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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, January 28, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading | Isaiah 9:1–4

But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

The people who walked in darkness
   have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
   on them light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation,
   you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
   as with joy at the harvest,
   as people exult when dividing plunder.
For the yoke of their burden,
   and the bar across their shoulders,
   the rod of their oppressor,
   you have broken as on the day of Midian. (NRSV)

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined.”

I often take walks up and down Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, where Fourth Church is located. This bustling retail and urban setting is full of glittering lights and busy activity. The stores have things we all could want—the newest fashions, beautiful jewelry, or gorgeous art work. But as I walk along the hustling street I sometimes look at people to observe their faces, and few ever notice. They are too busy looking into the store windows or staring at some distraction to notice me looking at them. What I frequently observe is that a lot of the people are really longing for something but not finding it. I see their deeper longing for acceptance from a friend or maybe even a family member, but they are still waiting for it; their search for happiness, but not finding it yet; or their seeking worthiness in a place that cannot give them that.

What so many do not realize is that they have already been accepted fully as God’s chosen and beloved child. They have every reason to already be happy and even joyful because of the many blessings each has been given, blessings it is so easy to take for granted. They have been made worthy because they are made in the image of God. Indeed we are all made in the image of God. Black and white, rich and poor, gay and straight, we are all loved and accepted by God just as we are. The light has shined on all of us, even when we are walking in darkness.

Loving God, thank you for creating me in your image and for shining your light into my life every day; help me to become a beacon of that light, reflecting it into the hearts of all I meet and throughout the world. Amen.

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

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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