Lenten Devotional - March 31
THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 2022
The Rev. Charles L. Fischer III, Vice President for Seminary Advancement
SCRIPTURE Psalm 27 1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh — my adversaries and foes — they shall stumble and fall. 3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident. 4 One thing I asked of the LORD,that will I seek after: to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple. 5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock. 6 Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD. 7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me! 8 “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, LORD, do I seek. 9 Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation! 10 If my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will take me up. 11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. 12 Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and they are breathing out violence. 13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
DEVOTIONAL We all have fears. We know that constant tug within ourselves that reminds us of what does not feel safe or might be uncomfortable. Fear is that shadow that we cannot escape from because it is tethered to us and we are unable to release ourselves from it until we change our position or move our location. It may be the fear of the unknown, failure, people, places, what the day may bring, and what lies in the future. Fear prevents us from being willing to face some situations, and precludes us from living more fully into our divinely ordered lives. It takes work to overcome fear.
The psalmist acknowledges that the Lord who is their light and salvation, the very stronghold of their lives stands between themselves and that which they were once afraid to address, face, or acknowledge. When the psalmist asks, “Whom shall I fear?” and, “Of whom shall I be afraid?” we remember that we are hearing the proclamation of an individual and a community who has overcome what has haunted others. The psalmist has found a new location and/ or a different position to stand so that the shadow of fear no longer follows them. On this your Lenten journey, may we find that which is within us to change our location and position so that the fears that once accompanied us will be no longer. It is not about finding the courage but rather it is to place our faith in the Lord who will redirect us so that you will bask in a new light and not be consumed with the shadows of the past.
PRAYER Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John
Jesus said to the Jews:
"if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true.
But there is another who testifies on my behalf
and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.
You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
I do not accept human testimony,
but I say this so that you may be saved.
He was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.
But I have testimony greater than John's.
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
these works that I perform testify on my behalf
that the Father has sent me.
Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.
But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
and you do not have his word remaining in you,
because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.
You search the Scriptures,
because you think you have eternal life through them;
even they testify on my behalf.
But you do not want to come to me to have life.
"I do not accept human praise;
moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you.
I came in the name of my Father,
but you do not accept me;
yet if another comes in his own name,
you will accept him.
How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another
and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?
Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father:
the one who will accuse you is Moses,
in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses,
you would have believed me,
because he wrote about me.
But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?"
The Gospel of the Lord
When Jesus claimed to be doing God's work, it was only natural that the Jews should ask him for proof that this was in fact the case. Crackpots and false messiahs abounded then as now. Jesus pointed to the testimony of Moses and John the Baptist, of Scripture, and of the works that he did as evidence that his claims were not unfounded..
* What kind of reasoning supports your own faith in Jesus? How can you deepen your understanding of who Jesus is?
* What does human approval mean to you? How important is it in your involvement in the Church?
* Pray for the grace to be more detached from the need for human approval.
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