Daily Devotions
 
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion

THANKS FOR THE CHURCH

Prayer and meditations has four components: adoration (being awed by God), confession (owning one’s sins), thanksgiving (saying thank you for what God has given), and supplication (asking God to do something).  I suspect supplication followed by confession are the predominate forms of prayers offered by God’s people.  I also suspect thanksgiving is the least used form of prayer by many Christians.  In my devotions this week, I will use the component of thanksgiving because I want to uplift it as an important component of prayer.  Today I give thanks to God for the church.  Three reasons why I give thanks for the church follow.

Knowing the church’s story reveals the church’s rich history in caring for all people.  From the very beginning, the church set the example of caring for the powerless and disenfranchised as well as its own members in a world that often abandoned the sick and the dying.  Caring for those in physical distress resulted in St. Basil of Caesarea building the first hospital in the western hemisphere.  It should also be noted that Julian the Apostate, a Roman Emperor in 360s CE, was concerned with the abandonment of Roman religion for Christianity.  As a result, he ordered pagan priests and temples to be more like Christians in their care and concern for ordinary people and especially the poor, sick and dying.

In the middle ages, the church was a place of refuge for the poor and hungry, an orphanage for abandoned or parentless children, the center of learning, and a great patronage of the arts.  All of these ministries continue into the 21st century.

Today, caring for the poor and disenfranchised is a center piece in the church’s engagement in the world.  While for profit organizations have reduced the role of the church in areas of health care and education, the church is a leader today in social justice such as gender, race, and sexual orientation equality.   In addition to being an advocate for social justice, the church offers countless numbers of food pantries, free clothing stores, and housing for the homeless.

Today, the church lives and serves out of a rich heritage of being God’s light in the world.  It is for this reasons I give thanks to God for the church.

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