A Daily Lenten Devotion

Anytime either of my children says, “it would mean a lot to me if you would . . .” So I am determined to investigate their request. Per my son’s suggestion, I applied for a Johns Hopkins research study. He’d studied some of their research while in college, found out they were doing a clergy study and told me it would mean a lot to him if I would look into it. Granted, for a good part of my life, I think I lived under a rock, so I had no idea what “psychedelics” were when I first agreed to look into the study. It wasn’t until I was reading a book about them and saw that LSD was referenced that I was like, “Oh my, what have I gotten myself into?”

By this time, however, I was deep into the screening process with the researchers, doctors, and psychiatrists at Hopkins, so I decided I’d finish the process and then make a final decision. The process was a year of mental and physical screenings, ongoing therapy with “guides,” and mental preparation of one’s “trip” or “journey.” The purpose of the research was/is to see how drugs such as psychilocibin can have a positive impact on addictive diseases such as alcoholism, smoking and can also be a cure for clinical depression, anxiety, fear of death, etc.

There were several vital principles the guides would stress before the actual journey.

  1. Do not be afraid.

  2. Whatever you encounter, remember, it is only in your mind, and nothing can hurt you. Every situation you face will have the potential to teach you powerful lessons.

  3. “In” and “through.” Always go “in and through.” If you run away, you will always be running. Confront the things that confront you, regardless of how scary they may be.

  4. Don’t be afraid to die; if you feel like you are dying, it is ok because you aren’t. But explore the journey of death.

“Jesus as Savior” is probably one of the most widely used terms to describe him. However, it is a term used the least in scripture. Twice we will find him referred to as a “savior.” Because our human nature is to be controlled by guilt and reward/consequences, we attach that to our spiritual lives. Therefore, we associate “savior” with being saved “from something” (aka hell) instead of understanding that saving can happen while we are “in” something and that hell can be the circumstances we find ourselves in throughout our day to day lives.

One of the leading researchers at Hopkins had a divinity degree, so faith and spirituality were a part of the conversation. “In and through” was his favorite phrase.

“Whatever you encounter, go to it. While ‘in’ it, you will find the way ‘through’ it.”

The divine presence that lives in each of us, the Holy Spirit, is our salvation, our savior. It provides us with all we need to go in and through whatever faces us in life. That’s the kind of savior Jesus is. He is not plucking us “out” of stuff but giving us all that we need to endure it while we are in it.

Is Jesus your “Savior”? Absolutely. And with us every step, every breath of the way.