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Wednesday, July 04, 2018

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This is one of those hard biblical texts for many Christians, especially Lutherans. One who was caught up to the third heaven? Really, now? A person who was caught up into Paradise? We    perhaps shiver with discomfort and step back into our comfortable settings, beyond the reach of such dangerous-sounding mysteries. That's not our faith, thank you very much.

But this is our Bible. So what are we to make of such boldness? At our church's Vacation Bible School, we encouraged kids to watch for "God Sightings"--someone going out of their way to help another, a beautiful moment in creation, a spontaneous prayer. All good ways in which God shows up in our lives. But I couldn't help but wonder: what are the more mysterious moments where God has showed up for us in a big way? And what might happen if we, too, were bold enough to boast about those?

Holy Spirit, your power in my life is beyond my comprehension. But sometimes, I shy away from it. Open my heart. Calm my fears. Move powerfully in me, Sweet Spirit, and make me bold to speak. Amen.

Rachel Wrenn, '11
PhD student in Hebrew Bible at Emory University, Marietta, GA

2 Corinthians 12:2-10 (NRSV)

2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven--whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows.
3 And I know that this man was caught up into Paradise--whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows--
4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.
5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses.
6 Though if I wish to boast, I shall not be a fool, for I shall be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me.
7 And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated.
8 Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me;
9 but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.


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