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Monday, January 07, 2013

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Ahh, the joy of hearing those three little words. They can touch your heart and take your breath away. On the lips of a mother as she cradles her sleepy child, they are soothing. Whispered by a lover, they convey intimacy, a happy secret shared by two hearts. Passed between friends, they cement the bond that says, "I will always be here for you."

But what do you think it means when God is the one saying them? This passage is the only place in the Bible that ascribes "I love you" to God's lips. It's a tender, personal word of hope for people starved for reassurance that their God still remembers them, still hears their cries, still cares.

In this word God spells out exactly what that love conveys: Courage. Do not be afraid. Companionship. I will be with you. Worth. You are precious.  Relationship. You are mine. Read this passage aloud and savor God's words. They just might take your breath away.

O God, is there anything more amazing than your love? Only this: that you share it so freely with me. Thank you. Amen.

Shelley Cunningham
Zumbro Lutheran Church, Rochester, Minn.
Master of Divinity , 1998

Isaiah 43:1-7 (NRSV)

1 But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.

4 Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life.

5 Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you;

6 I will say to the north, "Give them up," and to the south, "Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth--

7 "everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."

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