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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

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According to author Ta Nehisi Coates, the four million
slaves once living in the United States were worth three
billion dollars to the US economy. With the institution
of slavery so pervasive and lucrative it became easy for
churchgoers to justify their ownership of other human
beings. Imagine fasting for God in the morning, and
beating a slave in the afternoon. This was the life of many
US Christians in the 1800's. There were some people
of faith, however, who knew that God was calling them
to "loose the bonds of injustice." There were people like
Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass who heard God's
call to "let the oppressed go free."
There are some of us who hear this call today. We
know that a God who has broken every yoke elicits a
different kind of worship. In light of the promise of the
resurrection in Christ, our form of worship is participating
in God's enterprise of liberation for the entire cosmos.
Will you answer this call?

God of liberation, you are the source of freedom for all. We thank you for our ancestors who have partnered with you in your dream for the world. We thank you for the prophet Isaiah, for Harriet Tubman, for Fannie Lou Hamer, for Maya Angelou and all the saints who have come before us. We also thank you in advance for those saints who will come after us to continue this work. Mobilize us so that our acts of worship may bring flourishing to your planet and be pleasing in your sight. Amen.

Dave Scherer, '15
Christian Public Leader Coordinator and Multicultural Engagement Specialist, Luther Seminary

Isaiah 58:1-12 (NRSV)

1 Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God.
3 "Why do we fast, but you do not see? Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?" Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day, and oppress all your workers.
4 Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high.
5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
8 Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
10 if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.
12 Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.

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