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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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Next Day

In 2013 my congregation is focusing its energy on creating a place for all to serve. Serving is meant to be more than 'one more thing on the calendar' or 'something you do so you don't feel guilty.' It's about finding -- in the words of Frederick Buechner -- the place where the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness meet. It's about figuring out what you really love to do that also helps your neighbor.

Here's the thing: that 'figuring out' really starts in baptism. It starts with the relationship we have with God. That means believing that God has created us in God's image -- that is, with a heart that can love and hands that can help. It means knowing that God has claimed us in baptism and that we have a permanent place in God's family. It means trusting that God has blessed us so that we can bless the world -- which is exactly what God expects us to do with our lives.

Gracious God, I have been baptized. I am different. I am yours. Help me figure out what that means, and why it matters. Amen.

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

Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 (NRSV)

15 As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah,

16 John answered all of them by saying, "I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

17 "His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened,

22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."

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