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Monday, August 11, 2014

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Who is it who gathers the outcasts of Israel? It is the Lord God, our reading tells us. What a wonderful description of God as the One who gathers the outcasts! This can bring comfort to those who have known the feeling of being outcast, who have had the sense of feeling excluded and unwelcome.

It can also bring comfort in a more literal sense—when it holds the conviction that God is gathering in those in our world today who are excluded and unwelcome. Our news is full of people who are fleeing and have no place to go. But we have a God who notices and who cares about them.

It is God who gathers us in! What then does that say about the church? It is to be a church that gathers people in! For together we can "be joyful in the house of prayer." This is a call for us now. This is a promise for life eternal, when truly ALL will be gathered in by God. For soon God's "salvation will come and his deliverance will be revealed."

Lord God, as we wait for you, make us instruments for gathering your people as we await your coming and presence. Amen.

Amanda Schultz
Pastor of Bethany, Immanuel and Trinity Lutheran Churches, Cashton, Wis.
Master of Divinity , 2013

Isaiah 56:1, 6-8 (NRSV)

1 Thus says the Lord: Maintain justice, and do what is right, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed.
6 And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it, and hold fast my covenant—
7 these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
8 Thus says the Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.