Jun
20
12:00 AM00:00

Romans 2:17-29, Ah Yes . . . Circumcision

Key Verse

Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart—it is spiritual and not literal. Such a person receives praise not from others but from God.
— Romans 2:29

RCL Daily Devotion for Thursday, June 20, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

No daily devotional for the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) would be complete without a discussion of the wonderful topic of circumcision. Why in the world was Paul so obsessed with it? From my understanding, it was on account of early Jewish Christians who demanded that recent (gentile) followers of Jesus should be circumcised.

My what a different religion we’d have today had that taken hold!

For one thing, it’s more likely that, had that been the case, Christianity would not have spread as quickly as it had!

Oddly enough though, regardless of this talk of trimming penises . . . the main point is what requirements are really to be followed to be an authentic or bona fide follower of Christ? According to Paul, it was faith and trust in the promises of God through God’s son, Jesus.

Period.

Thank goodness! Whew! (At least for me . . . I’m a guy.)

It’s easy, God, to place restrictions and requirements around your free grace, God. May I be a candle in the night to show your open grace to all. Amen.

 

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Romans 2:17-29

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Jun
19
12:00 AM00:00

Luke 1:46b-55, The Magnificat

Key Verse

Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
— Luke 1:47-48

RCL Daily Devotion for Wednesday, June 19, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Stefanie K. Fauth from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

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Mary celebrates the news of pregnancy!

A lot of women celebrate that news, but it’s sort of unique in Mary’s case, because being unwed and pregnant at the time she was alive was probably the WORST news she could have received.

But somehow she trusted that because this was a gift from God, all would be well.

I love her servant heart. If only I could be so trusting.

God of all, please help me to accept your will, and to be a better faithful servant. Amen

 

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Jun
18
12:00 AM00:00

Ephesians 5:15-20, The Will of God

Key Verse

Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time
— Ephesians 5:15

RCL Daily Devotion for Tuesday, June 18, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Stefanie K. Fauth from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

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Live your life!

I spent a lot of time thinking I was too old to try and pursue the things I wanted to do..only young people live like that.

Or do they?

When I started listening, I heard so many people’s stories about going back to school at 40, 50, 60 or more to live their dreams, changing careers even though they had a family and a mortgage - not letting the ideas of the world hold them back on living their best life.

God has gifted you with a precious life. Spend your time living!

God of all time and space, help us to use the gifts you have given us to live this life to the fullest. Amen

 

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Ephesians 5:15-20

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Jun
17
12:00 AM00:00

Psalm 124, Sometimes the Words Alone are Enough

Key Verse

Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
— Psalm 124:8

RCL Daily Devotion for Monday, June 17, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

I have been writing daily and/or weekly devotions nearly my entire life (at one point or another). One aspect about reading and studying God’s Word that never fails to amaze me is how often I have to really dig to find something to day.

It’s almost as if I want to write a devotion that goes like this…

Yup. That’s it. ‘Nuf said!

The fact of the matter is that, with many readings from the Bible, that’s really true! Sometimes the text has got to be allowed to stand on its own terms.

Many of the Psalms read this way, and I’m at a loss of what else I can say other than to point to the text itself and allow it to “just be.”

And may we “just be” too.

Quiet our hearts to hear your voice in the words you have given me today, O God. Amen.

 

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Jun
16
12:00 AM00:00

John 16:12-15, Knowledge for the Journey/Trinity Sunday 2019

Key Verse

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
— John 16:13

RCL Daily Devotion for Sunday, June 16, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

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Main Idea: Jesus sent the Holy Spirit as an advocate to impart knowledge when knowledge was needed.

Jesus was preparing his disciples for a painful separation. He told them a lot. But he didn’t tell them everything. How could he? How could they possibly understand what he would tell them? How could they wrap their heads around the truth that is perplexing, even today when we know what happened next?

But Jesus told them enough. He told them what they needed to know. The rest they would find out for themselves when the time was right.

