Sunday, February 17, 2013

SOAP: First Sunday of Lent

S.O.A.P. stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. If you want an explanation for these sections, please read my first SOAP post.
Today is the First Sunday of Lent, and the Holy Spirit inspired me to have a S.O.A.P. devotional on the second reading.


Scripture

Romans 10:8-13
Brothers and sisters:
What does Scripture say?
The word is near you,
in your mouth and in your heart

—that is, the word of faith that we preach—,
for, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved.
For one believes with the heart and so is justified,
and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
For the Scripture says,
No one who believes in him will be put to shame.
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek;
the same Lord is Lord of all,
enriching all who call upon him.

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Observation

First, I wanted to search out what scripture passages Paul was quoting iin this part of his letter. I think it is important to understand why he was quoting those passages and where they came from. The first one was Deutoronomy 30:14 "No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out." God was explaining his laws to Moses. He was explaining what he wanted his promised people to do. In this law it was simple- follow the laws the God has given to Moses and the people will be set free. Don't follow the laws and they are doomed. Faith in God should be readily available (in your hearts and mouths) and easily accessible.

The second one was Isaiah 45:17 "Israel, you are saved by the LORD, saved forever! You shall never be put to shame or disgrace in future ages." In this section of Isaiah, it is the book of consolation (specifically the Lord's glory in Israel's liberation).  Israel worships the true God and will not be put to shame for their love and praise for Him, unlike those who worship false gods.
The last one is Joel 2:32 "And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord Will be delivered;" Joel is a prophetic book about the Lord's coming. There are terrifying images of the Judgement Day and a restored image of Israel. God is both vindicator and blessing.

Application

The section that sticks out to me is verse 12 "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, enriching all who call upon him."  This is so important to hear. Yes- we all worship the same God. I hope that we can continue as a community to build each other up instead of tearing each other down. Our priest today mentioned that many of our our protestant brothers and sisters have a wonderful personal relationship with God that us, as Catholics, tend to lack. I thought it was fantastic that he pointed out how we can learn from each other. I know I have. 

I get together every Friday night for fellowship, worship, discipleship and building wonderful relationships. We are all Christians, but different denominations. Does that mean we don't get along. No!  These people are awesome and they have helped me and my family get closer to God.  My husband and I leave the Table talking about what was discussed, eager to disect it more. This past week, for the first time, I made a connection with something I read in the Bible earlier in the day. This group of amazing people are helping me come closer to God and are helping me build that personal relationship I was lacking. Am I better than them because I am a Catholic and they are not?  NO! We all worship the same Lord. We all have one goal: to be pleasing to Him in what we say and do. We are the same. We build each other up and we pray for each other. Friday nights is a powerful night for the Holy Spirit. I can feel Him in the room move between us as we pray, sing, and worship. I live for my Friday nights because of how much I learn from everyone there. 

If a few families can come together and look over denominations, we should do it for the whole world. Most religions pray to a "Creator God"- guess who that is?  God the Father!  Maybe some are missing out on Jesus, and I would love to introduce them to Him, but let us start with the basic. God. God the Creator of us all. Let us unify and grow in peace with each other instead of hatred, condemnation, criticism, and complaints with one another.

Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred . . . let me sow love
Where there is injury . . . pardon
Where there is doubt . . . faith
Where there is despair . . . hope
Where there is darkness . . . light
Where there is sadness . . . joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled . . . as to console
To be understood . . . as to understand,
To be loved . . . as to love
For it is in giving . . . that we receive,
It is in pardoning . . . that we are pardoned,
It is in dying . . . that we are born to eternal life
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