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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, November 16, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  1 Corinthians 1:3–9

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (NRSV)

Corinth had its share of trouble and unrest, just as do we. It was an important city in ancient Greece with two harbors—a busy trade center. There were many different people in this city, not unlike major cities in the United States today. It was a good place to spread the gospel. In this letter Paul is all about God’s grace and how enriched the Corinthians would be if they embraced the gift and remained firm in their faith.

Jan Richardson’s prophetic words today have a profound eloquence:

Here’s one thing
you must understand
about this blessing:
it is not
for you alone. . . .

To bear this blessing,
you must first take yourself
to a place where everyone
does not look like you
or think like you,
a place where they do not
believe precisely as you believe,
where their thoughts
and ideas and gestures
are not exact echoes
of your own. . . .

But in the place
where you have gathered,
Lay aside your inability
to be surprised,
your resistance to what you
do not understand.
See then whether this blessing
turns to flame on your tongue,
sets you to speaking
what you cannot fathom

or opens your ear
to a language
beyond your imagining
that comes as a knowing
in your bones,
a clarity
in your heart
that tells you

this is the reason
we were made:
for this ache
that finally opens us,

for this struggle,
this grace
that scorches us
toward one another
and into
the blazing day.

—Jan Richardson, Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

Gracious God, open my heart. Amen.

Written by Elise Magers, Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being

“This Grace That Scorches Us: A Blessing for Pentecost Day” © Jan Richardson. Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church.

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