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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | 2 Corinthians 5:6–10

So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord—for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil. (NRSV)

I have been so blessed to have worked at the Center for Life and Learning these past seven years at Fourth Presbyterian Church. In working with people from such a wide range of ages, between 60 and 102, I have come to learn a lot. I have learned that your health is not guaranteed, that some days just getting out of bed and getting dressed are a lot to take on, that caring for a spouse who has Parkinson’s or dementia can be challenging, that one day your health may be fine, and then the next day a fall can change everything.

In this letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells us very clearly that “as long as we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord . . . so we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.” Our bodies are temporary holdings for us, and I am reminded of this daily in my interactions with CLL members. Their spirits are not their illness or their current health struggle; their spirit is not their “body.” Their spirit lives in spite of all of those things, continuing to thrive and push forward and continuing on in a body that was given to them to carry out God’s work. I feel that setbacks teach us that we are not “our bodies”; health struggles teach us and remind us that our time here is a speck compared to eternity, and the more we can stay focused in pleasing God while “at home with the Lord,” the more we will experience the fullness of what God has created for us.

Lord, thank you for my health, thank you for this life, this breath I take. Help me be reminded that to experience your creation this day is a gift not guaranteed tomorrow. I thank you for this body and how I can act out the great works you have planned for me. Help me be reminded of that when a setback comes my way. You are in control and use all things for good; my spirit lives in the glory of your perfect plans. Amen.

Written by Ashley Elskus, Director, Center for Life and Learning

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