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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, June 9, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 116:1–2, 12–19

I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplications.
Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord,
I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.
O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the child of your serving girl.
You have loosed my bonds.
I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice and call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord! (NRSV)

As I’m writing this, the United States has recently surpassed 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 and is mourning the death of George Floyd. We know that in the United States people of color are disproportionately more likely to die from COVID-19 or at the hands of police than their white counterparts. In a nation that treats black and brown bodies as disposable, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants” is about the furthest thing from the gospel I can imagine right now. 

My own privilege is undeniable. I am able to work from the safety of my apartment without forfeiting my salary, unlike many of my neighbors living on the South and West Sides of Chicago who are forced to put themselves in harm’s way to keep food on the table. No one has ever accused me of forgery or called the cops on me. As painful as it is, I must accept that I have been complicit in a system that disregards black bodies. And I struggle to keep any faith in something better when I look at the world around me. 

Yet theologian James Cone says it better than I ever could: “How can one believe in God in the face of such horrendous suffering as slavery, segregation, and the lynching tree? Under these circumstances, doubt is not a denial but an integral part of faith. It keeps faith from being sure of itself. But doubt does not have the final word. The final word is faith giving rise to hope.”

God of liberation, give us the strength to keep fighting against white supremacy. Keep us from losing sight of the kingdom where black lives are held sacred rather than criminalized. Help us love one another the way you first loved us. Amen. 

Written by Allie Green, Director, Urban Youth Mission

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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