Daily Devotions
 
Daily Devotion
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion

The season of Advent has begun!  Advent is a four week time of waiting and preparing for the coming of Christ; in Bethlehem as a baby, in our lives today, and at the end of time.  Our devotions during Advent will focus how we might prepare our lives for Christ’s coming.  This week our theme is, “Preparing Our Hands.” 

One of our partner ministries is Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN)—which provides shelter for homeless families and works with them to find more permanent, stable housing.  In normal times, these families are sheltered in churches week by week throughout the Cincinnati area.  Good Shepherd has a history of helping at the Methodist Church in Madeira when it is their turn to serve as a host site.  Since COVID, these families have been housed in local hotels.  

For years people of faith have carefully made-up beds, cooked meals and provided support to families experiencing great need.  The hands doing this work are the hands of Christ (see yesterday’s devotion). 

Recently IHN had their annual fundraising breakfast, which was held online this year.  The speaker was Pastor Lenny Duncan from our own denomination, the ELCA. Pastor Duncan is an African American who experienced homelessness growing up.  As he addressed the audience, most of whom are volunteers with IHN, he thanked them for their work.  Then from a very personal perspective he told them that the care and love they extend to strangers makes a difference.  He spoke of the impact the kind words and loving actions of people like them made on him when he was young and experiencing homelessness.  He admitted that they may not ever see what impact they are having, but they are making a difference in the lives of those they serve.

There are many ways to serve with our hands, whether it’s putting fresh sheets on the bed of a homeless child or our own child.  Whether we are cooking a meal for our family or a homeless family.  Whenever our actions are done for another out of love—we are doing holy work.  Today be aware of the many and various ways your hands are involved in serving others.  Wherever it is, whatever it is, it is holy work.  In that moment you are using your hands to prepare the way for Christ to come.

To help make Christmas a little more joyful for the families of IHN we have included them in our Christmas Gift program. 

If you are reading Luke’s Gospel this month, today is Luke 3, and can be found here: Luke 3

 

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Matthew

After hearing Pastor Lenny speak and having lunch with him, I decided to start volunteering with IHN's Pet Program. Lenny talked about how hard it was as a child to give up his dog when his family lost secure housing.

On Fridays, I spend two hours with the dogs, mostly taking them for walks in Eden Park. As one that loves walking and dogs, this is a great fit for me and one way I serve with my hands. Don't like dogs? You can take a shift playing with cats!

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