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Friday, April 21, 2017

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Hiding-out in fear dates back to Adam and Eve. Fraught with troubles and seeking to avoid the consequences of our thoughtless actions, we withdraw. We close the doors to keep threats of the world at bay under the illusion that we are safe. The disciples were hiding in fear on the first Easter Sunday, locking the doors to prevent any intrusion. They had abandoned their leader when he was arrested, and they were afraid. But suddenly Jesus stood in their midst, transcending the barriers the disciples placed around them and bringing them the good news of Easter. Jesus Christ seeks us out despite any barriers we might erect out of fear. When we barricade ourselves in rooms, surrounded by the stacks of our denials, defenses and doubts, Jesus breaks through and fills our hearts with the power of the resurrection. He brings us a word of freedom, giving us freedom and courage to face the world anew.

Loving shepherd, your love penetrates our deepest fears and longings. Make us lovers of justice. Through the power of the resurrection guide us to transcend the divisions we construct to exclude others. Amen.

Jason Talsness, '97
Pastor, Messiah Lutheran, Savannah, Ga.

John 20:19-31 (NRSV)

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."
20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin ), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."
27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe."
28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.
31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

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