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Monday, August 14, 2017

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In the musical, "1776", Jefferson, Franklin, Adams and the rest of the signers of the Declaration of Independence are in Philadelphia, debating the future of the colonies. A courier delivers a dispatch from General George Washington pleading for support for his wearied troops. A wistful song asks: "Is anybody there? Does anybody care?"
There's a pre-school nearby me called Open Arms. A name like that suggests presence and caring. Since God's vision for the House of Prayer is inclusive, it's crucial that we let all people know they matter to a God who is there and who cares. For those already within, it means willingness to offer prayers side by side with rejects, foreigners, those who might be on the other side of a spiritual fence. Ours is a gathering God, welcoming all sorts of people into the joy of praise and service. From God's perspective, diversity is not a problem without a solution.

Lord, remove any barriers that keep us from opening our arms to others, without reservation or hesitation. In the name of our welcoming Savior. Amen.

Paul D. Opsahl, '60
Pastor Emeritus, Community Lutheran Church, Sterling, Virginia

Isaiah 56:1, 6-8 (NRSV)

1 Thus says the Lord: Maintain justice, and do what is right, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed...
6 And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it, and hold fast my covenant--
7 these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
8 Thus says the Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.

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