Devotions

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Devotions are short reflections on bible verses.  The reflection may help us understand the verses and historical context better, remind us of important teachings of Jesus or help us to see a story from a different perspective.

Calvary's weekly devotions are written by Pastor Zach, Deacon Tanya and members of Calvary.  They are emailed out weekly, posted here and on our Facebook page.  The most recent is below.  To view more, visit our Facebook page.
 

Wednesday, June 29th

Today's devotion is based on Luke 9:1-6,

New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition. Blessings for the day.

The Mission of the Twelve

9 Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey: no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money—not even an extra tunic. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there. 5 Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 So they departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere.

 

When Jesus sends out the twelve, he trusts to send them out to proclaim the Kingdom of God, instructing them to take nothing, relying only on the generosity and support of towns visited.  It almost seems to also be a test of the towns as well.  We’re told to love God and love our neighbor.  Towns that did not welcome the disciples, whose hearts were not already caring towards their neighbors would have less opportunity to hear them speak, less opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus.  Although there is a part of me that feels those probably were the people that needed to hear about the teachings of Jesus more, needed to learn to love God and neighbor more, Jesus doesn’t encourage them to force the good news on them.  Their unwillingness to welcome the disciples shows they most likely would also have an unwillingness to hear what the disciples have to say as well.  He encourages them instead to stay with those that are open to hearing them, those that invite the disciples, God and Jesus into their homes. God and Jesus are there, but it’s up to us to invite them in.

 

It makes me wonder, which type of town or home are we? Would we welcome the disciples into our homes, feeding and sheltering them?  We become good at reciting “love God and love our neighbor” but I wonder how much our actions reflect it.  When people are struggling, either locally or globally, need food, clothing, healthcare, a place to live… which town do we more resemble?  It seems like a good time to reflect on how we can be more inviting to God, Jesus and all our neighbors.

Wednesday, June 22nd

“Christ is our peace; in his flesh he has made both into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. So then, you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God.” Ephesians 2:14, 19

 

Every three years, the ELCA holds a National Youth Gathering. The 2012 gathering in New Orleans was called “Citizens With the Saints” (a double-meaning since The Saints is the New Orleans football team), and it broadened my idea of who my neighbor was and what the Church is!

 

The big-C Church is the living, breathing, body of Christ; the baptized community of God’s people across time and place; the ones called to be the hands and feet of God in our little corners of the world—“God’s work. Our hands.”

 

Our neighbors are near and far, alike and different, agreeable and maybe not-so-much, and yet, in Christ, there need be no hostility between us. This passage from our daily lectionary speaks prophetically to our day and age when hostility seems to be on the rise.

 

It gives me comfort, then, that between the themes of neighborliness and the Church, God is at work everywhere, making this world a bit better little by little. I’m so glad to be part of that work with you all!

 

 

Wednesday, June 8th

Today’s devotion is from Pastor Zach. Blessings.

 

Sometimes the church calendar makes me feel like I’m going in circles. Take, for example, today’s passage from the daily lectionary on this, June 8:

 

[The angel Gabriel came to Mary] and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus…The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.”

 

It’s June, yet that’s the most Advent-y-est—borderline Christmas—passage ever! But, did you catch that: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you.” Pentecost, in the midst of the Christmas story! Or, is it Christmas, in the midst of the Pentecost story?

 

This past Sunday, we celebrated the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It was the fiftieth day of Easter, and we were reminded that the Triune God (God as the Trinity) is at work all over the place, throughout all times, all places, and all people, and that is evident in the Holy Spirit’s work throughout the Christmas story!

 

At Christmas, it’s the Triune God who comes alive and is born among us.

At Easter, it’s the power of the Trinity which turns back the clock at death.

At Pentecost, God breathes on us the very gifts to be God in the world.

 

Christmas is God with us.

Easter is God for us.

Pentecost is God in us.

 

And all the time, all these things are true!

 

Let us pray.

 

God of heaven and earth, before the foundation of the universe and the beginning of time you are the triune God: Author of creation, eternal Word of salvation, life-giving Spirit of wisdom. Guide us to all truth by your Spirit, that we may proclaim all that Christ has revealed and rejoice in the glory he shares with us. Glory and praise to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever.

Amen.