Daily Devotions

We are thrilled to once again be sharing a daily devotion with you for the season of Advent. These inspiring devotions have been written by YOU the members of Good Shepherd.  A sincere “thank you” to everyone who opened their hearts to share a small piece of their faith journey with us.   As we journey toward Bethlehem in this season, take time each day to walk with God and experience the stirrings of the deep love that took on flesh to walk with us.  

During the four week Advent season, each Wednesday our devotion will be a video reflection by Dr. Kevin Seal, Director of Worship and Music at Good Shepherd, as he shares a teaching about the Words and Music of Advent.

Each new day’s devotion will go live directly on our webpage, goodshepherd.com at 6am, (look under the worship tab at the top right of the front page) or you can follow the link that will be sent out later each morning in an email from Good Shepherd.  

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion by by Tara Chapin

Lately I have been re-reading one of my favorite books from when I was younger: C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. I sure love a good Christian allegory. (If you haven’t read C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, stop reading this devotion and start reading that right now.) As I enjoy this beloved story again, I will try to explain how it has helped me reflect on my day to day life and given me hope during the season of advent. Alert: book spoilers ahead…

The Great Divorce, if you haven’t read it, is a story about a man who has a dream about going to a “grey town.” He, along with several passengers from the grey town, hop on a flying bus, soaring over the grey town and up to the “Valley of the Shadow of Life.” When they arrive, their bodies become transparent, shadow-like ghosts. The Valley is completely still, unmoved by their presence. Walking on the grass is like walking on glass, not even a blade moves with each step. It is painful. Shining spirits come over the mountains and through the Valley to greet them. They are full of joy. Some of the spirits where known to the passengers in life and weren’t necessarily known to have lived perfectly. The man listens to conversations between each spirit and his fellow bus riders. The spirits try to encourage each passenger to humble themselves, let go of their stumbling blocks, love God, and stay in the Valley. The man listens intently, hearing each passenger’s excuses for why they must return to the bus and the grey town. An arrogant artist refuses, claiming he couldn’t stand to live in a place without personal property, or where his paintings wouldn’t be appreciated. In the end, the man asks if the people in the grey town will remain there for eternity, or if one day, God will free them and bring them to heaven? But it is explained that heaven is available to all who desire it. It is an invitation. The passengers are free to choose, and they choose their own destiny. Choosing God is not passive, but intentional. And it never comes without sacrifice. 

In the story, the grey town represents hell for those who will never choose heaven. It represents purgatory for those who will. The themes are clear: We must humble ourselves and love God above all else; and the concept of free will is crucial to our salvation. Salvation is given to us freely. We don’t have to deserve it, but we must choose it.  Scholars and regular folks alike have argued endlessly about this book, accusing it of “watering down” the concept of hell. But this is a work of fiction, and I think the haters are missing the point. Whether you agree with this visualization of hell or not, I think we can all relate to the bus passengers represented. We all have excuses for why we don’t choose God in our daily lives. The funny thing is… most of our excuses aren’t even that important in the scheme of things. “I don’t have time to pray because…” The list goes on. 

The Great Divorce makes me take an honest look at my mortality, focusing on ideas of death, judgement, heaven and hell (heavy, I know). In this advent season, as we enter the cold winter months, reading this book helps me make time for quiet reflection. And more importantly, it gives me HOPE.  We are REDEEMABLE. We are not beyond saving. Even if we are approaching the “winter” season of our lives, it is not too late. We can still humble ourselves. Because God so loved the world, that he gave his only son. Born in a manger. A very humbling beginning, for a very big invitation. We can choose it.  If not, like this story depicts, we will remain a shadow of what we could have been.  

What is holding you back? Why are you getting back on the bus?

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«January 2022»

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