Daily Devotions
Pastor Alice Connor

Daily Devotion

Five years ago a young white man entered Mother Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina, ostensibly to participate in their bible study but soon to murder the nine other attendees because they were black. He was raised in the Lutheran Church ELCA.

Lutheran pastor Lenny Duncan wrote his book Dear Church soon after that moment, partly to name out loud to himself and to the denomination he loves that we are culpable for that shooting. We didn’t do it, none of us knew the shooter, we’re not advocating in our pews or our own bible studies for some sort of race war, and yet our participation in a culture which was built and thrives on racism encouraged his actions. Our congregation, as sad as it is to say, is more likely to produce a shooter than to be the target of one. And yet, as Pastor Duncan says, we are a denomination--Good Shepherd is a church—filled to the brim with love and forgiveness and possibility. He wrote his book to call the church to account and also to sing out his delight in the church.

This is the uncomfortable space Martin Luther spoke about in calling humans simul Justus et peccator, simultaneously saint and sinner. They are both true all the time. Any time we set one of those two aside, we are not seeing ourselves or the world clearly.

How do you see yourself as a saint and a sinner simultaneously?

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1 comments on article "Daily Devotion"

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Ann Walker

I love traditions, they make me feel safe and secure. Rituals that connect us over time. But we need to get uncomfortable at times to let others in, not just by not being overtly racist but actively anti-racist. I think we need to show our love to all our members and visitors. On occasion I have felt uncomfortable at times because I am a single mom and not a traditional family and I am a member. By not allowing our LGBTQ to get married in our church does not seem to be in line with Christian love and acceptance. What potential members are we welcoming? What potential members feel left out? I think we can all challenge ourselves to practice radical love of all of brothers and sisters, regardless of race, gender, or situation. Lean in to the discomfort for that is where there is the most growth.

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