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Students sitting outside Bockman
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Friday, August 30, 2019

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There are times in the State Fair lawn-parking neighborhoods when a spot on the street opens up. These are highly sought-after locations because they are free. People driving through our streets looking at all of us standing on the street corners trying to entice them to come and park in our yard for a price are not expecting us to offer anything for free. So, when we point out the free spots, many people drive right on by, thinking there must be a catch. They cannot believe that we are helping them get a deal.

We often treat God's grace that way as well. Everything comes with a price, we think. But not God's grace, which cost Christ everything but for us is freely given. Unbelievable -- except by the help of the Holy Spirit, which gives us faith.

God, we live in a world that wants something in return all the time — our time, our loyalty, our money, our expertise. In you we have the gift of life and the gift of grace freely given out of your love. In thanksgiving we pray, Amen.

Amanda Olson de Castillo, '04
Senior Pastor, Luther Memorial Church
South St. Paul, Minn.

Luke 14:1, 7-14 (NRSV)

1 On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely. ...
7 When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable.
8 "When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host;
9 and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, 'Give this person your place,' and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place.
10 But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher'; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you.
11 For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."
12 He said also to the one who had invited him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid.
13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.
14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

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