We live in a world where knowledge is everything. People who know how to make money make money. You wanna know something? Google it. There is talk of moving the education system from a 9-month cycle to a 12-month cycle, so kids don’t lose what they’ve learned. College students are in deeper debt now than ever, and for what? Knowledge.

Jesus knew that knowledge was critical to his mission. But he also knew that there were times to wait for knowledge to unfold in its own time. He knew that experience could be a more powerful teacher than words. I’ve learned this as a parent – my kids learned far more from making terrible decisions than they ever would from my preventing them from making those decisions. It’s hard sometimes to let others learn from their experiences when we know better. It’s also hard to be patient when we need to learn from our own experiences. But sometimes the waiting, the stillness, the lack of knowledge can be a wonderful gift.

Help me, O Lord, to wait in silence. Allow my heart to be still in your presence. Amen.

 

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Jun
15
12:00 AM00:00

Luke 2:41-52, I Don’t Get It

Key Verse

He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them.
— Luke 2:49-50

RCL Daily Devotion for Saturday, June 15, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by R. Fergus Moir from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

My son wandered off when he was 2 years old and I have never been more terrified in my life. I can only imagine what Mary and Joseph were thinking when they couldn’t find the 12-year-old Jesus in the crowd of pilgrims leaving Jerusalem.

When they finally did locate him in the temple, I’m sure the relief converted the fear into anger at what their son had put them through. But he seems mystified that they should have worried. It’s almost as though he’s saying, “Duh, of course I was in the temple.” Tweens, I tell you.

But Mary and Joseph had been bewildered a lot in the last dozen years. Angels appeared and told them Jesus was on his way—miraculously at that. Shepherds proclaimed that choirs of angels told them Jesus was the messiah, and Mary pondered their words in her heart. Maybe they had been lulled into complacency by Jesus’ ordinary childhood to this point, but could they really be surprised when something like this came out of his mouth?

They did not need to understand, but only to trust that God was in charge and this son of theirs was beyond their own comprehension. They only needed to love him.

We don’t have to “get it” either. Jesus is beyond our comprehension. We need only to love him.

O Great Mystery, help us to hear and to understand, but mostly to love. Amen.

 

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Luke 2:41-52

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Jun
14
12:00 AM00:00

Ephesians 4:1-6, A Tall Order!

Key Verse

Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
— Ephesians 4:1b-3

RCL Daily Devotion for Friday, June 14, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by R. Fergus Moir from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

Patience does not come easily to me. For that matter, humility, gentleness, and forbearance aren’t much a part of my genetic make-up either. Reading these words of Paul, I can’t help but think there is absolutely no way I can live up to his expectations.

Of course, God knows this. I’m human, therefore I’m imperfect. The point is that, with God’s help, I can work on these positive traits through practice. I can recognize the importance of “the unity of the Spirit” and make every effort to set aside my need to have everything go according to my plan.

It takes effort, and it takes practice. It takes a willingness to make mistakes and to own those mistakes. It takes a commitment to doing the footwork and leaving the outcome to God.

It’s still a tall order. But I think leading a life worthy of the call to which we have been called is less about the final outcome of perfect humility, gentleness, patience and forbearance, and more about the honest attempt to work toward these ideals, always keeping our eyes on the goal of “the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace.”

Loving God, I thank you for your patience with me as I try to live a life worthy of my calling. Amen.

 

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Jun
13
12:00 AM00:00

Ephesians 1:17-19, Spirit of Wisdom/Relationship of Grace

Key Verse

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him
— Ephesians 1:17

RCL Daily Devotion for Thursday, June 13, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

Thought for today . . .

If God was the one who created all there is, and God created us to be in relationship with each other, with our world, and with God, then why do so many people find it difficult to understand each other (much less live peacefully with others)?

Some might say that it our sin, or at least our unwillingness to let others be. Others might say that it’s in the nature of humankind to want to dominate others.

This week, try to pick out someone with whom you probably would not have a relationship or even an acquaintance. Then, ask yourself what struggles and joys that person finds in their life.

