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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, August 19, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Romans 11:1–2a, 29–32

I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all. (NRSV)

There is an old joke that is supposed to summarize the Bible.

God: “Don’t do the thing.”
People: “We did the thing.”
God: “I forgive you.”

As I read this passage, that joke came to mind. But in three lines, the joke does sum up a key aspect of humanity’s relationship with God: the reassurance that though we are human and we will always sin and fall short, God is a God of mercy. Take comfort in the fact that humanity long before us made mistakes and that humanity long after us will make mistakes. God has shown mercy and forgiveness to the people who came before, God will show mercy and forgiveness to us, and God will show mercy and forgiveness to the people who follow. Our mistakes will not prevent us from being God’s instruments on earth to bring forth the kingdom.

Thank you, God, for your everlasting mercy. Thank you for not giving up on me, even when sometimes I give up on myself. Help me to remember that I am your creation and, even as I sin and fall short, I am your disciple. Amen

Written by Katie Patterson, Youth Ministry Program Manager

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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