Devotionals
 

Devotionals are short essays written by GSLC members and staff that explore the ways the Holy Spirit works within our every day lives.  There are several ways we invite you to use these devotionals:

  • Make them a part of a prayer practice - read a devotion and consider the ways that Christ has worked similarly in your life or works in unexpected ways.
  • Make them a part of a journaling practice - read a devotion and journal about what the Holy Spirit is stirring in you as you reflect on the essay.
  • Use them as a reminder that God works in all things, the bad and the good.

With over 400 available devotions, you can use these daily, weekly, or monthly.  It's up to you!  We just hope that by reading these inspiring stories provided by Good Shepherd's flock you are able to better see where Jesus is present in all things!  Thank you to all of our members that have provided devotionals throughout the past couple of years!

 
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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