St. Luke’s Weekly Devotions are written by people just like you. These devotions draw on authentic life experiences, scripture, prayers, and sermon series material to offer inspiration throughout the week. Use these devotions to guide you in your spiritual journey.
What Matters? February 6, 2017
Think About: Yowza! There is dissention in the ranks in Corinth, and Paul has nothing good to say to the church there about this. Consider this, Paul’s mission was to travel the Mediterranean to establish churches that they might spread the Gospel, the good news of the saving power of Jesus Christ. Constantly on the move, his strategy includes visits and letters. Imagine how he must felt when messages of disagreement in the ranks reached him. “Crazy toddlers! Can’t they behave when I am not there?” he must have wondered.
He was very much aware that others were watching these new groups of budding Christians. What hope of growth could there be when all they see is turmoil? Who would want to seek out and join a group of people who can’t get along? And if they didn’t come, what chance would they have of hearing the saving truth of the Gospel of Christ?
According to Paul the Corinthians are arguing, splitting into factions, having private gatherings, and ignoring ministry. Not cool, people, not cool!
For those of you who think the Bible was for then, not now; take a seat, and open your eyes. How do outsiders perceive us? Modern churches have divided over such minute issues! Screens in the sanctuary? Dress code for ushers? Parking spaces? Bread or crackers? Traditional or contemporary? Really? Consider what matters! It is Christ, Christ alone!
Do we preach Christ? Teach Christ? Follow Christ? Love Christ? Live Christ? That is what matters, and that is what Paul writes to the Corinthians and to us.
Pray: Oh Lord, forgive us when we grumble and mumble over small things. Help us to see truth and speak truth so that others may truly want to join us in worship of you. Help us not to be small minded, but big hearted, and to seek you in all things that others may seek you through us in your church. Amen
What Really Matters! February 8, 2017
Think About: Paul’s solution for the dissention in I Corinthians 11:21-22 is to come together at the communion table. It applies to us as well as to the ancient Corinthians.
Take the time to walk past the Special Events Dining Room in Building C and look at the collage on the back wall. Notice the diversity of characters gathered around the table. Under normal situations, their differences might be cause for discussion, disagreement, and dismissal, but at the table of Christ, their unity is clearly apparent. They know what matters. It is Christ and Christ alone!
In the communion ritual, Jesus gave common elements a whole new meaning. Bread, the staple of diets, became the symbol of salvation. It is the body of Christ, broken for us. It is the sacrifice of a living God for every believer, then and forever. All of the animals ever slaughtered on the altars of temples were replaced by this ultimate gift of God himself. Remember that the next time you walk down the aisles of St. Luke’s toward the altar.
After the meal, Jesus picks up a cup of wine, the common everyday beverage of the people. And then he says, “This is my blood; it’s a new covenant! It’s a promise that I am making to you.” All of the blood that ran over the stone altars in Israel couldn’t matter more than one drop of the blood of Christ our God. Remember that when you drink from the cup at St. Luke’s.
Communion is much more than a monthly occurrence; it’s a feast of gathering,
Paul urges the Corinthians to celebrate the commemoration of Jesus’ death, set aside their differences and remember what binds them together. He would like the art in the Special Events Dining Room
Pray: Lord, forgive our squabbles over issues. Compel us to come to your table where we can sit in awe of what you have given us through your sacrifice: forgiveness, hope, a mission to share and future with you. Amen
What Matters Most! February 10, 2017
Think About: For years I struggled with the story of Abraham and Isaac. (See Genesis 22.) God makes a covenant with an old but faithful man to number his descendants greater than the stars or grains of sand and gives him a son, Isaac. Then, incredibly, he asks Abraham to take his son up the mountain and offer him as a sacrifice.
Imagine the journey! Isaac is asked to carry the wood for the offering fire. As they climb, the boy asks, “Where is the lamb?” Abraham replies, “The Lord will provide,” but I am sure he is an emotional mess. “My son! My son, Lord, how could you ask this of me?”
How could He indeed? What kind of a God would ask a parent to kill his own child? And then I made the connection! What kind of God? One who, centuries later, would sacrifice his own son for me! That’s the kind of God I serve, and that’s the kind of God Paul wants the Corinthians and us to remember.
Remember his death; remember his sacrifice for every one of us — the powerful, the weak, the good, and the bad — all of us. So, set aside your differences, and never forget what God has done for us.
He has established a new covenant with us. He died for us that we would live for him. The original covenant with Abraham to expand his family has been passed to us to increase the family of the church, but now it has been bought and sealed with the very body and blood of the God for whom it exists.
By all means, this must be remembered!
Pray: Oh, my God, my God, I pray I never forget what you have done for me. This covenant that you have signed by your death and victory is mine forever. I am not worthy to stand before you, but you have called me to your table and invited me as a guest to share this sacred meal. In adoration and gratitude, I whisper your name. Now, give me the courage to shout it to all who need to hear it and remember. Amen.