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In Christ

A Lent Reflection for Monday, February 19 by Rev. Oreon K. Trickey


Lectionary Reading for  2/19/24: Psalm 77; Job 4:1-21; Ephesians 2:1-10

Selected passage for reflection: Ephesians 2:1-10


Read 

Ephesians 2:1-10 NRSVue

You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. 


3 All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, doing the will of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else, 4 but God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 


8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we may walk in them.


Reflect

There are so many life-giving concepts and declarations in this brief portion of Scripture that it’s difficult to know where to begin applying this to our Lent experience. 


Included are:

  • Our old “dead” life with its self-focused nature, 

  • God’s gracious mercy and kindness toward us, 

  • Christ’s salvation given to us as a gift of grace,

  • Our current position of being seated with God in the heavenly places,

  • And the good works we are created for, that will flow out of our daily walk with Jesus.  


Seriously, this is a lot!!


I read through these verses three times -  two times silently and once aloud.  Each time the small phrase “but God” grabbed my heart, and the “with Christ” and “in Christ” statements that follow.  


Observing Lent each year gives us the opportunity to take some inventory of our lives, our souls, and our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  A good place to begin is to honestly name and own our self-focused tendencies and actions, our sins and short-comings, our brokenness.  This isn’t about shame or even guilt, it’s about showing up to Jesus as all of who we are:  all of the good, the bad, the ugly, the wounded parts of us.  It’s not pretty, but it’s real.  And Jesus honors our coming to him “Just As We Are.”  


If we stopped here, it would be nothing short of overwhelming and depressing.  However, this is the place where the BUT GOD happens.


We have laid ourselves open before our God, and now God gets to show us a renewed sense of God’s mercy, kindness, grace, redemption, giving us the opportunity to once again embrace and live into our IN CHRIST reality.  


Respond 

  • Take a few deep centering breaths.

  • Read verses 1-3.

  • What “old life” area or situation do you want to bring to Christ for His forgiveness and redemption and healing?

  • Say out loud, “BUT GOD.”

  • Read verses 4-10. What aspect of being In Christ most resonates with you this Lenten season? What do you desire to have a greater awareness of? 


Rest

To conclude today’s reflection, here are two options, depending on your time constraints:


1. Take a few quiet moments to listen to

    “You Are Always With Me” by iAmSon on your preferred music platform

    Or here:


2. Slowly pray this prayer:

    Dear Jesus,

   Thank you, thank you, thank you.

   Amen.  


About the Author

A long-time resident of Chicago, Oreon is a seasoned urban ministry practitioner, spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and Enneagram consultant.  She currently lives and serves with the Jesus People community in the city's Uptown neighborhood. Oreon plays a mean blues guitar, loves to laugh deeply, and appreciates a serious cup of coffee.  @oreont

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i surprised myself by nearly crying on Sunday working in the nursery with the littles. the lesson of the day is that Jesus always loves you, no matter what you've done. why is it so hard for me to believe that God can love me "no matter what i've done." why is it hard to believe we are a new creation? that God is the one who accomplises the work?

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