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Students sitting outside Bockman
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Monday, May 20, 2019

These words of today's reading especially capture our attention: "The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul" (v. 14b).

How well do you listen? I do okay at times. Other times I appear to listen but my wife discovers I didn't hear. Lydia listened eagerly and heard. Lydia listened and responded. Lydia listened and welcomed Paul and others into her home. Have you known a Lydia?

Tom came to worship pretty frequently. He supported the work of the congregation. He went on a service/mission trip with others. One evening, as the group gathered for closing word and prayer, the story of Lydia was read. Tom asked, "What did Paul say anyway that made such an impact?" Nobody knew. Then someone said, "Probably what Paul proclaimed to others--that Jesus came to make people new, to lift us into God's embrace, to reconcile us in love, no strings attached." Tom said, "Really?" And he was never the same. Whom did God send to proclaim good news to you? How has that changed your life?

Sending God, keep guiding proclaimers to people eager to listen to good news. As our hearts listen, transform us into people eager to welcome others into our homes like Lydia and into our hearts like Jesus. Amen.

George Carlson, '71
Retired ELCA Clergy, Stoughton, Wisc.

Acts 16:9-15 (NRSV)

9 During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."
10 When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.
11 We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis,
12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days.
13 On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there.
14 A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul.
15 When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home." And she prevailed upon us.

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