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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, July 27, 2019              

Today’s Scripture Reading | Mark 1:1–13

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

    “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way;
    the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
    ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
    make his paths straight,’”

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. (NRSV)

Henri Nouwen, in his book, Life of the Beloved, declares that God says to all of us, “You are my Beloved.” He beckons us to listen with great inner attentiveness to that voice in our center that says,

“I have called you by name, from the very beginning. You are mine and I am yours. You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests. I have molded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you together in your mother’s womb. I have carved you in the palms of my hands and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace. I look at you with infinite tenderness and care for you with a care more intimate than that of a mother for her child. I have counted every hair on your head and guided you at every step. Wherever you go, I go with you, and wherever you rest, I keep watch. … Nothing will ever separate us. We are one.” (pp. 30–31)

Spend time reciting aloud these words slowly to yourself, perhaps several times. Sink into their truth for you. Do this often so that other voices inside diminish—the ones that lead you to try to prove you are worth something or say that you need to be relevant, spectacular, or powerful.

Gracious God, embrace me with your all-encompassing love. Free me to claim my Belovedness. Amen.

Written by Victoria G. Curtiss, Associate Pastor for Mission

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