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Tuesday, April 03, 2018

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Unity is a big-time call to transformation.
The "kindred" referred to by the psalmist are the people of God. But we "kindred" haven't been so hot at living together in unity. Right out of the gate, the Apostle Paul frantically wrote letters to settle squabbles. The western and eastern churches split in 1054 and still chafe over whether the words "and the Son" ("filioque") can be used in our Confessions to describe the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father. The Russian Orthodox Church erupted into violence in the 17th Century over liturgical forms (is the sign of the cross made with two fingers or three) and 30,000 people died. My own Lutheran tradition has also known this dance. You can probably name church fights you've known!

If we learn anything about this from our history, it's that God offers us a transformation from quarrelsome to kindred lives; we set aside our certainty about things that divide us from those who see things differently. The differences don't seem so big; the gift of renewed unity is priceless.

God, grant us grace to be less certain of our own views, and to treasure more the relationships you give us in this kindred circle of the church. Amen.

Peter Rogness, '72
Retired Pastor, Living in St. Paul, Minn.

Psalm 133 (NRSV)

1 How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!
2 It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes.
3 It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion. For there the Lord ordained his blessing, life forevermore.

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