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Monday, December 10, 2018

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Advent is about renewal. However, as God's prophets make clear, the renewal God brings about is not otherworldly. God addresses religious and political corruption. God's prophets not only warn leaders of coming judgment but also proclaim promise and hope. Their announcement of judgment and promise calls us to recognize that the Lord, our God, is in our midst, creating a just and merciful world within and among us.

What happens when we recognize that the Lord is in our midst? For one thing, we no longer need to fear disaster. Why? Because the Lord deals with all our oppressors and the forces that propel them. The Lord saves the lame, gathers the outcast and transforms shame into praise. The Lord brings us home and restores our fortunes before our eyes. Most importantly, the Lord rejoices over us and renews us with divine love -- even singing along in response to our songs of praise.

O Lord, our God, we thank you for being in our midst. Renew us with your love so that we can see and embody the just and merciful world you are creating within and around us. Amen.

Lois Malcolm, '89
Professor of Systematic Theology, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.

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.