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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, June 4, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | 2 Corinthians 4:5–12

For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. (NRSV)

These human bodies we have, and these human lives, are so very vulnerable. Like cheap clay jars that can easily break, our bodies break down and our relationships get cracks in them. We make mistakes and fail to do what we were created to do. Imperfection and mortality and vulnerability are ever-present in our lives. And yet these bodies and lives of ours are also filled with holiness. In these bodies we experience love and kindness, generosity and joy. God has breathed the very breath of life, the spirit of life, into our bodies.

This life, the spirit of God, is a true treasure. But Paul also alludes to the covenant of love and belonging that is described in the book of Jeremiah. “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33).

Paul speaks of being ministers of a new covenant of the Spirit and says that the church people are letters of Christ themselves, letters “written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:3–6).

Thisis the treasure we have in these clay jars, the covenant of love written on our hearts that says we belong to God and God belongs to us. The more we can imbibe this truth, the more we realize that there is an extraordinary power that comes from God that empowers us. We’re not alone. We have a God that we can depend on.

God of extraordinary power, help me surrender to your love and let go of the idea that everything depends on me. Help me to lean on you a little bit more every day. Amen.

Written by Nanette Sawyer, Associate Pastor for Discipleship and Small Group Ministry

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