Bible Readings and Devotion for October 20, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for October 20, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
One of our common, human responses to relational or emotional discomfort is deflect the situation. When a personal or disagreeable topic is being discussed we often want to change the subject or make it about somebody else, anybody else. Sometimes we head off the difficult topic at the pass by initiating a conversation in which we make sure it is not about our personal issues, sin or problems.
Our reading today from the Gospel of Luke is all about this. It is especially about our efforts to talk about anybody else or anything else besides our personal issues, sin or problems. People have come to Jesus to ask about two tragic situations. One is the death of several people from a collapsed building. The other is about how Pontius Pilate murdered several Galileans and then desecrated the sacrifices by mixing their blood with that of the sacrificial animals. The questioners want to know if those dead people’s sins were worse than others.
Jesus turns this back on them. Rather than judge the sinfulness of deceased people, Jesus tells the questioners that they need to be focused on their own personal issues, sin and problems. He knows these people are avoiding the uncomfortable topic of their own problems. They would simply rather point at others, for it is easier.
Jesus uses this conversation to redirect the questioners toward self-examination and repentance. Each person is called to reflect on one’s life and, “to get right with God.” That is the most pressing issue in each person’s life, both then and now.
God has often utilized our concern about some tragic situation to turn us back toward him and to address real issues in our own lives. Instead of gossiping, speculating, or worrying about the sin of others, the call of Jesus is to take seriously his call to repent, to get back on track with the Lord.
Today is a day when you and I can take seriously the call of Jesus to repent. It is a perfect day to receive the love of God in Jesus Christ and to respond with repentance which leads to life. When we put serious energy into repentance and striving to do things God’s way, we will have no time left to point at the sin of others. As we repent and strive to do things God’s way, others will get to see how God works in our lives, and possibly theirs.
The Prayer of the Day for Ash Wednesday
Almighty and ever-living God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and honest hearts, so that, truly repenting of our sins, we may receive from you, the God of all mercy, full pardon and forgiveness through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.