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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, April 24, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | John 20:19–23           

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (NRSV)

I don’t remember her name, but I will never forget the conversation we had in February of 2013. Fourth Church had sent a group on a music mission trip to Cuba, and we were visiting Matanzas Seminary, about an hour from Havana. The seminary was founded in 1946, before the Cuban revolution, to train Presbyterian, Methodist, and Episcopal clergy and other church leaders. The setting for the seminary is a beautiful oasis, high on hill, with lush landscapes and a large garden where they grow much of the food eaten at the seminary.

Our group had sung in their chapel, and we had learned about the mission of the seminary before and during the Castro years. Then we were given some free time. One of the professors who spoke with us was alone, so I and some others went up to her to get her personal story about what it was like to be in Cuba during the Castro years. She began teaching at the seminary in the late 1950s and had witnessed so much history. She said she saw the seminary as the source of a great stream of water that was flowing into the Cuban culture, bringing with it healing and truth. Each student that the seminary influenced went on to touch others, and thus the stream flowed on and on from this oasis on the hill.

Jesus said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Jesus sends each one of us to be that stream, bringing healing and truth into a world that needs it so very much. Knowing one seminary professor who held on to that mission throughout all of the Cuban revolution gives me hope to hold on to it also, even now, and always.

Loving God, let your stream of healing and truth flow through me and into all I meet, this day and always. Amen.

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

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