Pause

We make decisions every day about who we accept and who we don't, who belongs and who can be ignored.

When dealing with matters like this, it's good to remember that God knows no such boundaries and ignores no one.

You are welcomed now into the presence of the very One who embraces you in the same way as any other person.

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Listen

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean.

Luke 17:11-14

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Think

In this story, Jesus walks into a region where others were afraid to go, risking that he might come into contact with Samaritans – the foreigner outsiders of his day. On the journey, Jesus meets a group of lepers, people who were avoided and pushed to the outskirts of town because of their disease.

When we read about outsiders in the Bible, we often count ourselves “in” and think about our good Christian charity to those who are “out.” But for now, let’s identify ourselves with the lepers in this story.

There are times when we, too, have been on the outside. You may have had the experience of feeling very different from your peers or know what it feels like to be unwanted in a group. This can be awkward and painful and confusing.

When we find ourselves on the outside looking in, Jesus is there. He walks right into our lives, where others may be afraid to go. And he’s ready to bring healing! We need only call out to him.

Meredith Shaw

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Pray

Jesus, I need your healing. Thank you for going where no one else wants to go and being with me when I need it the most. Amen.

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Go

You are moving now into the day ahead,
No stranger to the One who has made you
And has kept you right up until this moment.

Pause today from time to time and feel
The embrace of a God who offers you welcome.
Share that welcome with all you meet.

Meredith Shaw Forssman

Meredith Shaw is a student at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She also works in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Resource Center as a missional congregations assistant. She likes books, coffee, travel, and snail mail.

I Come to the Garden Alone

Ken Medema

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