Home > Reading > Daily Reading – March 12, 2023

Third Sunday in Lent

It was only a few months ago that my wife Cindy and I sat in a nice outdoor restaurant, eating wonderful Greek food, and looking out over the market square of ancient Corinth. It was not hard to imagine the ancient Corinthians, the people Paul was trying to shepherd, busily moving about the city. Walking along, they would have mused at the various markets of fish, fruits, clothing, hardware, etc. In their walking about they would have also seen, as frequently as we see drug stores mix into retail areas today, temples! So, when Paul talks about temples in his letter to the Corinthians, he’s lighting up in their minds the temples they are familiar with—but probably not the Jerusalem Temple.It seems that a key function of temples in Paul’s day was to bring glory, not only to the god/goddess it was dedicated to, but also to the city where they were located. Temples put cities “on the map”.
I think Paul says several things in these two short verses of 1 Corinthians 6 that give meaning to our Lenten journey. One is that we need to remember that we are not our own! Our whole being, including our body, belongs to the Lord. And this goes against the creeping influence of sin in our lives, to think we own ourselves.

Another point Paul makes is that we are now inhabited by the Holy Spirit. We are temples that can travel, part of God’s purpose to go after humanity with saving grace!

But, the hardest point for me to get my mind around is that of “glorifying God” with my body. I’m not sure there’s much there to work with. But then again, Paul’s probably not telling folk to use good looks to say something about God. From the context, he’s pointing to how we have a physical presence in this world — which Paul and the ancient Corinthians no longer have.

What we do with that presence matters a lot. Hands can be used to caress or punch; feet can be used to fetch things or to kick; mouths can be used for evil or to glorify God!

Prayer: Dear God, forgive us for however we may misuse or neglect our bodies. Remind us in our Lenten journey that You have made us in Your image, but more than that, we our wonderful temples You reside in. Help us this week to be Your hands, feet, and mouth; to bring Your Kingdom into the lives of those we touch. Amen.

Devotion written by The Rev. Dr. Jesse J. Abbott

“Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, 604”

This daily prayer and Bible reading guide, Devoted to Prayer (based on Acts 2:42), was conceived and prepared by the Rev. Andrew S. Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). After several challenging years in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been provided with a unique opportunity to revitalize the ancient practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading in our homes. While the Reading the Word of God three-year lectionary provided a much-needed and refreshing calendar for our congregations to engage in Scripture reading, this calendar includes a missing component of daily devotion: prayer. This guide is to provide the average layperson and pastor with the simple tools for sorting through the busyness of their lives and reclaiming an act of daily discipleship with their Lord. The daily readings follow the Lutheran Book of Worship two-year daily lectionary, which reflect the church calendar closely. The commemorations are adapted from Philip H. Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, a proposed common calendar of the saints that builds from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but includes saints from many of those churches in ecumenical conversation with the NALC. The introductory portion is adapted from Christ Church (Plano)’s Pray Daily. Our hope is that this calendar and guide will provide new life for congregations learning and re-learning to pray in the midst of a difficult and changing world.

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