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, October 07, 2013

Next Day

After a long day of ministry, my husband (also a pastor) and I like to relax by watching our favorite shows in Netflix; one of those shows is the popular "Downton Abbey." I could easily see this type of plot we see in this lesson play out well in that show, with all the "upstairs, downstairs" drama between the servants and the powerful people they serve: an important man suffering from an embarrassing illness, a servant girl with connections, political tensions, a showy parade, more wisdom from "the help."

But the point of this story is, of course, that in the midst of all the drama, this powerful man is surprisingly washed and made whole again, and moved to thankfulness for all that God has done for him. No magic water or fancy waving of hands or flashy incantations are necessary. God also breaks into the lives of us "ordinary folk," in ways less dramatic perhaps, but no less miraculous.

Patient Lord, forgive my tendency to overlook the ordinary yet surprising ways you work in our lives. Open my eyes to see your restoration and wholeness at work in the familiar and commonplace. Amen.

Lydia Nelson
Pastor, St. Paul Lutheran Church, East Windsor, N.J.
Master of Divinity , 2011

2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15 (NRSV)

1 Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy.
2 Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman's wife.
3 She said to her mistress, "If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy."
7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, "Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me."
8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, "Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel."
9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha's house.
10 Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean."
11 But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, "I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy!
12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?" He turned and went away in a rage.
13 But his servants approached and said to him, "Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, "Wash, and be clean'?"
14 So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.
15 Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, "Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel; please accept a present from your servant."

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