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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Colossians 4:2–5           

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. At the same time pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison, so that I may reveal it clearly, as I should.

Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. (NRSV)

“Pray that I may proclaim [the mystery of Christ] clearly, as I should.” This request from Paul to the Colossians may seem most pertinent for clergy—those whose job it is to publicly proclaim it from the pulpit on Sunday mornings. Surely they can see themselves in Paul’s shoes and would welcome prayers for guidance and eloquence as they write their sermons.

But what about the rest of us? Can we not also see ourselves in Paul’s shoes? After all, there are many ways to proclaim the mystery of Christ. We all have opportunities every day to profess that his death and resurrection granted us grace and forgiveness, to share his teachings of inclusion and nonviolence, and to live out his charge to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, and love our neighbors as ourselves. In fact, for many, the good news of Christ’s resurrection is heard and experienced more clearly through kind and loving actions during the week than it is through words from the pulpit on Sunday morning.

This concept of “actions speak louder than words” is one with deep roots in the church. In the words commonly attributed to St. Francis of Assisi from the twelfth century, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words.”

How do you proclaim the mystery of Christ? What would it look like to do so more clearly?

Risen and redeeming Lord, give us courage and strength to proclaim the mystery of your grace, mercy, and transforming love clearly through both our words and our actions. Amen.

Written by Nicole Spirgen, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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