Clever Words: A Lenten Devotional
A Clever Word for the Season of Lent:
To call upon, summon; to invite (in the middle voice)
A Clever Verse for Context
“"Everyone who calls on (epikaleō) the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13)
What happens when we call upon God? On some occasions the situation changes to our benefit and sometimes we are the ones who change. Salvation, you see, is as much about what is going on inside us as it is about whatever troubles us out in the world. To invite (epikaleō) God into our troubles is to see those troubles through God’s goodness and mercy. It is to let go of our own need for control, suspend our judgment, and allow God to go about the work of saving: us, them, everyone.
If you paid attention in English class, you may have heard of the active voice (the dinosaur eats me!) and the passive voice (I am being eaten by the dinosaur!). Ancient Greek also has a “middle” voice, which often adds special meanings to a word. In the “middle,” epikaleō can mean “to invite.” So, for example, the historian Herodotus (5th century BCE) tells a story about a Babylonian queen who had her tomb inscribed with words “inviting” (epikaleō) future rulers to take its treasures. But when a later king opens the tomb, he finds it empty, save for the queen’s body and an admonishment to be content with what you have (see Herodotus, Histories 1.187-188).
Clever Questions for Further Reflection
How have your prayers been answered? When have those answers surprised you?
When have you invited God into your life?
When have you been hesitant to call upon God?
A Clever Prayer to Close
Holy God, I invite you.
Come, not as an avenger for my injured pride and frustrated ego.
Come not as the anthropomorphization of my judgment on others.
Come, as you always do, as love without conditions, as vulnerability, as peace that passes understanding.
Holy God, I invite you.
Come and save us all.
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About the Blog
Journey through the season of Advent with daily updates on the adventures of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Belliacre, MI as they attempt to cobble together a Christmas Pageant with an unlikely cast of characters.
Stephanie is an art educator and a landscape/portrait artist. Her inspirations come from the amazing people she meets and the gorgeous state of Michigan as well as her home state of Florida. She and he husband love nature. They are out in the water during the summer months and on the snow in the winter enjoying the simple pleasures of life.