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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, August 28, 2019           

Today’s Scripture Reading | Isaiah 58:9b–14

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.

If you refrain from trampling the sabbath, from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call the sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Jacob, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. (NRSV)

I have a friend struggling with her faith and questioning the very existence of God. She asked, “How can I know God?” I said I know God through transcending beauty in music, in paintings, in nature, in the goodness of people. I go to concerts, art museums, or take walks in nature to be reminded of that beauty and, through that beauty, to glimpse truth that lies beyond words, to glimpse heaven itself.

When I cry singing “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” or listening to Mahler’s “Resurrection” symphony I know God is touching me and I God. Many people cry when listening to beautiful music and just dismiss it as becoming emotional, not realizing that God is there in the tears.

I go to church to be with other people who are seeking God in that same beauty and truth, to be with some who have found it so I can learn from them, or be with those that are yearning for it so I can share my experience with them. The people I encounter at church are all on the same journey, and we support each other in that journey.

My friend asked, “What is God?” I said to her that anything that is good comes from God; God is all goodness. I also believe the opposite is true: that God is missing in anything that is evil. In God’s infinite grace, God gives us a choice between good and evil every moment, every day. However, God always desires, even craves, what is good. It is up to us to choose between the good and the evil. If we seek God, if we seek whatever is good, there God will be found.

God of our journey, help me to seek you in all goodness. Help me to be part of that goodness, so that at the end of my journey I may return to you and know only pure goodness, pure love and light. Amen.

Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music

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