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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, January 27, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading | John 4:43–54

When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee (for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in the prophet’s own country). When he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival; for they too had gone to the festival. Then he came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my little boy dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was alive. So he asked them the hour when he began to recover, and they said to him, “Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him.” The father realized that this was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he himself believed, along with his whole household. Now this was the second sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee. (NRSV)

Thoughts and prayers. We hear that phrase (many of us say it) when the unimaginable happens. Catastrophic events that shake our core and all that we thought was normal the day before. When something so unimaginable happens in your life, or to someone you know, you’re not sure how to respond, because there is no humanly possible way to fix what’s wrong. So we pray. And sometimes, it feels like we’re pleading to God to make pain go away, to right a wrong, or to find an answer we’re searching for. We ask God to come to our side and resolve whatever is going wrong.

Obviously God doesn’t just appear and fix everything. Natural disasters, broken relationships, and wars continue to occur. And as these horrific events continue to add up, we might start to doubt that God is listening or, even, that God exists.

We read about a similar sentiment in today’s scripture. Many of the Galileans who come to hear of Jesus’ miracles and healing are “sign-seekers” and must see the miracles in order to believe. This includes the royal official whose son is in poor health. He presses for Jesus to join him and come heal his son, but Jesus reassures him his son will live.

The official probably still doubted Jesus’ statement but obeyed his word, going home as requested. It’s in this moment that we see that faith is not what you feel; it is also what you do. Thoughts and prayers allow for reflection, deep connection, and spiritual growth. But being present to those in pain, and going out to do God’s will, that is living your faith.

Loving God, remind us that you hear our prayers but you also ask to walk and journey with you and our sisters and brothers. Remind us to live out our faith as healers, advocates, and peacemakers as we seek your guidance and will. Amen.

Written by Jackie Lorens Harris, Director, Chicago Lights Elam Davies Social Service Center

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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