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Saturday, September 02, 2017

Next Day

Come, thou Fount of ev'ry blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
While the hope of endless glory
fills my heart with joy and love,
teach me ever to adore thee;
may I still thy goodness prove.

Here I raise my Ebenezer:
"Hither by thy help I've come";
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wand'ring from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be;
let that grace now like a fetter
bind my wand'ring heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it;
prone to leave the God I love.
Here's my heart, oh, take and seal it;
seal it for thy courts above.

In March of 2016 I attended the Catalyst Conference in Irvine, Calif., just a half-hour's drive from the church where I served as pastor. The host church for the conference was Mariner's Church, one of the largest megachurches in the United States. Nearly 17,000 people attend Mariner's each week on four campuses. The main site for the conference was a large concert-style venue, with upgraded screens, acoustics and talented musicians and singers.

We sang mostly recently-written songs of contemporary Christian music--and denominational church leaders were certainly in the minority. Many of the conference-goers mouthed the words silently; a few sat down and read their phones. But near the end of the first day the conference was transformed. The worship leader instructed all in attendance to glance down at a brief order for confession in preparation for communion. Then we sang this hymn and voices swelled together. Christian unity is all too elusive in America today. We know better how to divide and fight among ourselves. But in moments like this when we can speak words of confession to each other, and worship Jesus together--we just might encounter the Holy Spirit.

Lord Jesus, help me to find bridges and points of connection with other Christians. Remind me what we share, and help me speak the truth in love. Amen.

Angela Denker, '13
Pastor and Freelance Writer, Minneapolis, Minn.

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