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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Monday, January 06, 2014

Next Day

Several years ago, our Director of Children's Ministry developed an event that fills our church building with commotion on the Sunday closest to Epiphany every year. It's called "Follow the Star," and it sends the children, a "star passport" in hand, all over our large building—from the spooky basement to the third floor organ blower room—following brightly colored stars scattered on the floor. The stars lead them to several learning stations where they hear the story of the magi's search for the Christ child told in creative ways. As I watch and listen, what I delight in is the spirit with which the children embrace the activity. They become adventurers, often going places they have never been in this building, trusting the stars to show them the way.

The magi—Gentile foreigners—respond in trust to God's sign of the star. Herod and "all Jerusalem" respond in fear, desperate to preserve the status quo. I pray that we will emulate the magi (and the children!), trusting Christ to lead us through this world and to bring us safely home.

O Bright Morning Star, transform our fear to faith, our timidity to boldness, as we seek to reflect your light in a troubled world. Amen.

Rachel Thorson Mithelman
Pastor, St. John's Lutheran Church, Des Moines, Iowa
Master of Divinity , 1983

Matthew 2:1-12 (NRSV)

1 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,
2 asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage."
3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him;
4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.
5 They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
6 "And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.' "
7 Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared.
8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage."
9 When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.
10 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.
11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

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