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Students sitting outside Bockman
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Sunday, August 06, 2017

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Let us build a house where love can dwell
and all can safely live,
a place where saints and children tell
how hearts learn to forgive.
Built of hopes and dreams and visions,
rock of faith and vault of grace;
here the love of Christ shall end divisions:

All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where prophets speak,
and words are strong and true,
where all God's children dare to seek
to dream God's reign anew.
Here the cross shall stand as witness
and as symbol of God's grace;
here as one we claim the faith of Jesus:  Refrain

Let us build a house where love is found
in water, wine and wheat:
a banquet hall on holy ground
where peace and justice meet.
Here the love of God, through Jesus,
is revealed in time and space;
as we share in Christ the feast that frees us:  Refrain

Let us build a house where hands will reach
beyond the wood and stone
to heal and strengthen, serve and teach,
and live the Word they've known.
Here the outcast and the stranger
bear the image of God's face;
let us bring an end to fear and danger:  Refrain

Let us build a house where all are named,
their songs and visions heard
and loved and treasured, taught and claimed
as words within the Word.
Built of tears and cries and laughter,
prayers of faith and songs of grace,
let this house proclaim from floor to rafter:  Refrain

If you've read along with this week's devotions, you won't be surprised that this hymn was chosen for this final reflection. The hymn from yesterday introduced the theme of a place--or perhaps rather a time--in this world when all will be invited to one common table. Since the beginning of the Christian church this table has existed in the Lord's Supper. But even in the Christian church, the sacrament of Holy Communion has sometimes been twisted and misconstrued by the church to be an exclusive meal. But truly, as this hymn communicates, the house of God, the table of God, is a place where all are welcome. The metaphor for a church as a house in this hymn creates a strong foundation from which to build your congregation's identity in your community. So sing this hymn boldly, and take it's lyrics to heart when you discern new ways in which you can make all feel welcome in your congregational home.

Welcoming Lord, give us the courage to admit when we're not being hospitable. Inspire us with your Spirit to create a space where your love is found and we can proclaim from floor to rafter, "All are welcome in this place!" Amen.

Kyle Svennungsen, '14
Associate Pastor, St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church, Prairie du Chien, Wis.

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