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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, November 26, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Daniel 7:9–10, 13–14

As I watched, thrones were set in place, and an Ancient One took his throne, his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, and its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and flowed out from his presence. A thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him. The court sat in judgment, and the books were opened. As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him. To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed. (NRSV)

The verse after today’s text lets us in on Daniel’s reaction to his dream: “As for me, Daniel, my spirit was troubled within me, and the visions of my head terrified me.”

Hey, I get it. The world has fallen apart, you’re an exile in a hostile land, they’ve just chucked you into a lions’ den a chapter ago. So yeah, it makes sense that when you close your eyes there are monsters all around. And that little horn with eyes and an arrogant mouth running things? We can all relate to that these days.

In our dreams, when things are all awful, sometimes we dream of someone who will make everything OK. Hopefully, when you’re a kid and have nightmares, you’ve got Mom and Dad to make it all right. But when you’re an adult and only a page removed from the lions’ den, and you’re hundreds of miles away from home, whom do you look for then?

When the monsters are really big, you hope, you wish, you pray for someone even bigger to come along and defeat them. But the thing is, if they’re going to beat the biggest scariest monsters, they’re going to be pretty big and scary themselves. So maybe they’re not going to be all that comforting. And you’re still going to wake up scared.

Comfort, that lies in being with someone like us. Someone who can take on the monsters without being a monster themselves. Someone like David, taking on Goliath. Or someone who can, with humility and compassion, take on the rich, the powerful, the oppressors; someone who can take on and defeat that great monster that awaits us all at the end of our lives.

If you have someone like that around, someone you can trust, it’s a lot easier to sleep at night.

Lord, all the monsters are scary, even the good ones. Thank you for showing us that we don’t need to call on or become monsters to prevail. Help us to go out into the world with courage and hold to the good. Amen.

Written by Rob Koon, Coordinator of Fine Arts

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