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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Romans 12:9–13

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. (NRSV)

Being a choir director, one of my responsibilities is telling singers when— for the sake of the text or musical phrase—they can take a breath and when they cannot. However, there are times when the text or musical phrase is too long, so I tell the choir to stagger their breathing so that one singer can drop out, catch their breath, and allow the group to carry the music onward. When this happens, the listener cannot tell that an individual has dropped out, and the music continues on beautifully, because the ensemble carries the music together.

Today’s scripture passage is called “Marks of the True Christian,” and it provides an idealistic way of living the Christian life. We all try to live up to these ideals, to “let love be genuine, hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.” But we also all fail at one time or another to live up to these ideals. In those moments I am thankful that we are in a loving community together. So when I have a bad moment and don’t feel especially loving, I see the genuine love from someone else and am thankful for their reminder.

That is one of the blessings of being in community at a church, workplace, home, or any gathering of caring, loving individuals. The love does not end or begin with me alone; I am only one voice in the choir of many who are carrying the song of love onward. I take my turn singing in that song of love, but when I, or my neighbor, step out to take a breath, the song goes on. The love never ends.

Loving God, I thank you for your neverending love. Help me to share that love with all whom I encounter. When I am not up to that task, I thank you for those that carry the song of love always forward. Amen.

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

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