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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Today’s Scripture Reading | Ephesians 5:1–14

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But fornication and impurity of any kind, or greed, must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints. Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk; but instead, let there be thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be associated with them. For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light—for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (NRSV)

Imitate God. Live life with love. Be children of light. Wake up and Christ will shine on you. These directives are all found in this passage. They direct us to wake up and become conscious of walking in light and love as the body of Christ.

When reading this passage, it is tempting to get caught up in the specifics of the list of don’ts Paul includes that describe an unconscious way of living. I invite you to join me in understanding this passage as a call to cease acting unconsciously in the ways of a dominating ego but rather to wake up to our calling to live out our soul’s purpose.

Many years ago, my spiritual director explained the spiritual journey as one in which the human ego comes into right relationship with and in service to the soul or true self of a person. The true self is the part of us that knows it is in the image of and in an eternal relationship with God.

We live much of our lives asleep. We don’t recognize that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Everything changes when we wake up, rise from the dead, and recognize that Christ is shining on us, as it is written in verse 14 of this passage. We are never alone or separated as our ego imagines but are always in relationship with our Creator, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Becoming conscious is to awaken to this realization, and then we may feel the urge to kiss the ground in gratitude.

God, may we wake up to the awareness that we always live in the light of love. May we shine that living light through us into the communities, relationships, and environments in which we serve and live. With love and gratitude for calling us your children. Amen.

Written by Susan Schemper, Spiritual Counselor, Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being

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