Pause

Love has its reasons, they say.

Love has its purposes too. It's not out there "just because," only to make us feel good, or even, as it does sometimes, to drive us crazy.

Love intends a result; love has an end in mind. When we say "God is love," we need to remember that.

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Listen

And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

John 3:14-15

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Think

After ten years overseas, one of the new buzzwords I’ve discovered in US slang is “repurposed.” It is somehow stronger than any of the usual “re-” words — reduce, reuse, or recycle, for example. It suggests a more profound change — a change of meaning, of direction, of intention.

Both of the symbols alluded to in today's passage have been repurposed. Snakes were a symbol of plague and sudden death in the desert until Moses lifted one up on a stick. The cross was a symbol of capital punishment and humiliation throughout the Roman Empire until Jesus was lifted up on Golgotha. In both cases, the symbols have been repurposed, becoming signs of healing, wholeness, victory, and new life.

In what ways might God be calling you to repurpose your life? How is God offering you healing, wholeness, victory, and new life?

Peter Hanson

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Pray

Jesus, Son of God, Son of Man, I look to you for new life. Give my life a calling, a direction, a purpose. Be lifted up in all I do. Amen.

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Go

Jesus loves you;
This you know,
For the Bible tells you so.
Little ones - like you -
To God belong.
You are weak;
But God's love is strong.

Peter Hanson

Peter Hanson has been a youth minister in Minnesota, a street chaplain in Berkeley and San Francisco, a parish pastor in Vermont, and most recently a missionary in Dakar, Senegal. He now serves as interim associate pastor at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Apple Valley, Minnesota. Peter lives in St. Paul with his wife, Sarah, and their two sons, Elijah and Simon.

The Love of God

Ken Medema

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