For the past several months, I’ve started the day by reading the Daily Lectionary most mornings. The lectionary provides readings from the Old Testament, New Testament and a Psalm for each day, following the themes of the church year. Mateo picked up on this routine and started asking me to wake him up early so he could do “devotions” with me.
Yesterday morning we read from Luke over breakfast, concluding chapter 11 with Jesus’s warnings to the religious hypocrites of his day. This led to a great conversation with the kids about the dangers of self-righteousness. We talked about constantly returning to Christ’s grace and our need for forgiveness, rather than trying to uphold the law ourselves and then looking down on the sins of others.
The Lutheran Study Bible has wonderful notes and prayers that I cherish! This reading shared the lyrics of a hymn in the form of prayer:
Not what I feel or do
Can give me peace with God;
Not all my prayers and sighs and tears
Can bear my awful load.
Thy work along, O Christ,
Can ease this weight of sin;
Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God,
Can give me peace within.
“Not What These Hands Have Done” (Lutheran Service Book, 567: 2-3)
There’s such freedom in this knowledge as we acknowledge, over and over again, that our peace, hope and salvation are because of Christ’s work, not our own. When I readily accept this grace, (which includes repenting of my sinfulness), I allow the kids to receive grace too. Which, in turn, turns the pressure down on all of us!
When I looked up the hymn reference, I found such comfort and peace in the fourth verse:
Thy love to me, O God,
Not mine, O Lord, to Thee,
Can rid me of this dark unrest
And set my spirit free.
“Not What These Hands Have Done” (Lutheran Service Book, 567: 4)