God opens the door to welcome us, offering mercy for our wrongs and healing for our wounds.

We can be restored: made whole and made well!

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Soon afterward, Jesus traveled through the cities and villages, preaching and proclaiming the good news of God’s kingdom. The Twelve were with him, along with some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses. Among them were Mary Magdalene (from whom seven demons had been thrown out), Joanna (the wife of Herod’s servant Chuza), Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.

Luke 8:1-3

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Jesus had caused a stir at Simon's dinner party, proclaiming forgiveness and peace to a woman who had earned her bad reputation. His own reputation was growing too. The party guests were left chattering to each other about this man who forgave sin – something only God could do!

As Jesus and his followers went on their way, it wasn't just their preaching that attracted attention. Jesus wasn't only proclaiming the Kingdom, but living it. He talked about forgiveness, then welcomed followers who had experienced healing. He talked about love, then welcomed followers who showed love to him in return.

He talked about a woman who had served him the way a host should have done, then he welcomed women to be his followers on the Kingdom way.

Our mental image of Jesus and his followers may be just a dozen men and their teacher. But Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, "and many other" women joined them. All together, they didn't just talk about forgiveness and love and service. All together, they lived out the Good News.

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair

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Thank you, Jesus, for inviting people just like me – women and men you have helped and healed – to be part of your Kingdom. I want to follow you. Amen.

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God's grace overflows: you are forgiven!

Now open the door in a wide welcome, and offer the same mercy and healing you have received.

The world is waiting to be restored.

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair is an ordained Baptist minister, military spouse, and mom of two boys. Her family moves every few years, and she is learning to love the many facets of God’s call within the changes and challenges of military life. She knits, sews, reads, paints a bit, preaches occasionally, and writes blog posts and devotionals.

Wondrous Love: Music of Lent - I Am Thine, O Lord

Mark Hayes

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