7/11/22 Devotional from Ed
July 11, 2022
Text: John 14:27-29
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur you may believe.
The longtime dean of Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte, Richard Boyce, retired this summer after decades of ministry within churches, the mayor's office, and the classroom. Like so many Union students, I look up to Dr. Boyce and love to listen to his preaching. He was the preaching and worship professor for hundreds of students over his career at Union.
In his most recent sermon at Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian in Charlotte, Dr. Boyce preached on the John passage above, but I caught something in his prayer for illumination that is notable. Notice how Jesus tells us to "not let our hearts be troubled" in the reading, but Dr. Boyce asked for the Spirit to "trouble our hearts." Had Dr. Boyce, I wondered, made a mistake in the prayer?
No. Dr. Boyce makes the argument that the peace we receive from Christ's deep love for us enables us to look outward and help our neighbors - neighbors who are deciding between medicine and groceries, neighbors who cannot get out of the bed due to depression and anxiety, neighbors who woke up angry, neighbors who are hurt.
Near the end of his sermon, Dr. Boyce says, "God grants comfort to our hearts so our hearts might turn outwards."
Prayer: Trouble our hearts, O Lord, so we might disrupt the hurt in our broken world. Amen.