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.


Friday, December 19, 2014

If you were to imagine God's favor being extended to you, what would it look like? An unexpected blessing, a remarkable turn of events, a surprising answer to prayer? It's unlikely that many of us would envision a visit from an angel and an assignment that involves being used by God to change the world. Yet Luke seems to specialize in these life-changing stories. First Zechariah and Elizabeth, and now Mary, are the unlikely recipients of God's attention.

Why does God choose them? We don't know. Mary is portrayed as obedient, believing and worshipful, but that isn't necessarily why God chooses her. The reason is hidden in the mysterious purposes of God. All Mary can do is respond in humility: "Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." How do you respond to God's favor? You might be humbled to think that God wants to use you to carry out God's purposes. But if not you, then who? And if not now, then when?

Almighty God, thank you for visiting us in our time and place. Use us, as your servants, to change the world. Amen.

Shelley Cunningham
Pastor, Zumbro Lutheran Church
Rochester, Minn.
Master of Divinity , 1998

Luke 1:26-38 (NRSV)

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,
27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
28 And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you."
29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
30 The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.
33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."
34 Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?"
35 The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.
36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren.
37 For nothing will be impossible with God."
38 Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.

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