Bless the Lord (Psalm 103:1)
Saturday and Sunday for God Pause's Devotion has the writer talk about hymns because hymns are a big part of our Lutheran heritage. The devotional staff gives you a big list of hymns to choose from. So the next two devotions will be how I see these hymns in the lens of Easter.
"Bless the Lord, O My Soul" (WOV 798)
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
bless the Lord, O my soul;
and all that is within me
bless God's holy name.
Text: Psalm 103:1
As we think about how Easter changes how we live in the world, this is a good hymn to memorize because it invites us to see the world in a new way. It invites us to ask some very important questions about how we live our daily lives. What does it mean to bless the Lord? What would it mean to take everything we are, everything we own, and everything we hope to be and use it to respond to the message of Easter? How would our lives be different? How would our world be different?
It might seem like a daunting task at first, but real change is made one small step at a time. I challenge you this week to make one small change that will bring you closer to living out the Easter message. How will you bless the Lord this day?
Awesome God, you have blessed us with so much in our lives. Help us to live with generosity and gratitude so that others may know your grace. Amen.
God Pause on JOhn 20:19-31
The hard truth is that many of our churches here in the United States are closing and dying because people don't want anything to do with organized religion. Given this reality, many of us may feel it is safer to stay within our walls than to venture forth into a community that is not as friendly to the church as it used to be. We may feel scared, just like the disciples who locked themselves away.
Into the midst of this fear, Jesus comes and tells them, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." We need to listen to the message of Easter and not be tempted to ignore it because of our fear. Jesus has told us to go into the world and spread the news. How will you or your congregation answer this call this Easter season as you live outside the walls of your building?
Lord of Peace, help me and my siblings in Christ overcome our fear of going into the world. Help all of your churches to leave their walls behind and spread your Easter message to friends and neighbors. Amen.
God Pause on Revelation 1:4-8
Prior to my call to ministry I was working as a nuclear medicine technologist. My job was to make people glow so that we could figure out how their organs were working. Now in the course of pastoral ministry I often think back to my time as a technologist and how ironic it was that a lot of my patients wanted to talk about spiritual matters during their hours-long exams. Unfortunately, for hospital staff this practice was frowned on. So, instead of talking about God, I was conscious of treating my patients as beloved children of God--even the cranky ones. Looking back, I can see that the results were amazing.
Our scripture reading for today reminds us that we are all priests in God's kingdom. Christ expects us to be his hands and feet. So how can you live this out in your daily life?
Our Alpha and Omega, help us embody your message of Easter in our daily lives. Help us to be your priests in a world that is in desperate need of your grace. Amen.
God Pause on Psalm 118:14-29
This is my second reflection from God Pause for the Tuesday following Easter. Again since we are in the season Easter I think this is still pretty relevant. Enjoy!
How long do you think the Easter glow will last if we just confine it to one day of our calendar year? A week? A month? Soon the realities of the world will come walking back to us. There will be a funeral for a loved one. We or a loved one will experience an illness. No matter how we hope against hope, there will be bad days and hard days ahead.
The psalmist invites us to sing, "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." How do we do that on our bad days? How do we do that when we are sick? When we live a life changed by the Easter message, it becomes a lot clearer. We realize we don't walk through life alone. We understand the joy the psalmist writes about, knowing we are in a relationship with God.
Loving Savior, remind us today how blessed we are to walk hand in hand with you. In the midst of our life, help us rejoice knowing that your grace is enough and has transformed us into the people this world needs us to be. Amen.
Pastor Paul. I hope you find these reflections insightful and help you in your faith journey!