Sometimes the best we can do is begin to see that the Spirit of Wisdom has been planted in each of us.

God, grant me openness this week to see your face in others’ lives. Amen.

 

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Jun
12
12:00 AM00:00

Luke 1:26-38, Gabriel Visits Mary

Key Verse

For nothing will be impossible with God.
— Luke 1:7

RCL Daily Devotion for Wednesday, June 15, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Stefanie K. Fauth from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

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Nothing is impossible with God!

I know this - but sometimes I wish that God was more into what I wanted, rather than what is best for me.

I know God is powerful - but not all my prayers are answered in the way I wish. Otherwise, I’d have won the lottery and be paying off my loans and the loans of all those around me.

It can be easy to get discouraged and wonder if God really is all that powerful - but there are plenty of examples in the world that affirm that yes, indeed God is so powerful that Mary AND Elizabeth could have babies in impossible situations.

Where have you seen the power of God?

 

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Luke 1:26-38

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Jun
11
12:00 AM00:00

1 Corinthians 2:12-16, The Spirit from God

Key Verse

And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual.
— 1 Corinthians 2:14

RCL Daily Devotion for Tuesday, June 11, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Stefanie K. Fauth from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

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The number of people who are spiritual but not religious is growing.

Some find it a problem - because they think to be spiritual and not mention Jesus is a rejection of the faith…

But I wonder if the spirituality they are feeling is connected with the Holy Spirit.

Why not? Our God is powerful, and the Holy Spirit is always working with, in and through people.

Perhaps their spiritual guidance is just right for where they are on the journey.

God of Spirit, fill us with your peace and wisdom. Help us to listen to the experiences of others and find their connection to our own faith. Amen

 

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1 Corinthians 2:12-16

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Jun
10
12:00 AM00:00

Joel 2:18-29, Do Not Fear, O Soil!

Key Verse

Do not fear, O soil;
be glad and rejoice,
for the Lord has done great things!
— Joel 2:21

RCL Daily Devotion for Monday, June 10, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

What a lovely thought to read! That the Prophet Joel would announce that God would be calming the soil, the land itself!

The delight of Israel was that God wasn’t just the God “for them alone.” Instead, God was the One who created all there is. It was through God that the universe itself found sustenance and rejuvenation.

Might we, as God’s children, also learn to trust God, never fearing, just as the soil itself does!

What speaks to you from this reading today? What part of it touches your soul (and soil!) ?

 

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Joel 2:18-29

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Jun
9
12:00 AM00:00

Acts 2:1-21, Pentecost Day/Spirit Come Down

Key Verse

And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?
— Acts 2:8

RCL Daily Devotion for Sunday, June 9, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

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Main Idea: Our faith might be strengthened by learning of the faith lives of others.

In the book of Genesis (Gen. 11), God mixes the tongues and scatters a group of people who attempt to build a tower so tall they could make a name for themselves as the people who could reach the heavens. God did not approve of them working together for their own selfish gain, so God put a stop to it.

Here, God does the opposite. God gives everyone gathered for the Pentecost the ability to hear in their own language the word of Christ. While the builders of the tower of Babel wanted to exalt themselves, the words of Christ invite people to empty themselves for the exaltation of others. There’s work to be done in the world, and it can be more effectively accomplished if people work together.

As I consider working with people who are not of a like mind, it occurs to me I have very few friends that are not Christian. It’s not that I’m opposed to having non-Christian friends. I just have never taken the time or effort to find and make friends outside my general sphere of influence. And truth be told, I’m a little afraid to seek friends of differing cultures and religions because I’m so afraid of offending them with my ignorance. It’s a tricky business. My own ignorance keeps me ignorant. If I could muster the courage to ask questions, I might just learn something new. I might just make new friends. I might just be strengthened in my own faith as I learn of the faith lives of others.

Perhaps it’s worth a try.

What do you think? Feel free to leave comments whenever—we enjoy hearing from you!

