Use this devo as you are able, in whole or in part. Don’t feel compelled to read it all. Simply read and meditate upon whatever catches your attention. The goal is enjoying time with God through His Word and in prayer. Questions about the devotional elements?
Call to Prayer
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. (Psalm 65:8)
Prayer of Confession
Confession is formative. It trains us to recognize the ways our hearts have become de-formed and how Christ is at work bringing redemption in our lives. Pray with this in mind.
Grant, O God,that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP 823)
Take a moment to confess your sins, knowing that he hears you.
This reading plan will help you to develop the habit of being in God’s Word each morning and evening. Come to this time with expectation. Expect God to reveal himself to you. Expect that he delights in you being there, even when you’ve wandered away. Growing a spiritual habit is a slow, patient process. So be kind to yourself as you grow!
Readings are hyperlinked. Simply hover over the passage or click Morning/Evening Reading (email version).
Praying the Psalms: Read slowly. Take note of words and phrases. Bring them before the Lord in prayer and personalize the passage as you pray.
NT Context: In deliberate parallel to the opening words of Genesis, John presents God as speaking salvation into existence. This time God’s word takes on human form and enters history in the person of Jesus. Jesus speaks the word and it happens: forgiveness and judgment, healing and illumination, mercy and grace, joy and love, freedom and resurrection. Everything broken and fallen, sinful and diseased, called into salvation by God’s spoken word. Jesus, in this account, not only speaks the word of God; he is the Word of God.Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: The Exodus is a powerful and dramatic and true story of God working salvation. The story has generated an extraordinary progeny through the centuries as it has reproduced itself in song and poem, drama and novel, politics and social justice, repentance and conversion, worship and holy living. It continues to capture the imagination of men and women, especially men and women in trouble. It is significant that God does not present us with salvation in the form of an abstract truth, or a precise definition or a catchy slogan, but as story. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
This section of the Devo focuses on the passage(s) for Sunday’s sermon. Go ahead and read the following passage(s) and use theParables Reading Plan + Study Guideto journal what stands out and what you have questions about in the passages. Below is a helpful commentary that can help to fill in the gaps.
Read: Deuteronomy 16:2–8 + 1 Corinthians 5:6-8
Today’s passages explore how Christ is our Passover Lamb. Stephen Um, who pastors in Boston, provides an excellent summary of how we should approach Christ in this way:
“Paul uses the metaphor here of leaven or yeast to capture the social consequences of wrongdoing. Yeast doesn’t stay in one corner of the loaf; it permeates the whole…The same is true with sin or social wrong because the community is all one loaf. What one person does impacts another…What we do is never a private matter. It can never be!
For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (vv. 7b, 8)
Here are some of the questions [the passage causes us to ask]: are we teachable, humble, correctable, or do we have a stubborn resolve that refuses to change when confronted with wrong? If it’s the latter, then the Supper needs to challenge us and wake us up. It’s also intended to cause us to ask difficult questions about our relationships.
In verse 7 Paul calls Christians “a new lump” or a new loaf—in other words, a body that’s united as one. Is this evident in our lives—unity or reconciliation in the fullest sense? If we have wronged someone, have we done everything we can to make things right, or do we just not care? If someone has wronged us, have we confronted him gently, or is it more important to us that we avoid the awkwardness of broaching the issue? A healthy church is a self-correcting ecosystem…
Are we intentionally seeking life together with people who are different from us, striving to have relationships that are more just, or are we simply surrounding ourselves with folks like us…? The Supper is intended to wake us up from all of that, to break the spell of our own stubbornness and sin. This is why we say time and again that we need to be at peace with God and neighbor to take this meal.
And lastly, the Supper is also designed to make us ask difficult questions about our commitment to Christ’s body…Paul says in verse 7 that “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” for us. What he’s doing here is deliberately bringing us into another world, the one that surrounds this meal. Thousands of years ago, a people was groaning under the weight of the oppression that was laid on them by their stubborn and unjust captors. To make matters worse, they were obstinate and oppressive themselves, unwilling to change or seek help. But in spite of all of this, someone intervened with a plague of death that would strike their captors and set them free.
But there was a problem. This plague was sent to swallow up the stubborn, the oppressive, the unjust, but that wasn’t just for their captors, but for the very people themselves. So what could they do? The blood of a sacrifice, painted on the lintels and doorposts, would cause this plague of death to pass them by. The blood of another, a substitute, would protect them from danger and save them from death.
And now, thousands of years later, this very same tale would play itself out yet again. There was a plague of death for the obstinate, the stubborn, the unjust—you and me. But again, someone would intervene with the blood of another, a substitute, a sacrifice that would protect us from danger and save us from death—Christ our Passover lamb. His body and blood challenge us, it’s true. But his body and blood save us and change us because we can’t do that for ourselves. And that’s why we can come and celebrate this meal, even though we are not perfect.
Evening Prayer of Examen
Where did you move with or feel close to Jesus today?
Where did you resist or feel far from Jesus today?
Where is Jesus leading you tomorrow? Ask for joy as you follow him.
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands. (Psalm 90:17)