, but I bet we all have reasons why we turn to Jesus in our life.

My faith journey has continually been “getting to know Jesus again for the first time,” to borrow a phrase from a Marcus Borg book. But as much as that personal connection with Jesus is important and its impact transformative, we practice in a tradition that values a communal relationship with Christ too.

When I think about Jesus entering the world to save sinners, I remember how he didn’t just speak to individuals but to people who had roles in particular religious and state offices, how he healed and connected with outcasts, women, children, the sick. I remember how he died a brutal death in a way that targeted political criminals. So my relationship with Jesus Christ is not just about how I’m working to follow God’s way. I’m orienting my life towards a world that is transformative for everyone, where everyone’s dignity and worth is restored and valued.

In Advent, we’re invited to wait for Jesus again and long for this world for which he lived, died, and rose. You and so many others are reading this now. You are not alone in your faith journey and longings. May we hold our faith community together in this holy Advent season.

God, we pray for all of us who are reading this devotion today. Be with us in our faith journey as we wait for Jesus’ birth again and long for the transformation you bring. Amen.

Written by Abbi Heimach-Snipes, Pastoral Resident

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