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Friday, April 06, 2018

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Transformed by Place.
Thomas wasn't there when Jesus appeared. He was someplace else. Much of our life is determined by where we choose to be--a particular school, a particular job, neighborhood, circle of friends, church, social groups.

If, like Thomas, we hope to be more certain of Christ's presence, it makes a difference where we go. A sermon my father once wrote suggested we are likely to encounter God's presence in three places:

1. In the Word. The Word that became flesh promises to meet us in the written word as well. Devotions and meditation are good places to be.

2. In the body of Christ. Old and New Testament alike are clear that the people of faith are a community, not select individuals. Where two or three gather, Christ is among us.

3. In the world's poor and suffering. This compassionate God of ours not only sends us to be Christ's compassionate presence in others' lives, but promises that we meet Jesus there.

Gracious God, today let me choose to be in places where I encounter your presence. Amen.

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

John 20:19-31 (NRSV)

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."
20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin ), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."
27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe."
28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.
31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

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