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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, February 11, 2019

Today’s Scripture Reading | 1 Corinthians 15:1–11

Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe. (NRSV)

“I am the least of the apostles.”

I find myself an unlikely person to be here, writing devotions. I grew up unchurched, and I joke that I am a heretical Christian: there are whole chunks of creed and scripture I have trouble giving voice to. But I’m in good company. After all, there were so many vocal “heretics” running around in 325 C.E. that the bishops felt compelled to hold a meeting.

(And what happened to everyone who then found themselves on the outside of what was defined as Christian? Did they suddenly stop loving Christ? Did they stop wanting to live out Christ’s truth in their lives?)

I could have been content to not believe in Christ. I had a faith community that didn’t require it. I had a circle of friends who found it unfathomable. I could have continued to appreciate the music, the art, and the witness of the mystics and saints without feeling the need to be baptized or be part of a Christian community.

But I cannot discount the Christ-centered experiences I’ve had or the power Communion has for me. Despite myself, I was called. First to faith, then to Christ, and eventually to Fourth Church. And, I believe, all of us reading this today have been called too, in one way or another or in multiple ways over time, perhaps without even recognizing that call and likely often without understanding it.

And having been called, it is up to us to bring about his kingdom on earth.

By the grace of God I am what I am. By the grace of God you are too. What will you do with that grace?

Blessed Christ, may I be open enough to listen and brave enough to speak, through your grace and for your glory. Amen.

Written by Anne Ellis, Program Manager for Congregational Life

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