8 July Liberating Love Devotion

Your weekly love note from God!

Colossians  4:5-6 Conduct yourselves wisely towards outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. 

The church in Colossae struggled with wanting to honor people who didn’t worship Jesus while still staying true to their own beliefs and practices. My children today could learn a lot from what this letter reminded them: to treat everyone in a way that reflects grace and is rich in flavor, and to remember that if I have called you to do this to people who aren’t part of your community, you should do likewise with your own family, even in the midst of disagreement and tension. Today, reflect on how your community’s treatment of those around you could reflect my values of grace and preservation.

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1 July Liberating Love Devotion

Your weekly love note from God!

Nehemiah 2:17-20a Then I said to them, ‘You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burnt. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, so that we may no longer suffer disgrace.’ I told them that the hand of my God had been gracious upon me, and also the words that the king had spoken to me. Then they said, ‘Let us start building!’ So they committed themselves to the common good. But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they mocked and ridiculed us, saying, ‘What is this that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?’ Then I replied to them, ‘The God of heaven is the one who will give us success, and we his servants are going to start building.’”

Sometimes you will face the task of rebuilding from scratch, like my son Nehemiah when my children returned to Jerusalem after a generation in exile. And when you start, some of the people will try to undermine you; they may tell you you’re thinking too highly of yourself, that they know you who really are, that you’re trying to defy the rules society has placed on you, like Sanballat told Nehemiah. When that moment happens, remember that I am invested in your thriving and your faithfulness, and naysayers do not matter.

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24 June Liberating Love Devotion

Your weekly love note from God!

Acts 7:51-53 ‘You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are forever opposing the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, and now you have become his betrayers and murderers. You are the ones that received the law as ordained by angels, and yet you have not kept it.’

When you follow rules (such as circumcision) but resist the values that underpin those rules (being a people committed to my law of love), it is as if you ignored the rule itself. You get to eavesdrop here on an argument between my faithful son Stephen and people who saw my Son Jesus as a threat to their way of life and their faith. But he is speaking to you, also. Today I invite you to reflect on where you are following rules but ignoring the law of love that underpins all rules that are actually of me. How can you allow your heart and ears to be circumcised, or committed to living by my word?

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17 June Liberating Love Devotion

Your weekly love note from God! By September, you’ll be able to own all 366 devotions in one book published by Chalice Press, but for now, keep enjoying them all the places they show up online!

1 Samuel 2:12-13 On that day I will fulfil against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I am about to punish his house for ever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them.

My son Eli played an important role in helping Samuel recognize my voice calling him to his path as a prophet. That makes it so much more sad that he did not himself listen to my voice guiding him and his sons to a path of faith and integrity. Today I invite you to reflect on who in your own family needs a word of truth or compassion and what your role is in speaking that word of truth or compassion. I gave you to each other to love each other, and helping people live in integrity with me is part of love.

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10 June Liberating Love Devotion

Your weekly love note from God! Over the course of one year, there are passages from EVERY book in the Bible, including ones most people didn’t know were there, like Third John! 

3 John 1:5-6a Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the friends, even though they are strangers to you; they have testified to your love before the church. 

My beloved child who wrote this passage had never heard the saying “a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet,” but they knew that in me, everyone is family. Hospitality, compassion, and generosity are brave gestures in this day and age, and yet it is part of how you let the world know who I am. Today, ask yourself how you can represent me in the world simply through an act of compassion for a stranger.

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3 June Liberating Love Devotion

Your weekly love note from God…as imagined by Sandhya. Odd numbered days come from the Hebrew Bible and even numbered days rotate through the books of the New Testament, so we can deepen our relationship with God throughout God’s millenia-long journey with us!

Exodus 13:17-18a When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was nearer; for God thought, ‘If the people face war, they may change their minds and return to Egypt.’ So God led the people by the roundabout way of the wilderness towards the Red Sea. 

One of my beloved children once said, “It didn’t take 40 years in the wilderness to get the Israelites out of Egypt; it took 40 years in the wilderness to get Egypt out of the Israelites.” Generations of people who were enslaved had internalized messages about their value and capacity; it took many years and a generation dying in the wilderness for them to reconnect with the inner spark I had placed in them. Today I invite you to reflect on a struggle in your life that took a long time and how it gave you gifts to take on challenges later on that you might not have been equipped for. I am so proud of you and your resilience. It will lead your people from the wilderness into new places.

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27 May Liberating Love Devotion

Your weekly love note from God! (as imagined by Sandhya)

Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!

   Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!

Lo, your king comes to you;

   triumphant and victorious is he,

humble and riding on a donkey,

   on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 

For millenia, people have mistaken arrogance and brutality for power. My power looks so different that humanity keeps missing true power even when face to face with it–although dictators recognize and fear it, which is why some great change leaders grounded in their humility are killed. Humility is so powerful in a leader, because a humble leader is secure in their dignity and self worth so that they do not need to dominate others. Today I invite you to let me in, to recognize the innate dignity and divinity I placed in you, so that you too can be one of my humble servant leaders the world needs so much in the face of arrogant brutality in halls of power across the globe.

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20 May Liberating Love Devotion

In the fall of 2018, Sandhya heard a word of encouragement to write a devotional “for the rest of us,” one that focused on our real lives and the real lives of the people who came before us, as told in the scriptures. This fall, those devotions will be published in book form by Chalice Press, but for now you can find them scattered across the internet, including here every Wednesday!

1 Timothy 4:4-5 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by God’s word and by prayer.

Today I invite you to notice everything created by me and treat it as sacred. Notice what you honor and what does not get designated as sacred. How might that change what you eat, what you watch and listen to, and how you engage all of my children you interact with, the land on which you walk, and all of my creatures you engage today?

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13 May Liberating Love Devotional

Your weekly love note from God, as interpreted by Sandhya!

Obadiah 1:6-7 How Esau has been pillaged,

   his treasures searched out! 

All your allies have deceived you,

   they have driven you to the border;

your confederates have prevailed against you;

   those who ate your bread have set a trap for you—

   there is no understanding of it. 

My children in Edom lived on the margins of Judah and resented their low status. They helped Babylon pillage Jerusalem, and my son Obadiah reminded them that when they chose a people not their own over their family, their foreign allies would not care for them. I wish that no such suffering would befall you. When you face conflict with your siblings in the faith, have the conflict in the open. If you cannot reconcile, part for the sake of each other’s thriving and do not plot behind their backs with people who have neither of your wellbeing at heart. Today I invite you to pray for the discipline of transparency and spiritual maturity to protect you from the harm that comes to the schemer as well as the schemed against.

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6 May Liberating Love Devotional

Your weekly love note from God!

2 Corinthians 5:1-2 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

For millenia, people have celebrated that the sacred texts can speak on multiple levels. This verse reminds you that no matter what you endure on earth, you have comfort ahead. It offers encouragement that when you leave this world, there is another world waiting for you. And yet, you as a faithful child know that it is not my will that my children be unsheltered. In the hereafter, those who suffered unnecessarily in this world will know comfort and abundance for eternity. And this passage does not mean it is okay for people to suffer homelessness. Today I invite you to take comfort in knowing that whatever challenges this world throws at you, I will show up for you over and over, and I will be there to embrace you in the world yet to come. And I invite you to pray that my children know comfort in this world as well.

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