Devotion for Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Lectionary Readings for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost:
Collect: O God, from whom all good proceeds, grant to us, Your humble servants, Your holy inspiration, that we may set our minds on the tings that are right and, by Your merciful guiding, accomplish them; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Hymns of the Day: “My Soul, Now Praise Your Maker” – (LSB 820)
It has almost been a full month since I last sent one of these out and for that I apologize. While I could bombard you with reasons/excuses, I will instead just ask for your forgiveness, and endeavour to improve my future record.
Even though it’s a lot different looking than we’re used to, schools are now mostly back in and started up. With all the ‘back to school’ talk on the radio, I was reminded of an article I wrote for a newspaper back in my first parish in 2011, and thought that instead of writing a new devotion for this week, I’d give you a glimpse at one of my past writings. It was a little shorter than the ones you’ve been getting from me as the paper had a word limit for the article, but it’s just as relevant now as it was then.
‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
(Romans 12:1-2 NIV)
’Tis the season. The big yellow busses are back on the road, the drivers have to start slowing down and being more cautious around our institutions of learning, and children everywhere are grumbling. There might be the one or two who are happy to go back, or like my little girl, to be going for the first time, but the majority of children I know have not been looking forward to their return to academic endeavours: the classroom, the learning, the tests.
In many ways, our Christian life is like school. The world is our classroom, the Lord is our teacher and the Bible is chalk full of lessons we are supposed to be learning. And then there are the tests. Don’t kid yourselves, they’re out there. Every day is a culmination of pop quizzes that reflect just how well we’ve learned those lessons. But there is a major difference between the two.
In school, when we fail a test, it affects our final grade. It can be a black mark that affects us throughout the whole year and even, in some cases, cause us to have to repeat that class over again. After an incident like that, we’re usually driven study harder to prove ourselves, or in the very least, to avoid failing the same test again. In our Christian walk with God we fail many, many more tests, than most of us ever did in school. We even find ourselves failing the same test, over and over again. All the times we chose to do things our way instead of His way, each time we gave in to the temptations the world has to offer, instead of standing apart form the world as God has called us to do, are reflected by a big red ‘F’ on our report card. But the difference between the two is that no matter how many ‘F’s you get, you can still be forgiven for them. No matter how many times you’ve failed to follow God, He will always be there ready to forgive when asked thanks to the sacrifice of our Lord, Jesus Christ on our behalf. Now this doesn’t mean we should just fluff off studying, on the contrary, like when we were in school we should be driven to study all the harder in love and thanksgiving to the God, who out of love, paid the price that we could never pay ourselves.
When our life is over, and we get the final report card for our life, there will be quite a few ‘F’s listed there, but for those of us who God has blessed with faith through His Holy Spirit in His Son, the final grade will always total to an ‘A+’.