Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause email devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your email box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience. 

Our devotion writers are Luther Seminary alumni. Their reflections are a gift to you and to the church.


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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Next Day

We wait with a sure and certain hope.  The prophet, Zephaniah, frames that hope with the words of the Savior: "I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise."

She was overweight, could barely see through her thick glasses, and was teased and tormented every day she rode the bus to school. Even when the bus had no empty seats, no one would sit with her. Her mother put treats in her lunch that she might win a friend through sharing. But when she offered to share her treats, the other kids would laugh and jeer. "Ish! Who would want to eat your food? It is probably poisoned." And everyone would laugh.

Something changed one day. When she offered to share her treats, an Asian-American boy who had grown up in Vietnamese orphanages walked over to her seat, sat down beside her, and said, "I would like to share your treats." He had known what it was like to be tormented and belittled. He remembered being held over open fires in the orphanage. Because he was neither American nor Vietnamese, he was rejected as a half-breed.

I remember well the day he came to me and demanded to be baptized. He had witnessed many babies and children being baptized into the family of Jesus. I would march them around the sanctuary and everyone would shout out, "Welcome!" He wanted that welcome. He found that welcome. And he wanted to let the girl on the bus know that she also was welcomed.

This is what we are waiting for. One day, we are sure that Jesus will gather the outcasts and change their shame into glory. Advent is a wonderful time of the year.

Help us, O Lord, to be a part of your welcoming party. Amen!

Hub Nelson
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Edina, Minn. (Retired)
Master of Divinity , 1962

Zephaniah 3:14-20 (NRSV)

14 Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!

15 The Lord has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more.

16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak.

17 The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing

18 as on a day of festival. I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it.

19 I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.

20 At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the Lord.

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