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Devotions

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, January 25th

Today's devotion from Deacon Tanya is a reflection on Rev. Sally Azar's recent ordination. 

We invite you to read more: 
https://www.livinglutheran.org/2023/01/first-palestinian-woman-to-be-ordained-as-pastor/   
https://www.elca.org/News-and-Events/8184

https://www.livinglutheran.org/2022/03/seeking-justice/

 

We invite you to watch her ordination:  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5ClyaldZZU

 

52 years ago we had the first woman ordained Lutheran in the United States. And only this week was the first Palestinian woman ordained in the Holy Land.  It's amazing to think how far we've come but yet also how far we have to go, both in gender and racial inclusivity.  It has never escaped me that there are other denominations that I would not have been welcome to study and become a Deacon. So it often brings my attention more to places in the Bible that reference women in service to the church.  During our conversations in Bibles & Brews, as we discussed Paul's letter to the Romans, we noted that Paul writes "I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church."  It makes you wonder how we went from Paul acknowledging the work of women in the church, to it taking 2,000 years before a Palestinian woman is ordained in the Holy Lands.  The realization that we can have our female pastors, bishops, and even have Bishop Eaton presiding over the whole ELCA, but yet our neighbors, our siblings in Christ, don't always have the same opportunities.  According to Bishop Eaton, Rev. Azar's ordination was a "result of the prayerful discernment, theological reflection and concerted effort of the ELCJHL — the first member of the Lutheran World Federation to adopt its Gender Justice Policy. This is an example for us all."  

 

The LWF's Gender Justice Policy, simply asks "What do people who are marginalized and discriminated against due to gender oppression need?" Such a simple question that seems to often be so difficult.  In an interview, Rev. Azar says "With my ordination, I hope that not only young women are inspired to pursue theology but that women of all ages who may have wanted to study theology but didn’t think it was possible will be encouraged to do so."  She recognizes the importance of representation to youth but also the sad reality that there are many people out there that may have resisted their calling because society wasn't willing to accept them.  One of the many things needed by those who are oppressed, but we often overlook, is how important representation is. As a youth, I never questioned whether a woman could preach, because I saw it every Sunday when Pastor Ahlman led worship.  But not everyone out there has that representation and as part of us loving and supporting our neighbors, we should celebrate and lift up the voices of marginalized communities! 

 

Loving God,

We join you in celebrating the ordination of your child, Rev. Sally Azar, may her voice be lifted to all.  We hope that in her ministry she may be an inspiration to create communities of belonging and inclusivity.  We are all your beloved children, with our own gifts to share.  We ask that you help all of your children share their gifts with the world! Amen. 

 

 Preview YouTube video The Ordination Of Sally Azar

 

Wednesday, January 18th

Our devotion for today is based on Matthew 9:14-17.

Matthew 9:14-17 

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?"  And Jesus said to them, "The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they?  The days will come that the bridegroom is taken from them, and then they will fast.  No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved."

 

Fasting was a part of Jewish laws and traditions.  John the Baptizer and his followers still followed the laws in place at the time.  Jesus came to bring something new--that through belief in Him, we can be forgiven and saved.  People can still follow the laws, but for the right reasons.  We celebrate the good things and mourn the bad.  When Jesus is present, we celebrate and do not fast.  We celebrate the good news!  The examples Jesus described show that the old and new can work together.  We can look for new ways to live and new ways to serve while following established rules and regulations, all the while knowing that our faith in Jesus will be our salvation.

 

Father,  Help us to find new ways to share the good news in Jesus Christ.  Let us always celebrate Jesus in our lives and learn to offer this message of salvation to others.  

In His name,  Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

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