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Students sitting outside Bockman
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Thursday, April 26, 2018

I serve a congregation with two campuses. Three years ago, these were two separate congregations with their own names, logos, councils, budgets and flare for getting things done. Each campus is shaped by its own unique history and personality, which has the potential sometimes to pull us in different directions or feel competitive.

But then we are given to remember that the source of life does not lie in the details of transactions. We cannot grow by focusing on what has been pruned away or what used to be comfortable. And so the Spirit keeps calling us more deeply into the work of being one church together, always rooted in the vine of Christ. Here we can be blessed by the new stories, experiences and dreams we share because we are bearing good fruit not as separate branches, but as members of God's vineyard.

God of relationship, we need to be reminded that we are wrapped up in your love and faithfulness, rooted in life through Jesus, bearing fruit for your sake. Help us build connections so that our faith and daily work are surprised by your mercy each day. Amen.

Meta Herrick Carlson, '08
Bethlehem Lutheran Church Twin Cities/Minnetonka Campus Pastor, Minneapolis, Minn.

John 15:1-8 (NRSV)

1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower.
2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.
3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you.
4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.
6 Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

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