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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, June 11, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Matthew 9:1–8

And after getting into a boat he crossed the sea and came to his own town.

And some people were carrying to him a paralyzed man lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, child; your sins are forgiven.” Then some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Stand up, take your bed, and go to your home.” And he stood up and went to his home. When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings. (NRSV)

“Do something,” the parents pleaded with police standing idly outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, while a gunman killed nineteen students and two teachers. “What are we doing?” an emotional Senator Chris Murphy begged on the Senate floor soon afterward, pleading, "What are we doing, why are you here, if not to solve a problem as existential as this?” Yet again, parents in Uvalde shouted “Do something” at President Biden as he left Robb Elementary School after commemorating those who were killed.

Jesus came to his own town and saw a paralyzed man being carried on a stretcher, and Jesus immediately healed the man. Jesus acted without any hesitation, and the crowds were “filled with awe.” Some of the scribes who witnessed this event thought Jesus was blaspheming, because he forgave the man’s sins, something they thought only God could do. Jesus challenged them, asking if it is easier to forgive sins or heal a man. Jesus does something, saying “Stand up and walk!” In response the paralyzed man acts, standing up, taking up his bed, and going home.

It is time for us all to do something! It is time to turn prayer into action. What can we as a church community, as a society, do about gun violence in our homes, our city, and our nation? On our own we may not be able to solve the problem, but together we can make a difference. The enormity of the problem should not prevent us from first steps. We must act; we cannot allow ourselves and our leaders to be apathetic. Right now our civic society seems paralyzed. Like Jesus we must both forgive and act. We must do something if we want to end gun violence.

God of peace and justice, help me to do something that will make a difference in this world so desperately in need. Let me look for the place where I can help someone; help me see each person as created in your image. Help me be a force for change to create the world you desire, a world filled with love and respect for all your creatures. Amen. 

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

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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