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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, August 28, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 124

If it had not been the Lord who was on our side
   —let Israel now say—
if it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
   when our enemies attacked us,
then they would have swallowed us up alive,
   when their anger was kindled against us;
then the flood would have swept us away,
   the torrent would have gone over us;
then over us would have gone
   the raging waters.

Blessed be the Lord,
   who has not given us
   as prey to their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
   from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
   and we have escaped.

Our help is in the name of the Lord,
   who made heaven and earth. (NRSV)

On April 3, 1974, my hometown of Xenia, Ohio, was devastated by one of the largest tornados in history. With no warning at all the tornado ripped through the center of town and left a path of destruction five miles long and one mile wide. I was about twelve years old at the time, and after a minute or so of huddling in the basement, waiting for the tornado to pass, my mother, sister, and I came upstairs to find the world radically changed. Massive trees were uprooted and thrown to the ground; live electric wires were dancing in the streets shooting sparks through the air. There were no windows left in our house, the roof was stripped bare and one entire wall had been pulled out. What was left of the interior was filled with debris and wreckage. The walls even had nails, boards, and other objects embedded inside them. I was scared and in some degree of shock. But I had been playing piano since I was seven, and the piano was right where it had always been in the corner of our living room. I can clearly remember sitting down amid all that chaos and playing the Minuet in G Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach. In that music was beauty, calm, order, and sanctity. I didn’t know it at the time, but I realized later that in that moment I received my calling to be a musician, to bring beauty and truth into a world that desperately needs both.

Thank you, Lord, for challenges that bring us closer to you and that help us discern what our true calling is in this life. Lord, thank you for always being on our side, for using challenges to let us know that we belong to you and that you belong to us. Amen.

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

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