 

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Acts 2:1-21

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Jun
8
12:00 AM00:00

Luke 1:5-17, Spirited

Key Verse

Even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.
— Luke 1:15b-16

RCL Daily Devotion for Saturday, June 8, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by R. Fergus Moir from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

Ah, the Holy Spirit. The wild, passionate God who inspires and directs us. John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit before he was born, and called into a life of proclaiming God’s kingdom. It would be no merit of his own that allowed him to turn the people of Israel back to their faith, but the work of the Holy Spirit in John.

We, too, are filled with the Holy Spirit before we are born, called into a life of proclaiming God’s kingdom through word and deed. This doesn’t necessarily mean we live the life of an itinerant preacher wandering the wilderness eating locusts and wild honey as John did. The Spirit inspires us to serve and love God and our neighbor through everything we do! Whatever our chosen path in life, we can do our work to the glory of God, demonstrating by our actions that God is the source of all we are.

Come, Holy Spirit, and fill me with a joyous passion in serving you no matter what I do in my life. Amen.

 

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Luke 1:5-17

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Jun
7
12:00 AM00:00

Galatians 6:7-10, Spiritual Caffeine

Key Verse

So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest-time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.
— Galatians 6:9-10

RCL Daily Devotion for Friday, June 7, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by R. Fergus Moir from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

I took a Justice and Reconciliation course at the seminary this past spring, knowing that I would be overwhelmed with the sheer weight of the injustices rampant in our nation and the world. And I was. Overwhelmed. I wanted to throw up my hands and give up. But I had to admit even considering that option was an example of my privilege.

Paul encourages me, encourages all of us: don’t give up. Never give up, no matter how tired you are. No matter how impossible things seem. God energizes and sustains us in our labors for justice for our Neighbors—like a giant double Holy Spirit latte with a shot of love.

No matter how hard I work, I may never see the fruits of this labor in my own lifetime. But God’s time is eternal, and we will reap at the harvest. Thanks be to God!

Eternal God, strengthen and sustain me as I work for your kingdom. Amen.

 

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Galatians 6:7-10

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Jun
6
12:00 AM00:00

Psalm 104:24-34, Filled With Creatures

Key Verse

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
— Psalm 104:24

RCL Daily Devotion for Thursday, June 6, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

Scientists continue to discover new species on our planet. Astrobiologists are even looking for signs of life on Mars or other extraterrestrial worlds. However, one thing is for certain—the irrefutable damage our species has committed by the very fact that our population continues to explode.

Take any environmental hot topic, and you’ll see that population growth is behind much of the problem. God asked us to “be fruitful and multiply.” Well . . . we’ve done that. Mission accomplished. What’s important now, I believe, to preserve the diversity that still exists on our planet (but is rapidly disappearing), is that we do everything in our power to open our hearts to radical changes.

For without changes, the garden which God has given us to tend may be in more peril than we realize. For the time being, make yourself informed about the real issues facing us. And enjoy what we still have, the bounty of the world that God has filled with creatures of all kind.

In your wisdom, O God, you have made us wise. But we do not always use that wisdom to promote the changes we need to make. Grant us courage and strength to do the right thing. Amen.

 

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Psalm 104:24-34

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Jun
5
12:00 AM00:00

Luke 9:18-27, Peter's Declaration About Jesus, Jesus Foretells His Death

Key Verse

He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered, ‘The Messiah of God.’
— Luke 9:20

RCL Daily Devotion for Wednesady, June 5, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Stefanie K. Fauth from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

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What must it have been like to be a disciple?

I have to say, I resonate with their confusion sometimes.

Life isn’t always a straight path, and faith doesn’t guarantee things will be smooth sailing.

We know about what the disciples were confused by - Jesus is God, he died and rose again, but we might be confused by other things - reconciling our faith with modern science and technology. How does the justice we fight for in the world get backed by a holy book so filled with things that seem oppressive to groups of people?

What I do know is that whatever my confusion, my God is with me, working on my heart. And hopefully, not worrying about me too much!

