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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, March 27, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Matthew 25:31–39

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’” (NRSV)

When I read the assigned scripture for this devotion, I had a moment of apprehension. I read it twice and the meaning was clear—but I wasn’t sure if I myself would land squarely with the righteous group, seated at Christ’s right hand. Like them, I began questioning “When did I help clothe Christ? When did I take in a stranger? When did I visit someone in prison?”

I remember this scripture reading; Christ goes on to reassure the people that whenever they’ve helped someone, it’s as if they have shown kindness to Christ himself. What a simple yet profound message of love! Christ was and is the personification of the love God has for us. To follow Christ, is to love.

Living in Chicago, there’s always one more person I walk past who needs money/food/train fare/etc. I do help some, but others I pass by. I see them. I am mindful of them. I say a silent prayer for them—sometimes that’s the only thing I do.

I love and belong to Fourth Church because it shines Christ’s light out into the world, feeding hunger and souls with food, kindness, and respect. It offers inclusivity and sanctuary and works towards the reform of injustice. I take comfort in knowing that what I can give, working in concert with others’ gifts, extends the healing power of Christ’s love that much further out into the world. That is righteous, but it comes from God.

Holy Lord, know my heart and my gratitude for having enough food, shelter, and loving people around me. Bless those for whom these things are missing. Help me to help them, in the loving spirit of Christ. Amen.

Written by Holly O’Mara, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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