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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, May 12, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Colossians 1:15–23           

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him— provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel. (NRSV)

It’s kind of funny that reading scripture about the supremacy of Christ would remind me of a Muslim spiritual practice, but it did. When I studied abroad in South Africa in college, I became close friends with a woman who was Muslim. From her I learned about the word Bismillah. Many Muslims say Bismillah before just about any activity, such as cooking, entering a room, beginning to speak, starting a new project—anything. It means “In the name of Allah.”

I’m moved by this practice because of the way it connects people’s everyday lives with God. It weaves worship into the ordinary and mundane parts of people’s day so there is no disconnect between the world and God. When I read today’s scripture on a normal day, in the middle of my normal routines, I became overwhelmed with how powerful, how connected, how much a foundation God is to my whole life and way beyond me. Do I live my life with that sense of awe in my everyday tasks though? If I’m honest, no. I learned from my friend how saying Bismillah keeps this connection with God going for her and her Muslim community. I’m inspired by this practice and moved by her humble and regular remembrance of God daily.

I wonder if there are ways we could remember God’s presence and power more often in our days. Are there practices that you embody regularly? I’m grateful for the many ways in the world to glorify God, to learn from diverse traditions that deepen our own practices, and for an opportunity to remember my dear friend.

Glory be to you, O God! Infiltrate the moments of our day so that we can remember your power and presence all the time. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Written by Abbi Heimach-Snipes, Pastoral Resident

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