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Thursday, September 12, 2019

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Janet Hagberg has written (1994) about six stages of personal power, the second of which is Power by Association. I took several courses about women and history during college and think women and marginalized people have long been expected to be satisfied with a proximity to power instead of power itself.

It is from this perspective that I wonder at the ways Jesus inverts our patterns of Power by Association. He does not decide to marry beyond the social capacity of a carpenter or get cozy with the religious leaders. Instead of grasping for power by holding court, gathering cronies, or shunning the nerds, Jesus offers the power he already has as God's Son by associating with "tax collectors and sinners," and others who are powerless. And doing so makes him strangely powerful. Go figure.

Almighty God, in Jesus you humble yourself and come near to our powerlessness. Fill us with your power and presence, and make us associates of those who have no power. Amen.

Meta Herrick Carlson, '08
Pastor, Bethlehem Lutheran Church Twin Cities, Minnetonka (Minn.) Campus

Luke 15:1-10 (NRSV)

1 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him.
2 And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, "This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them."
3 So he told them this parable:
4 "Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?
5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices.
6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.'
7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
8 Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?
9 When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.'
10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

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