Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause email devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your email box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience. 

Our devotion writers are Luther Seminary alumni. Their reflections are a gift to you and to the church.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

There is a balm in Gilead
to make the wounded whole;
there is a balm in Gilead
to heal the sin-sick soul.

Sometimes I feel discouraged
and think my work's in vain,
but then the Holy Spirit
revives my soul again.  Refrain

If you cannot preach like Peter,
if you cannot pray like Paul,
you can tell the love of Jesus
and say, "He died for all."  Refrain

Don't ever be discouraged,
for Jesus is your friend;
and if you lack for knowledge
he'll ne'er refuse to lend.  Refrain

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. referenced "There Is a Balm in Gilead" and admitted, "I get weary every now and then." He asserted that this African American spiritual, adapted from the prophet Jeremiah's words (Jeremiah 8:22), comforted his enslaved foreparents. King continued, "Living every day under the threat of death, I feel discouraged sometimes." He delivered this sermon in August 1967, less than eight months before his assassination.

King, Peter, Paul, Jeremiah, Jonah and countless people called to declare God to be "a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love" (Jonah 4:2) faced discouragement and death. Yet they trusted God and shared the good news. It seems unlikely many of us will face death answering God's call. Consequently, whatever the specific vocations of our call, let us eagerly join Christians throughout God's kingdom to proclaim Epiphany's message of the love of Jesus, the light for all people.

God of love and light, you are the only life-giving balm that heals our souls. Often we get weary, discouraged and frightened when we rely on ourselves. Thank you for reviving us! Give us the abilities, knowledge, boldness and love to unite with Christians to share your light with all people. Amen.

Mary Simonson Clark
Redeemer's Ministry Team
& Adjunct Instructor, Social Work, Augsburg College
Minneapolis, Minn.
Master of Arts in Theology/Master of Social Work , 2007

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