Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find a recording of this devotion on the prayer line (1-304-748-7900) or on the Cove Presbyterian Church Podbean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.
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They answered him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing what Abraham did, but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are indeed doing what your father does." They said to him, "We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself." Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot accept my word. You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is from God hears the words of God. The reason you do not hear them is that you are not from God."
A Little Lower than Heaven
I think we all know that certain traits tend to be passed down from one generation to the next. For example, I have the “Rudiger nose,” something that is unquestionably distinct and from which I believe my daughter has been spared, much to our relief. But of course, it’s not just physical traits that are passed down. I mean, whether it attributable to nature or nurture, children often tend to adopt the personalities and the characteristics of their parents, as well as many of their values and enjoyments and fears. And that’s why, without knowing anything about their lineage, you can either identify or describe a person’s parents based by appearance, attitude and actions.
And in a broader, more profound sense, the same thing can be said about our spiritual ancestry. And that’s important, because the one we claim to worship is the one “...who loved the world so much that he gave his only son” and who “...came to serve, not be served.” You see, if God is our Father and Jesus is our brother, then this should be reflected in how we live. But if we decide that we’re not going to love others with anything more tangible than words and we’re not going to treat those around us with the kind of respect and dignity we’d like to be treated and we’re not going to do anything that might inconvenience us, then we probably shouldn’t claim that we’re related to the Prince of Peace. And if we’re going to put ourselves first and if we’re going to spiritualize the very concrete words of Christ and if we decide to conform our values to the world rather than the creator of the world, then we probably should recognize that our actual, spiritual Father may reside a little lower than heaven.