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- Posted on 14 Apr 2020, Pastor: Dr. Robert Johnson

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Posted on 14 Apr 2020, Pastor: Dr. Robert Johnson

Come By Night, Leave By Day

Posted on 08 Mar 2020, Pastor: Dr. Robert Johnson

The Gift of Grace

Posted on 01 Mar 2020, Pastor: Seminary Intern Jonathan Moelker

The Lamp in the Darkness

Posted on 23 Feb 2020, Pastor: Dr. Robert Johnson
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NHPC Daily Devotion July 3 2020
Ps. 107 reminds us that EVEN WHEN WE BLOW IT, God is still there for us.
New Hanover Presbyterian Church
New Hanover Presbyterian Church
Daily Devotional for Thursday, July 2, 2020 from Rev. Dr. Eric Douglass

I Jn. 4:8: Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.


I think that all of us have questions that we would like to ask various Biblical characters. In the last meditation, I asked a question of Peter. In this one, I turn to ask one of Judas. But be warned, the two stories are surprisingly similar. Let me set me stage:

Jesus and his merry band of disciples traveled down the dusty roads of Palestine. The disciples listen to Jesus’ teaching on the Kingdom of God, learning that God loves everyone. Indeed, the “greatest commands” are to love God, and to love one’s neighbor as one’s self. Then Jesus puts these commands into practice by helping Samaritans—whom all good Jews hate. Indeed, he calls a tax-collector—whom all good Jews hate.

Then the soldiers came. It was in the garden…our place of solitude and quiet…Gethsemane. Judas was leading them, for he knew of our favorite places to meet God. He gives our master a kiss—the sign of friendship. But betrayal is what Judas did. He turned on us for money.

At this point I stop to ask Judas my question: “Why the betrayal?”

Judas always saw the movement for what he could get out of it. For example, Judas kept the cash for the group, but instead of helping the poor, he “used to steal what was put into it” (Jn. 12:6). But what Judas really wanted was the reputation of being a leader in the ‘great movement of God.’ He saw the kingdom as a literal one, with him as one of the generals. So, when Jesus berates him (over the woman pouring perfume on Jesus’ feet), it was just too much. He had put up with all of Jesus’ antics, such as helping a foreigner (Samaritan) and those who helped foreigners (tax-collector). Jesus was a traitor to his own race. Consumed with anger and rage, Judas lashes out in the only way he can: a kiss of betrayal. Judas descends into darkness.

While yesterday’s text gave us one model for living in darkness (fear), today’s text gives us yet another: hating those who are different from us. It seems that this path is still present with us. Some imagine that the coronavirus is the fault of the Chinese, and so lash out at Asians with obscenities and baseball bats. Some imagine that African-American children, who went to the store for Skittles, are really out to steal our stuff. Some imagine that protestors are such a threat that they must be met with violence. We have so much trouble with diversity.

To these groups, Jesus says: “Enough!” And then: “Didn’t you hear me say that God loves everyone…and to love one’s neighbor as one’s self?” Jesus shakes his head, but he doesn’t walk off. Instead, he gathers his merry little band, starts walking down another dusty road, and begins to tell us parables:

“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ (Mt. 18:32-33).


Our Lord:

You desired for your children
to enjoy the good life:
to do kindness, to do mercy,
and to show the same love
that you showed us.

But it is easier to show exclusion,
to indulge the idols of the tribe,
where we push the other down,
where we build walls of separation
and fences of division.

Recall us to the narrow way,
harder, steeper, rougher,
with harsh winds and rugged paths,
but always meaningful…always life-giving…
always creating community.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God (Mt. 5:9).