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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, January 20, 2021  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  1 Corinthians 6:12–20

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,” and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, “The two shall be one flesh.” But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body. (NRSV)

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

These are the words Abraham Lincoln said on March 4, 1865, at his second inaugural address following four years of civil war that had torn our nation apart one family at a time. On this Inauguration Day these are good words to ponder and remember as many families across the country have been torn apart by political ideologies and a host of other issues. Yet, it is important to remember Lincoln's message that even in the most difficult of times we must care for each other because what binds us together is more important than what divides us.

Paul wrote to the Corinthian people, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which of you have from God, and that you are not your own?” Paul, like Lincoln, is also thinking about what binds us together, but on a deeper, spiritual level. Paul's message to us for this Inauguration Day is that there is nothing that should divide us if we can look at the other person as a temple of God. Each person is a temple containing the Holy Spirit within, and no one can be separated from that Holy Spirit or from one another. Each person, regardless of political perspective, skin color, sexual orientation, wealth, or anything used to divide us, is also one with God and one with us. In other words, we are all God’s children, all loved equally by God. We are united with God and with each other; we are all community.

So today, “with malice toward none and charity for all,” let us work to build God's kingdom within each other with one act of generosity, one kind word, at a time. This is the way that leads to “lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

God of all that is, help me share your love and mercy to make the world a better place for someone else this day and every day. Amen.

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

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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