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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, December 29, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Galatians 4:4–7

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God. (NRSV)

So, picture a Victorian orphanage, something in the Dickens vein—maybe Oliver Twist—full of lost and abandoned kids, one bowl of gruel and don’t ask for more, a real child-labor sweatshop. Then one day the orphanage catches fire, because it’s really kind of a rathole and things like fires just kind of happen. There are kids inside, and everyone outside is yelling, “Get out of there!” But the kids inside, there’s all this smoke, you see, and everyone is yelling and pulling everyone in different directions, and no one can find the door. The people outside really want the kids to escape; they’re doing their best “thoughts and prayers” thing. But the orphanage is burning, and the kids can’t find their way.

Someone has to go inside that burning orphanage and bring the kids out. And that someone is going to have to keep going in and bringing the kids out until they’ve got them all. Even if at the end it kills that brave someone. Even if, at the end, saving the orphans costs some parent their own child.

That person who went into the fire? They’re a hero. The kids that were saved, they know that they were lost without that sacrifice. The parent who lost their child? Do they blame the orphans for that loss? No. Because they love their child, and they know that when they look at the orphans that were saved they see the courage and love shown by their own child. So they turn to the orphans and say, “You’re my children now. You have a home with me.”

In the end, the orphans are no longer orphans, they no longer have to slave in the workhouse, they have a home and a family and a future, all because the orphanage caught fire and someone went into smoking, burning ruin and brought them out. They spend their days doing their best to help others, just like they had been helped themselves.

Nice story, huh? I think Dickens would have approved. God bless us, every one.

Lord, we carry the legacy of a great love that was spent to get us out of a place that would have destroyed us. Help us to show that love to others. Remind us that the way to honor a hero is to be a hero when the time comes. Amen.

Written by Rob Koon, Coordinator of Fine Arts

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