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!

Daily Devotion
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion

by Sharon Downing

by Sharon Downing 

Even the darkness is not dark to you;
      the night is as bright as the day,
      for darkness is as light to you.

               ---Psalm 139:12

In Learning to Walk in the Dark, Barbara Brown Taylor says, “Darkness is shorthand for anything that scares me.”  That can be grief, illness, shame, depression; it can be emotional, physical, or spiritual.

The chapters of Brown’s book track the phases of the moon, starting and ending, promisingly, with full moons.  When I lived in Pleasant Ridge, trees and city lights made the night sky difficult to appreciate, but once retired from UC and living in Georgetown, KY, I found a clear sky that inspired me to add the Sky Map app to my phone so I could learn to identify heavenly bodies and more fully appreciate the phases of the moon.   Stepping outside now, letting my eyes adjust to the darkness, and feeling surrounded by stillness, I remember that new life begins in darkness:  a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb, Jesus in the tomb.  God is there.  In the darkness.

In darkness, God told Abraham to go outside and count the stars --- if he could; in darkness Jacob had his ladder vision and wrestled all night with an angel; the exodus began in darkness, and manna fell at night to feed God’s people; the daytime darkness on Mt. Sinai, when God entered into covenant with his people, must have been frightful, but it was a darkness that revealed the divine presence.  These darkness events were fearsome but full of blessing and God’s presence as well.

The mystic, John of the Cross, coined the phrase “dark night of the soul”.  It’s the time following a great loss or the time leading up to a difficult decision --- scary times of darkness when God can seem to be absent.  Brown says that, as she grows older, she has more and more occasion to walk in darkness: caring for aging parents, going to funerals of loved ones, coping with economic crises, and seeing ice caps melt.  To those we can add our current walk through the darkness of pandemic, political turmoil, civil unrest, and attacks on our democracy.  In this darkness, when we can’t feel God’s presence or see anything that might tell us where we are or where we’re headed, we’re then most in need of, and open to accepting, God’s protection and direction.  As Barbara Brown Taylor says, “In the absence of any sense of God…, it is still possible to trust God.”  Even when darkness falls, God still walks alongside us.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.  I do not see the road ahead of me.  I cannot know for certain where it will lead…[but] I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.    Thomas Merton.  Thoughts in Solitude

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4 comments on article "Daily Devotion"

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Pam Olson

Beautiful! One of my favorite Psalms and the book by Barbara Brown Taylor is such a good starting place to begin to understand darkness. Thank you!

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Danelle Buelsing

Sharon, you make so many powerful points in this devotional. My favorite is that new life begins in darkness.

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Tina morawski

Thank you Sharon! I need to be reminded that darkness is part of our 24 hour day and not part of that is hidden from God!

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Marlyn Seehafer

I really enjoyed your devotional message. It makes me think of darkness other than when the sun goes down.

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«June 2023»

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