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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, October 28, 2019           

Today’s Scripture Reading | Matthew 12:43–50

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but it finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So will it be also with this evil generation.”

While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (NRSV)

As Jesus was preaching to the crowds, his mother, Mary, and his brothers were standing nearby wanting to speak with him; perhaps they were concerned about what he was saying or how long he had been talking. Maybe they just wanted to ask Jesus to bring a loaf of bread home that night for dinner, or perhaps they were concerned for the safety of Jesus in the midst of such a crowd. Whatever it was they wanted to ask him, it is reassuring to know that Jesus had a family that was with him, that cared about him. We know that Jesus loved and cared for his family also, yet in that moment he looked at the crowd and said to them, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

We all need to be family for each other. Each of us needs someone to care for, and we need someone to care for us. In countless small encounters we need each other to get through each day, but even in those small encounters we can make a difference in another person’s life. And in those encounters, small and large, we can experience the transcending love of God, the God who loves each of us as God’s own children. When we become the hands of God, doing the work of spreading God’s kingdom, we are doing God’s will and become each other’s brother, sister, mother, or father. In that moment of giving we are also blessed with nourishment and care beyond our knowing. As St. Francis of Assisi said, “It is in giving that we receive, loving that we are loved.”

O God, help me love others as you have loved me. Amen.

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

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