Advent Devotions

All are invited as we Make Room this Advent season. 

I Do Choose

Please read Luke 5:12-16

This little section of Luke that follows Jesus calling the first disciples is easily overlooked. It doesn’t show up in the revised common lectionary or the narrative lectionary as a Sunday reading, and yet in it Jesus says the most incredible thing. Nestled between the dramatic story of the fishermans’ nets going from empty to overflowing and the healing of a paralytic, is this instance of Jesus healing a man with leprosy. 

Jesus often healed lepers, healing them of their physical disease and also the disease of being cast out away from community. The healing is a miracle, really, but as I read this section of Luke I’m struck by another miracle. Luke 5:13 (NRSV) reads, Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, ‘I do choose. Be made clean.’

Did you catch it? Those little words “I do choose” seems miraculous to me. 

A quick search of other translations say:
I want to
I will 
Of course I will
I am willing

Jesus says to us in our brokenness, our isolation, our sickness, and our despair that he wants to, chooses to, is willing to, and will heal us. 

Can you imagine??? 

Earlier this month we heard Luke 4:18-19 when Jesus was in the synagogue reading the words from the prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

And we are seeing him do just that. He chooses, over and over again to heal, mend, restore, and set free. He chooses mercy, over and over again to be the embodiment of God’s overflowing, unconditional love. He chooses us, over and over again because we are claimed as God’s beloved and Jesus doesn’t want to leave anyone out. “I do choose,” Jesus says, and the miracle of that love makes me catch my breath over and over again. Today I invite you to hear Jesus’ words and know that they are for you, in all your brokenness, and know that Jesus comes for you. 

In Peace, Pastor Ruth

Let us pray:
Lord God, your lovingkindness always goes before us and follows after us. Summon us into your light, and direct our steps in the ways of goodness that comes through our life together in Christ. Send your Spirit to enlighten us this week as we serve, pray, rest, and act; trusting that your grace goes before us. We pray in the name of Jesus who shows us the face and love of God, Amen.

Previously…

The Perseverance of Jesus

Please read Luke 4:31-37 This passage in Luke immediately follows the scripture we heard on Sunday of Jesus in his hometown. Sunday’s passage ended with “When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of town, and led him...

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What Stirs in You

Ted Loder I have long appreciated the poetic writing of theologian Ted Loder. He seems to be able to put words to my feelings, my hope in God, and the reality of what it means to live out our baptismal identity in ways that both comfort and inspire me in my faith. As...

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The Call for Unity

While sitting in a Birmingham, Alabama jail cell in 1963, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was given a copy of the local newspaper. Included in that issue was a letter submitted by eight white clergy that became known at the time as “a call for unity.” This appeal for calm was a veiled attempt to silence the enthusiasm created by the non-violent protests led by Dr. King and his associates. And, given its authorship, attempted to leverage the very authority of God.

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What We Want vs. What Is

It’s so hard to not allow our own expectations of what should happen to keep us from missing what is actually happening. I so badly want to believe in the “world’s greatest democracy” that I learned about as a young student that I have been shaken at discovering how tenuous such a claim truly is. What I want to be and what is, can be two very different things.

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