Agape: March 27, 2020

Agape: The 2020 Lenten Devotional for St. Paul's Episcopal Church

“God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.” -1 John 4:9

One of my favorite lines from the 1896 Book of Common Prayer reads:

If … the Minister shall know any to be an open and notorious evil liver … he shall advertise him …

I don’t know of anyone who considers themselves to be an “evil liver” – notorious or otherwise – but the command to advertise them as such seems a bit much. I am glad we are past the age of naming and shaming those who do wrong, for the temptation (for me) in doing such a thing is to think that would make me a better liver. Well, I’m not. I tromp the same mud each day as the rest of us, and I come to church by God’s gracious invitation and not by my capacity to clean up the outside all nice and spiffy.

When I was conceived, I lay in my mother’s womb for a spell. I was nourished by her and kept safe by her so that in the fullness of time I would be born – a new creature. I believe this life finds us, through the miracle of baptism, gestating within the divine womb of God until the day God delivers us from the womb, through the tomb, and on to new life. We will be transformed from being evil livers to being holy livers. That’s why we pray: Good Lord, de-liver us!

God, you know us all so well. You conceived us, nurtured us, tended to us through thick and thin, and despite all we do that may frustrate you to no end, you hang onto us and call us your beloved children. Help me to believe you believe that about me, and help me live into the reality towards which you are leading me and guiding me. I ask this in the Name of the One who has delivered me from evil. Amen.
-Keith Axberg