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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, March 7, 2019              

Today’s Scripture Reading |  Genesis 1:1–5                

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. (NRSV)

Even though I love the idea of Lent, sometimes I’m not exactly joyful about its arrival. Lent is about discipline and repentance, and, man, can it be long some years.

But beginning it in the spirit of creation’s first day is a refreshing approach. Perhaps what we’re embarking on can be likened to what God does here in this passage.

I can so easily get lazy at the work of my spiritual life. Even if the externals give the indication that everything is on track, the state of my soul can sometimes resemble the primordial chaos God faces here. Just as God says, “Let there be light,” these holy days of Lent call me to flip on the light switch and take a real look at what’s lurking there in the formless void. Once the light’s on, I can start to make out unhealthy and sinful patterns, the times when I ignore God and neighbor in service of myself. I can examine thoughts, words, and actions for what they are. Those that are dark I will name as such. But I will also see graced moments and possibilities that are of the day, and I will call them good. Honestly assessing who I am and what I do in God’s light is hard, but God knows that. I can (and should) ask for the Sprit’s help in addressing what belongs to the darkness and needs to be shed. Confessing my sinfulness to others will lessen the burden of it and help me to be accountable for making better choices.

But it doesn’t all have to happen today. It’s only the first day.

O God, you who bravely faced the darkness of the deep, help me to do the same during Lent. In this beginning, help me to have the courage to see what is, repent for what I’d rather not face, and choose the good and life-giving. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Written by Susan Quaintance, Director, Center for Life and Learning

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