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Wednesday, September 05, 2018

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We really seem to value certain folks more than others. We gravitate toward those who are put together--who have more resources, aren't emotionally needy or simply won't challenge our own sense of being.

In 2006 a song was released by Bowling for Soup called "High School Never Ends." The older I get, the more I agree. As adults we still sort ourselves into categories--sports fans, wealthy, country music fans, cultural background, racial background, sexuality, political beliefs, faith background, you name it. You probably find people who are most like you to spend time with. You don't even do it on purpose--it's just easier or less awkward to hang out with people who think and act like you.

But what does God want us to do? Not play favorites. Be in relationship with those who are different. Show love to those we might not usually interact with. Not just give money to the poor, but talk with them and listen to their stories. You get the idea. Perhaps it's time to get uncomfortable.

Relational God, you never shy away from the tricky situations. Teach us to break out of our comfort zone, to forge relationships with those who are different. And give us the grace to try again when we fail. Amen.

Stefanie Fauth, '15
Associate Pastor of Faith Formation, Redeemer Lutheran Church, White Bear Lake, Minn.

James 2:1-10 [11-13] 14-17 (NRSV)

1 My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?
2 For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in,
3 and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, "Have a seat here, please," while to the one who is poor you say, "Stand there," or, "Sit at my feet,"
4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?
6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court?
7 Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?
8 You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.

[11 For the one who said, "You shall not commit adultery," also said, "You shall not murder." Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.
12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.
13 For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.]

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you?
15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?
17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

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