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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 118:1–2, 14–24     

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
   his steadfast love endures forever!
Let Israel say,
   “His steadfast love endures forever.”
The Lord is my strength and my might;
   he has become my salvation.
There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
   the right hand of the Lord is exalted;
   the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.”
I shall not die, but I shall live,
   and recount the deeds of the Lord.
The Lord has punished me severely,
   but he did not give me over to death.

Open to me the gates of righteousness,
   that I may enter through them
   and give thanks to the Lord.

This is the gate of the Lord;
   the righteous shall enter through it.

I thank you that you have answered me
   and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
   has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
   it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
   let us rejoice and be glad in it. (NRSV)

This year, I’m making a practice of being vulnerable. Admitting weakness. Asking for help. Expressing myself even if it might not be liked. Being upfront about not fitting into assumed narratives.

I’m not being stupid about this, of course. I pick my moments and my audience mindfully. But it can still feel risky and demands intention and courage.

I can do this because I have seen how being vulnerable allows for grace, for growth, and for moving towards wholeness. I can do this because it is in these moments that God has worked most powerfully in my life, bringing me to new life.

I can also do this because I stand in a place of relative privilege. Usually I’m risking people’s good-will, nothing more.

Over the past few years I’ve been working towards becoming anti-racist. I’ve learned how we in this country are all embedded in a culture of white supremacy, how there are characteristics of this culture that play out in our organizations and our individual interactions, no matter how good our intentions. And I believe these characteristics are killing us.

Personally, I struggle most with perfectionism, defensiveness, and fear of conflict. As it turns out, addressing vulnerability is a great way to work on overturning these characteristics in myself as well.

We are called as Christians not to conform to the ways of the world but to seek out God’s will and to let ourselves be transformed. Sometimes this means examining unquestioned assumptions and letting them go. It can mean feeling unstable, afraid the ground is shifting under our feet.

And then we remember—God is our strength; it is God who answers us and sets us in a broad place.

Lord, may I ever trust in your steadfast love. Amen.

Written by Anne Ellis, Program Manager for Congregational Life

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