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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, July 26, 2019              

Today’s Scripture Reading | Ephesians 2:1–10                 

You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else.

But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. (NRSV)

Reflection
Many of Paul’s letters to the early churches, like this one to the church in Ephesus, discuss this idea of dying to an old way of life and finding a new life through Christ. I’ve always been intrigued by this notion, but for many years, I found it hard to relate to. I was baptized as a baby and was raised in the church, so I never had a life before knowing Jesus. At some point, however, I realized it was possible to take a broader interpretation of this idea of finding a new life through Christ.

Like many Christians, the depth of my relationship with God and the role religion plays in my everyday life have ebbed and flowed throughout my life. When I find my way back to putting my faith at the center of my life after being away for a while, there is a profound sense of starting over, of making changes to my priorities and the way I choose to spend my time, talent, and treasure. At those times, the idea of dying to an old way of life and finding new life through Christ seems very relatable. New beginnings can also take the form of looking in a new way at scripture I’ve read a dozen times or when a friend challenges a long-held belief. And of course, twice a year during Lent and Advent, we have set apart time to reflect on dying to old ways of life and starting anew.

Sometimes those new beginnings can be hard, but they can also be wonderfully freeing, inspiring, and empowering.

Prayer
Giver of life, new life, and life eternal, for the many ways you help me to start over, die to old ways, and find new life in and through you, I give you thanks. Amen.

Written by Nicole Spirgen, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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