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Devotional: March 16, 2022

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Surely we do not need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you, do we? 2You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all; 3and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

2 Corinthians 3: 1-3 NRSV

A written and notarized document is considered to be extremely important when it comes to things that are legal. A testimony in a courtroom, given under oath, and sworn upon the bible by a defendant: this is a form of telling the truth.

Here, Paul states clearly that what is written on someone’s heart is also a testimony. What do our hearts show others? Our actions and words can be powerful. Christ wants to write His Word and His love upon our hearts, so that others may reached with the good news of His love.

Sometimes, there is a stark contrast between affection, and a written document. Legal procedures are often void of emotions and feelings. While they are important, feelings and emotions are also part of life. Part of Paul’s message is that what is in a person’s heart is more important than any written document.

Paul was under attack by some in the Corinthian congregation. Probably out of jealousy, they questioned Paul’s status as an apostle. “Show us your letter of recommendation as an apostle!”, they seemed to demand.

Paul writes back that his greatest letter of recommendation to serve as an apostle is not some piece of paper, with words written in ink. No! The greatest proof of his apostleship is written in love, upon the hearts of many in that Corinthian congregation. Paul knew that the Corinthian’s own love and affection for him, and for Christ, was the greatest letter of recommendation of all.

This morning, the President of Ukraine gave our leaders a passionate and heartfelt plea for help. I have no idea how our leaders will respond. There is great fear and grief in that part of the world, and we are angered at what we are watching, as people are injured and killed. However, we are not completely helpless. As Christians, we can and must turn to our Lord in prayer. We must pray that as we lead our lives with God’s written word directing us, we hold those in pain close to our hearts.

This passage speaks of Paul unjustly being attacked. How does he respond? He declares that the Spirit of the Living God is present. He shows great strength while under siege. Let us all take a page from Paul’s words, and pray for those who are under attack. Let us all pray for those who are unjustly being persecuted, looking to Paul as a reminder that God has not forgotten them. Please continue to pray for Ukraine, for their president, and for the wisdom of the leaders of this world…

Prayer

Lord of all,

Let me never be content with doing the minimum, when it comes to loving You, or loving my neighbor. Instead, inspire me to write love letters to You, through my actions and my words. Save me from myself, when slothfulness tempts me to slack off. May I never settle for doing the least for You, and loving You in name only. Instead, I choose to focus upon loving my neighbors, including those in need. Today, I pray especially for our neighbors in Ukraine. Grant them protection, perseverance, and peace. I pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.


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