Devotional for the week of September 25, 2022 – Optical Illusions

Have you ever seen one of those pictures that changes depending on how you look at it? Is it a rabbit or a duck? Is it a vase or two faces looking at one another? A young woman or an old one? Sometimes our first impression of something gets in the way of us seeing it another way.

In the parable Jesus tells today, there is a man with wealth and influence who has always seen his life as a success. That success seems all the more pronounced in contrast to a poor, sick beggar who is always hanging around the entrance to his house. But when the rich man dies, he realizes that his life was actually the opposite of what he thought. It was not his possessions or status that mattered; it was the justice and love he showed to others. When it came to those things, he was far more impoverished and much sicker than the man he looked down on every day.

When we look at our own lives, it can be easy to get stuck in just one way of seeing them. If we focus on worldly standards, we may judge ourselves as successes or failures in ways that are out of touch with how God sees us. With this parable, Jesus calls us to new ways of looking at ourselves. Where are we missing the opportunities right outside our front door to act with love and justice for our siblings near and far?

In Christian worship, we gather to practice the way our lives and our world appear to God. We lift up the cries that have gone unheard. We look at one another and ourselves through the redemptive waters of baptism. We feed one another around the table that Christ sets for us all in our common need. As witnesses to God’s truth, we send one another forth to shatter misguided illusions in the world around us.

Devotional message and art based on the readings for September 25th, reprinted from

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