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Fifth Monday in Lent devotion

The Essence of Value                                          Fifth Monday in Lent - March 22, 2021

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.”  (Galatians 6:14)

LSB 425 – When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

(Verse 2 of this week’s hymn served as inspiration for today’s devotion.)

If I were to say to you, “I am not drinking coffee during Lent,” you might think I am making a big sacrifice, especially if you enjoy coffee!  However, what I failed to mention is that I don’t like coffee, and I never drink it!  Some sacrifice!  On the other hand, if I said “I am not eating any chocolate during Lent,” that would be a different story, because I DO like chocolate!

Sometimes the degree of sacrifice we make in a given situation depends on how much or how little we value what we are sacrificing.  To turn away from something that has little value to us may not be as difficult as turning away from something that we deem to have great value.  However, both Paul, writing to the Galatians, and Isaac Watts, writing our hymn, remind us of what has the greatest value.  Paul tells us that the ONLY thing worth enough to boast about is the cross of Christ.  Watts says the same thing in different words as he reminds us that we lay ALL of the things we have, especially those we value the most (“all the vain things that charm me most…”) at the foot of the cross of Christ.  We sacrifice everything because of the sacrifice that was made for us.

The last line of the hymn verse (“I sacrifice them to His blood”) reminds us of the incredible, unfathomable value of the sacrifice that was made for us by Christ.  It was a sacrifice that involved blood; His blood, shed on a cross to the point of death.  As we dwell on this, we recognize ever more clearly the chasm of value between what the world holds dear and what we, the redeemed children of God hold dear.  In response to the great good news that Jesus shed His blood for our righteousness, we kneel at His cross and exclaim in response to His loving sacrifice, “Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast save in the death of Christ my God!”

Prayer

Dearest Lord Jesus, thank you for going to the cross and shedding your blood for us.  We acknowledge before You that nothing else in the world, yea, not even everything else combined, has the same value as the blood you shed.  Thank you for doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.  With your help, may we never boast except in You, and You alone.  In Your precious name, Amen.

Rev. John Greene – Grace Lutheran Chapel