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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | 2 Corinthians 5:17–21

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (NRSV)

Reflection
A few years ago, after a rather heated argument, as I was thinking back and ruminating over what I had said, I realized that that wasn’t me. That upset, frustrated person who was defending himself and trying to justify his position appeared to me as someone separate from my idea of who I am in my true essence. The child of God part of me was not the person saying those words. This insight into dis-identifying with my “conditioned mind,” or ego, was a first step toward a personal journey toward a more mindful way of being. Instead of unthinkingly reacting in a knee-jerk manner to every thought and feeling that rises up, I am working on stepping back from my ego and seeing each thought and impulse toward a feeling for what it is, the survival tactics of my “personality.”

For the first half of my life I lived through my ego, without intentionally choosing; I chose to think, act, and feel instinctively. My view of the world and others was through a lens of judgment. For fifty years I had been sharpening my critical eye, keeping track of my likes and dislikes, labeling, categorizing, and compartmentalizing people, places, and things.

If I am ever to find a way toward being an “[ambassador] for Christ, since God is making his appeal through [me],” I think I will only get there by centering myself in my true essence, choosing to let my judgments fall away and opening myself up to unconditional acceptance.

Prayer
Dear God, guide my path that I may be in Christ, so that in him I might bring more warmth and kindness into the world. Amen.

Written by John Shorney, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church


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