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Weekly Devotionals

Weekly Devotion: Packaged Well, Never Opened


13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back,20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

James 5:13-20

They say not to judge a book by it’s cover but frankly, I do it all the time. Literally, when I go into a bookstore and start browsing the aisles for something new to read, it is the cover that has a particular design and an intriguing title that gets my attention. I hope that the cover presentation of the book somehow reflects the content and I take a plunge. What can I say, I do appreciate a good cover design. 

Unfortunately, the risks I’ve taken on book covers haven’t always satisfied. Often times it was just a marketing tool and I’m a sucker. 

In the same way though, this kind of marketing happens among us people too, right? We learn through social interactions, the media, and family what types of things are desirable, attractive, respected – and we package ourselves to look a certain part. Not only do we package ourselves, we also buy into each other’s packages. We like to believe there are perfect people out there who are actually how they are being advertised on the outside and don’t like it when we’re disappointed. 

With the busyness of life and the uncertainties of where we really belong, we continue to package and repackage ourselves to always look like we have it together and often forget about who we are inside. There’s always some kind of ugly in who we are inside that we’d rather not reveal. 

Yet our Scripture passage for today reminds us of the ups and downs of who we are and says it’s OK to let it be known. We are sinners, we are sick, and we get ourselves into trouble but we shouldn’t deal with it on our own, inside our well packaged, self-created boxes, but rather together, as a community, and with the Lord in prayer. We are told to come together with both our joys and our pains. God encourages us to come out of hiding and be one with His family. In Christ, we can come out of our packaging and live in freedom, knowing that we belong to God who accepts us and saved us while were yet sinners. In the community of Christ we are to carry each other’s burdens and also celebrate each other’s joy. 

This Christmas season, as we see a lot of beautiful gifts being opened, I pray we’ll be reminded to be open to others as well! Take a risk and let your friends see what’s inside 🙂

Stay warm this week! 
with love,
P. Judy