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Thursday, October 04, 2018

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None of us loves perfectly. The gospel is not for the perfect and it is hardest on those who think they are. The most helpful quip I received about becoming a parent was, "I raised several perfect children before I had my own."

It is vital to notice that these potent words are not directed at people suffering a broken marriage. They are directed at arrogance ready to turn the law on others. None of us is above this vindictive temptation. Luther--drawing on St. Paul and St. Augustine--taught us to stand truthfully and humbly together, united in brokenness and lifted in mercy. Today's reading does not justify torpedoes directed against divorcees. Its words disarm any who may have forgotten their own imperfections. They help us stand together in vulnerability--as all who love are vulnerable. When Jesus blesses the children, there are no perfect children. There are only beloved and forgiven children.

God, free us from the condemnation of the law—whether we turn it on ourselves or each other. Amen.

Paul Rohde, '82
Campus Pastor, Augustana University, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Mark 10:2-16 (NRSV)

2 Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?"
3 He answered them, "What did Moses command you?"
4 They said, "Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her."
5 But Jesus said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you.
6 But from the beginning of creation, "God made them male and female.'
7 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,
8 and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."
10 Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter.
11 He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her;
12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."
13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them.
14 But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, "Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.
15 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it."
16 And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

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