Devotional - January 25, 2021

Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. -Deuteronomy 6:4-9 In 2002 the footwear “Crocs” was invented. Only a few years later the Sacketts became a Croc family (at least 3 of the 4 of us, I could not convince Scot). I think the only other shoes Maddie wore for a whole year were her pink cowgirl boots. You may have seen Maddie in church with a pretty dress accented by pink Crocs. Crocs are wonderful to camp in, go to the pool in, we even mastered hiking in them. But Crocs are not wonderful in 30-degree weather. There were many tears shed in the Sackett household over not wearing our Crocs to preschool on winter days. We all pick our battles. I remember giving in to the Croc crocodile tears, and saying “fine, wear them!” I wish I could say that was an act of parenting wisdom, but it was more likely being worn down into defeat and needing to get us out the door. But guess what happens when you allow your child room to make their own unwise choices? They experience the unpleasantness of snow seeping into the holes of the Crocs and it makes them feel very cold! Problem solved, right? Do you think the Crocs were then put to the side to await summer and wisdom was gained? No. This battle continued for a while, until one day, maybe with the repetition of continual discomfort, my children finally grew into the acceptance that Crocs, and flip flops too, are strictly summer footwear. I wish I could explain away this scenario by just stating - 4 year-olds are hard-headed! But we all are hard-headed. The story of Israel that we read throughout the Old Testament affirms that truth. They were a people who strayed and struck out on their own in their flimsy Crocs, again and again, therefore the scripture from Deuteronomy 6 was a much-needed reminder. Our scripture for today is one of my favorites. I am not alone in this, the scripture known to the Jews as the Shema has been repeated in prayer, daily, by faithful Jews throughout the generations. And nine out of ten Christian Educators will state that these verses from Deuteronomy are their favorite because the truth of how humans learn most effectively is revealed in these words from holy scripture. WRITE THESE WORDS ON YOUR DOORPOSTS, the scripture tells us! That is what it takes for our hard heads to soften to God’s truth. We need to see these words again and again and again, in the hopes that each day they will resonate more deeply into our memory banks and come to life in our actions, like the reckoning that Crocs are NOT made for winter! A daily prayer – “to go out in the world loving God and God alone,” is a confession that without such a prayer I may forget. A doorpost, that I pass by each time I leave my home, is an acknowledgment that I need one more reminder of which path to take as I exit my home. Hearing, seeing, and participating in the word read and proclaimed from a pew or a couch deepens my resolve, weekly, to put my faith in Jesus first. May we wake up each morning remembering and repeating the lessons of our yesterdays and carrying the gift of those lessons into the new day. And when the reminders are all there, but forgotten, and we are still wearing our Crocs in winter and straying down a treacherous path, may we pull from our experience and memory the all-important word – GRACE - and know that we are forgiven. Amen! -Leigh Sackett, Director of Christian Education

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