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Thursday, April 16, 2020
Jesus calls us: oe’r the tumult
of our life’s wild, restless sea;
day by day his sweet voice soundeth
saying, “Christian, follow me.”
Jesus calls us from the worship
of the vain world’s golden store,
from each idol that would keep us,
saying, “Christian, love me more.”
“Jesus Calls Us” (vv. 1–2) by Cecil Frances Alexander
Hymn 720, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal
From the time we’re children, we’re taught the quid pro quo system. In our earliest days we learn that if we are well-behaved, then we will get a cookie. If we work hard in school, then we will earn good grades. If we score a basket/goal/run, we will be praised. It makes sense that we sometimes forget that living the way of Jesus is not a quid pro quo system in the traditional sense.
Once we recognize that we are claimed by the grace of God and as soon as we live into our belovedness, well, things don’t get easier. This is not how the equation is reconciled. Hardship, conflict, and struggle are still present in our lives. However, as the hymn proclaims, we will hear the voice of Jesus in these difficult stretches. We will know God’s presence in the midst of deep grief. These situations are not eliminated, but rather they are navigated with God’s presence.
I’ve found that my temptation to create idols also hasn’t been tempered. I am still prone to hold something more sacred than loving God and loving my neighbor. But I have also found that if I spend more time in silence, then it is more likely I will hear Jesus calling me to love him more. The more generous I am, the more generous I want to be. The more I work for justice, the more I abhor injustice. The quid pro quo system works—just not in the way I learned as a child.
Holy God, I’d love it if you could quiet the storms and eliminate my temptations, but if that isn’t to be, then help me to recognize your voice as the sweetest, most pure sound, and give me the courage to follow it. Amen.
Written by Andrea Denney, Director of Operational Ministries
Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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