Our devotions this Lenten season have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church. Today’s devotion is by Heather Leatherwood. Also, if you would like to join our staff in praying the liturgy for Responsive Prayer/Suffrages just click here.
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. Acts 9:1-9
I am a single mom. This is the first time I have written these words down.
I hide this fact from clients, fellow church members, and even some friends and family because I fear judgment. I fear that I will no longer fit in.
The need for belonging is a strong human desire. People often join a church, not only because they want to honor God and praise Jesus, but because they want to belong. To many, membership means they belong. It also means that others do not belong. Saul valued membership, and he felt he was doing God’s work by persecuting Christians. It wasn’t until Jesus blinded him that he came to understand that he was persecuting true followers of God, and in turn, persecuting Jesus himself. He soon came to realize that discipleship was more valuable than membership; he spread word to the Jews, the group to which he formerly belonged, that Jesus was the Son of God.
Just as Jesus blinded Saul, I ask that you close your eyes to the pre-conceived notions of membership and belonging. Open your mind and your hearts to accept those who don’t “belong,” and share what you have been taught.
Let us pray: Lord, we thank you for showing us how to love and accept others. Guide us as we seek those who feel that they do not belong and as we share your word with them. Amen.