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

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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