God of all, sometimes we don’t understand all we could about life and faith. Help us to feel your presence even if we are confused. Amen

 

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Luke 9:18-27

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Jun
4
12:00 AM00:00

Acts 26:19-29, Paul Tells of His Preaching

Key Verse

While he was making this defence, Festus exclaimed, ‘You are out of your mind, Paul! Too much learning is driving you insane!
— Acts 26:24

RCL Daily Devotion for Tuesday, June 4, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Stefanie K. Fauth from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

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Maybe Festus has a point…

We spend a lot of time trying to learn and understand our faith - and I find the more I try to logically understand anything about the beauty and wonder of God - I get kind of lost.

Paul defends himself to Festus by saying he speaks truth - and that he’s honestly trying to help others believe.

We know a childlike faith is valued, and yet, as humans we crave knowledge and understanding.

How do you balance the desire to learn with a childlike faith?

 

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Acts 26:19-29

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Jun
3
12:00 AM00:00

Acts 16:35-40, Citizens? Oops

Key Verse

The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens; so they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city.
— Acts 16:38-39

RCL Daily Devotion for Monday, June 3, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

Once the officials realized that Paul and his associates were Roman citizens, they became afraid.

Why?

In Rome, to become a citizen had once been quite difficult. As time progressed, new policies were put into place where most male residents in Roman occupied territory could become a citizen. Citizenship offered people rights they wouldn’t have if they were without a family name or a captured slave. It isn’t surprising that the officials had become apprehensive in their mistake by arresting Paul without cause. It was a big oops for them.

What’s interesting is that throughout history, Christianity has played an important role in offering every single person “citizenship.” Say what you will about the bad history of the church, it has also done good in seeing every human being for what they really are—a child of God.

Open my eyes to see others as my brothers and sisters, O God. Amen.

 

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1 John 2:12-17

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Jun
2
12:00 AM00:00

John 17:20-26, Live As One

Key Verse

I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
— John 17:23

RCL Daily Devotion for Sunday, June 2, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

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Main Idea: Jesus’ desire is for all of God’s children to live as one.

Jesus was entering a turbulent time in his ministry. He was soon headed for the cross, which would include a violent rending of the community. Some would love Jesus to the end; others would despise him unto death. Families, communities, and political allies would be torn apart as Jesus’ work culminated in this moment.

But a rending of the community was not what Jesus wanted. He wanted for his death to mean more – to be the bridge that could unite families and communities under one God, one love. Jesus had to work his way through brokenness before he could hope to achieve unity. His life, offered freely in love, would be the catalyst for social change, global unification, and spiritual transformation.

Today, we are still rent, torn. Our families, communities, and political allies are still divided. We live in a world where Jesus’ vision for humanity has not yet been fully realized. At the same time, we have been given the tools and the model for living and working toward unification of humanity. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, this world has been transformed already into a place where hope, love, and meaning thrive. Even while we wait for his transformation of the world to be complete, we can work every day to bring this world closer to it.

Tiny thing... the other day I went to eat in a new restaurant. A server brought us our drinks, and although I speak virtually no Spanish, I told her, “Gracias.” Her face lit up with a huge smile that made the whole table smile. A bit later she returned and asked me in Spanish if I spoke Spanish. I replied “Un poquito,” which, loosely translated, means “I took French, not Spanish, but I hope ‘poquito’ is something close to ‘a little’.” She responded that she speaks “poquito” English, and we shared a tender human moment of vulnerability and connection.

I have started to dabble in learning some Spanish for this very reason... I can only imagine how isolating it must feel for her to be living and working in a country that speaks a language she doesn’t understand, and that doesn’t speak hers. If I could learn even enough to have conversations with the people I encounter (more often than I’m probably even aware), that might just move my corner of the world a tiny bit closer to the unification of humanity Jesus desired for us. So...

Yo soy una mujer. Mi nombre es Kimberly. Estoy aprendiendo espanol. Amo al pueblo de Dios. Amen.

 

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