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.  


Daily Devotion
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion

As I wrote yesterday, a few summers ago, I spent a week at a Benedictine Monastery in Schulyer, Nebraska at a retreat titled, Boundless Compassion.  The retreat focused on compassion as a way of life for the disciples of Jesus.  But like the third day when we discussed having compassion for our planet, on the fourth day we shifted emphasis again.  On this day we discussed the need to have self-compassion if we were going to have compassion and show care for other people.  This shift made me, once again, sit up and take notice.

As a pastor this makes sense to me because there have been times in my life after an extremely busy season of ministry, such as Christmas, or when there have been multiple deaths in our congregation, I just need to rest.  I need to take care of myself. I need to practice self-compassion. However, early on in my ministry, I often felt like I could not stop and take care of myself.  I needed to just keep going.

There is a story found in Mark’s gospel, which happens early in Jesus’ ministry, that illustrates the need for self-compassion and shows us how Jesus practiced it.

Mark 1:29-39 – NIV
29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. 31 So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.

32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him,37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”

38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

There are numerous other accounts in the gospels that offer glimpses of Jesus self-compassion.  He pauses during the day, when he is tired from his journey and sits down by a well.  When Mary anoints his feet with precious oil, he receives this gracious gesture without objection.  He cultivates a friendship with Mary, Martha and Lazarus and visits their home often.  He is not all work and no play, so he attends the wedding at Cana.  When his friend Lazarus dies, Jesus allows himself to mourn.  In Gethsemane, he asks his disciples to pray with him as he knows he will soon be arrested.

In all these examples of self-compassion we see that Jesus obviously believed in being attentive to his own needs.  I believe his example gives us permission to be attentive to  our needs and practice self-compassion in all area of our lives.   Self-compassion is foundational to our work, if we are to be compassionate disciples of Jesus.  

How have you practiced self-compassion?  Which of the self-compassion experiences of Jesus especially relate to your life experience?

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