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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Ephesians 5:15–20    

Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NRSV)

“Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” These are the words in verse 14, immediately before today’s scripture. Verse 15 continues on, telling us how to be awake and resurrected today. This is not about a future resurrection but a current resurrection, a transformed life in the here and now. Rise from the dead, now, today.

In this transformed life, we are reminded to base our lives on a spirit of gratitude, expressed through singing and being in community together. This is not an invitation to deny how difficult the world is or to pretend that everything is fine. It’s important to be aware and awake to the evil that is happening in our world, but it’s not necessary to be consumed by it. In fact, this scripture may give us a way to be filled with life and hope and possibility rather than fear and despair and powerlessness. To be filled with the Spirit is not the same as being filled with wine, which makes us numb to the struggles and evil in the world.

While we may be privately grateful, singing to God in our hearts, it’s important to also sing to, for, and with each other. The Common English Bible translates verse 19 as “speak to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; sing and make music to the Lord in your hearts.” In our worship life together we can speak life into each other, something that is needed very much in our world today. We not only speak to God through our psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, we also speak to each other. We strengthen and encourage each other.

Holy God, God of Life, help me to remember the breath of life that you have placed in me. Fill me with the power of resurrection today and place a song of gratitude in my heart. Give me inspiration to speak life into the world through generosity of spirit and the power of song. Amen.

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

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