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.


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Friday, February 27, 2015

"Those who are ashamed of me or my words ... of them the Son of Man will be also be ashamed" (Mark 8:38). This verse is used by some Christians to fuel the "war" against non-theists. But such outsiders are welcomed and loved by Christ. The Gospel of Matthew goes as far as placing Jesus first (after his own parents, of course) into the hands of three gentiles from the east.

Christ's admonition is for you and me as believers. Many of the Jews of his time had become so entangled in matters of law that they lost sight of God. We too become ensnared in illusory arguments, forgetting to heed the words and person of Christ—the person dining with prostitutes and tax collectors—the words urging us to "Love your neighbor" and "Turn the other cheek." Rather than reach for stones, Christ asks us to bear the weight of sowing forgiveness and love.

Lord of burdens, though we seek to perfectly understand all things, including you, the quest for such knowledge can cloud our eyes and keep us from heeding your command. Grant us the energy to join you in bearing the cross, offering grace and love in place of logic and law. Amen.

Paul Clark
Lutheran Campus Ministry, California State University, Fresno, Calif.
Master of Divinity , 2009

Mark 8:31-38 (NRSV)

31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things."
34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.
36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?
37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?
38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

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