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Monday, February 13, 2017

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Our theme this week is holiness or holy living. My first reaction upon realizing this was, "They've got the wrong writer." The word "holy" can strike us as intimidating, lofty, otherworldly. All of which I am not. At best the word is reverent, at worst judgmental. At worst this week's readings and reflections will make us feel unworthy, entirely incapable of accomplishing a checklist of holiness criteria. At best we'll be reminded that true holiness is grounded in God and God's own holiness. We'll see together that God's holiness looks like justice for the poor and love for the neighbor.

In today's reading from Leviticus God bestows God's own holiness upon the people Israel, all the while repeating the statement "I am the Lord." God's identity is inextricably linked to God's holiness. The fruits of that holiness? Shared harvest, reverence for the Lord's name and love for the neighbor.

O Lord our God, by your own holiness you make us holy. Propel us toward the holy work of love and justice, in big and small ways. Amen.

Christine Hallenbeck Ask, '15
Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18 (NRSV)

1 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
2 Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy...
9 When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest.
10 You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God.
11 You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another.
12 And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the Lord.
13 You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning.
14 You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.
15 You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor.
16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the Lord.
17 You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself.
18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

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