Pause

To be human is an incredible gift. At times we feel like we are on top of the world ready to conquer anything. Other times we feel so worn down and tired that we cannot take another step.

Remember that no matter what, we are God’s creation. God created us strong, capable, full of love, and easy to hurt.

So pause for a moment today and think about how to care for yourself and the lives around you with faithful love, grace, and understanding.

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Listen

Jesus went out beside the lake again. The whole crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. As he continued along, he saw Levi, Alphaeus’ son, sitting at a kiosk for collecting taxes. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” Levi got up and followed him.

Jesus sat down to eat at Levi’s house. Many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and his disciples. Indeed, many of them had become his followers. When some of the legal experts from among the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples, “Why is he eating with sinners and tax collectors?”

Mark 2:13-16

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Think

We have all felt like the outsider at some point in our lives. When we feel lonely or isolated, we want so badly for someone on the inside to come close and draw us in.

This scenario that Mark tells us about is a reality that many of us live everyday; and it becomes most real at lunchtime. Whether you are 15 or 55 years old, there is always a debate about where to sit and who to sit with at lunch. It is easy to sit with our friends, but look around — is anyone isolated?

Jesus teaches us that to love one another is to be in relationship, no matter what. We may disagree, we may think that we have nothing in common with someone, but Jesus tells us to look past that. See beyond the differences and seek one another out. Follow the example of Christ, risk a little awkwardness or ridicule, and see how you connect to your fellow human beings, your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Ashley Lytle

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Pray

God of grace and mercy, you created all people to be unique, and you blessed us with diversity. Help me to respect and nurture differences. Draw me closer to others and to you. In your unending grace, amen.

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Go

Go and bask in God’s creation;

Go and open your eyes to see what lives, breathes, swirls, and twirls around you;

Go and care for the people you love and for those you do not yet love;

Go and ask for help;

Go and show God’s glory through your incredible humanity!

Ashley Lytle

The Reverend Ashley Lytle is an Episcopal priest in Decatur, Ga. She attended seminary at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Ashley currently serves at Holy Trinity Parish Episcopal Church where she primarily works with youth and young adults. She enjoys playing outside, watching every event in the Olympics, and listening to guitars, banjos, and beautiful voices making awesome music.

Lament

Clay Mottley - claymottley.com

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