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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | 2 Corinthians 6:1–13

As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also. (NRSV)

Reflection
As Paul calls on the Corinthians to open their hearts, I wonder how I must open mine. How do I receive God’s grace? It seems to me that too often I hear about God’s grace as something that is delivered to us in beams of light and good times. But if my heart is truly open will I also experience that grace when I’m feeling darkness, isolation, helplessness, anger, and the countless other ways in which I mark difficult days?

As Dietrich Bonhoeffer talks about how costly God’s grace can be, I think about that cost and remember how hard it is to be responsible for my own actions while at the same time being responsible to other people as I go about my daily life. Paul reminds me that I must think about the loving teachings of Jesus even though there are times I don’t want to do that. It’s less difficult for me to think that God’s grace is always available to me even when I’m not holding up my end of the bargain. But in this partnership with God, my job is only to open my heart, be responsible to others, be available and trust that grace will find me. This is easy to say and much harder to live—especially when you are someone like me who wants to feel in charge of her own life!

Prayer
Loving Creator, help me to see that a trusting and open heart is important to my task as your coworker and that I can trust you to hold up your end of the bargain. Amen.

Written by Elise Magers, Assistant Director, Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being


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