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Saturday, February 03, 2018

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Chief of sinners though I be,
Jesus shed his blood for me,
died that I might live on high,
lives that I might never die.
As the branch is to the vine,
I am his, and he is mine.

Oh, the height of Jesus' love!
Higher than the heav'ns above,
deeper than the depths of sea,
lasting as eternity.
Love that found me--wondrous thought--
found me when I sought him not.

Only Jesus can impart
balm to heal the wounded heart,
peace that flows from sin forgiv'n,
joy that lifts the soul to heav'n,
faith and hope to walk with God
in the way that Enoch trod.

Chief of sinners though I be,
Christ is all in all to me;
all my wants to him are known,
all my sorrows are his own.
He sustains the hidden life
safe with him from earthly strife.

O my Savior, help afford
by your Spirit and your word!
When my wayward heart would stray,
keep me in the narrow way;
grace in time of need supply
while I live and when I die.

We humans are so often a bunch of screw-ups. We daily fall short of how we are supposed to live and who we are supposed to be. We are divisive, selfish and greedy. And yet, we have a God that knows no limits for the forgiveness of our unworthiness and sinfulness. This hymn is a wonderful reminder of this truth.
Chief of sinners though we be, Jesus lived and died for us. In the Holy Spirit, God comes to us again and again removing our guilt and shame, and cleansing our souls anew. This is not an invitation or permission to continue in our sinfulness, but a reminder of the capacity for love our God has for us. When we remember this, how can we not but try to forgive and love with the same depth and earnestness? Chief of sinners though we be, may we also be chiefs of extending God's offer of repentance and forgiveness to others.

Forgiving Father, remind us once again of the boundless forgiveness you have granted. Teach us how to forgive and how to accept forgiveness that we may walk ever closer with you. Amen.

Katie Emery, '12
Pastor, Hope American Lutheran Church, Fallon, Mont. and Community Presbyterian Church, Terry, Mont.

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