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

Ash Wednesday, devotion written by Pastor Heidi Johns

Joel 2:12-13

Yet even now, says the Lord,
    return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13     rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the Lord, your God,
    for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
    and relents from punishing.

I’m not sure I could ever live outside of the Midwest simply because I love living where there are four distinct seasons.  I like the rhythm, diversity and invitation of each season in the circle of life, death and new life.  Each season has it’s own beauty and thing to teach us.

I think I will also always need to be a part of a congregation that marks the seasons of the liturgical year.  Each season in the church year also has a unique invitation for life, death and new life and it’s own beauty and thing to teach us.  Today, in the church year, we begin the season of Lent,  Part of the invitation to this season is to gather for worship.  In our worship we mark ourselves with Ashes as a sign of repentance and a reminder of our mortality, we also come to God’s table to be strengthened for the journey through the gifts of bread and wine.

Many of us associate the season of Lent with a time of “giving something up,” as a means of sacrifice and spiritual discipline.  The deep invitation of the season is to embrace and acknowledge our own brokenness and mortality.  A time to remember that God is God, and we are not. A time to grieve lost opportunities to care for ourselves and one another.  A time to shift priorities, to turn back to God, as the Prophet Joel says in the scripture passage above.

I always find the “Invitation to Lent” that is included in our Ash Wednesday worship to be particularly powerful.  It says,

As disciples of Jesus, we are called to a discipline that contends against evil and resists whatever leads us away from love of God and neighbor. I invite you, therefore, to the discipline of Lent—self-examination and repentance, prayer and fasting, sacrificial giving and works of love—strengthened by the gifts of word and sacrament. Let us continue our journey through these forty days to the great Three Days of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

The service then immediately moves to a time of confession.  In our worship today we will use these words:

Loving God, pour out your mercy over us.
Our sin is heavy, and we long to be free.
Rebuild what we have ruined
and mend what we have torn.
Wash us in your cleansing flood.
Make us alive in the Spirit
to follow in the way of Jesus,
as healers and restorers of the world you so love. Amen.

As you sit with that confession, remember the character of the God who calls us to turn back.  God speaks through the prophet Joel, reminding us that God is;

Gracious, merciful, slow to anger, steadfast in love and relenting from punishing.

God calls us back in love, beckoning us to a better life.  The disciplines of Lent prepare our hearts and invite us into the cycle and rhythm of life, death and new life—the resurrection of Easter.

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