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Worship: Sundays at 9:30 a.m.

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Madison, WI 53715

St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Madison, WI

Daily Devotions

Some of the pastors in our area are sharing their daily devotions. Watch each day for a new offering!

March 27, 2020
Mark Dressel, Pastor
Trinity Lake Mills

“Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change”
James 1:17 NRSV

As I write this, the weather is bleak and it is raining. “Safer at Home” restrictions are in place. People are bored and edgy at the same time. I find that I get tired faster, after doing less, than I would when things are normal.

At the same time, I can’t say there is no blessing to be found. I went for a run this morning and got a wave from the driver of every passing car. We asked if people would be available to make phone calls to check in on members and received many willing responses. At the store and on the phone, I have seen and heard people doing the best they can and trying to maintain a sense of humor under challenging circumstances. Even congress has come together to pass a bi-partisan bill. The book of James says that every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above. Even in times as trying and uncertain as these, I give thanks for glimpses of God’s love and grace, and pray that you may catch sight of them as well.

Prayer: Dear Lord, we give you thanks for the blessings that you send into our lives. During this time of health concern and social distancing, please help us recognize your love and find ways to share it with others. In Jesus name, Amen.

March 26, 2020
by Julie Krahn, Interim Pastor
Bonnet Prairie Lutheran Church, Rio, WI

Psalm 130
I cry out to you from the depths, Lord—
my Lord, listen to my voice!
Let your ears pay close attention to my request for mercy!
If you kept track of sins, Lord—
my Lord, who would stand a chance?
But forgiveness is with you—
that’s why you are honored.

I hope, Lord.
My whole being hopes,
and I wait for God’s promise.
My whole being waits for my Lord—
more than the night watch waits for morning;
yes, more than the night watch waits for morning!

Israel, wait for the Lord!
Because faithful love is with the Lord;
because great redemption is with our God!
He is the one who will redeem Israel
from all its sin.

Psalm 130 is the appointed psalm for this Sunday. The psalmist writes a lament prayed from the depths, from the lowest points of life.

When I look out at the congregation as I preach, or in these days during the coronavirus pandemic when I envision your faces, I realize I don’t know the depths from which you pray. For the most part, I just don’t know the particulars. Are you grieving or facing a job loss? What worries keep you up at night? What anxieties make your heart race? Is someone you love in harm’s way? Who is scared that they won’t have enough food to feed their kids or money for medication? Is someone tempted to take their life? Are you lonely? Ashamed? Or …

In these days, when we are “in this together,” when we are all dealing with the worries and uncertainties of COVID-19, there is a solidarity. I feel it. We are together in our waiting to see what will happen next. We wonder together how will this all turn out and when will it end? And we wait together in solidarity. We are suffering together even while physically distanced from one another.

In a few weeks, we will observe Good Friday in some fashion. We will remember the agony of the cross and the darkest points of life. But then, for the rest of Friday and all day Saturday, we will wait. We will join the Hebrew poet who wrote Psalm 130 in declaring, “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.”

We wait and we hope in our God because we know that out of the darkest depths of Good Friday there will emerge a new dawn on Easter morning. A new dawn of life and renewal will be ours.

Prayer: Lord, we wait for you. During this time of uncertainty, out of the deepest and darkest depths of life, help us to place our hope in you. Amen.

March 25, 2020
by Robb Kosky, Pastor
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Waterloo, WI

Read Ezekiel 37:1-14 – The Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones

The prophet Ezekiel had a vision in which God picked him up and took to him into a valley. We are told one thing about this valley – “it was full of bones.” The Lord gives Ezekiel a tour of the valley and he realizes that there are a lot of bones here – this is a place where a lot of people died – and they have been dead for a long time, for the bones “were very dry.”

And the Lord then asks Ezekiel a simple question: “Can these bones live?”

This question is so simple that Ezekiel is taken aback. I picture him wondering what the catch is, suddenly filled with self-doubt in the presence of God. The obvious answer is no longer obvious to him. These bones are dead. Can they live? Of course not. But Ezekiel doubts himself. He defers to God: “O Lord God, you know.”

Ezekiel cannot see the future. Who among us knew what 2020 would bring? Who knew two weeks ago that we would cancel worship services and so many other things? And who among us knows what next week will bring? There is but one who knows: “O Lord God, you know.”

And what does God know?
Is there a future beyond the pandemic?
Is there hope for us in the midst of isolation?
Can these bones live?

(Just in case you didn’t read the story… the answer is “Yes.”)

March 23, 2020
Daily Devotions by Pastor Martha Butzier,
Lake Edge Lutheran Church

Psalm 139:1-2
O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.

What is it that ways most heavily on your heart? A pending surgery? A dying loved one? The pain sexual assault? The grief of divorce? The disappointment of cancelled plans? The just discovered cancer? COVID 19? The psalmist tells us how God searches us and knows us. This isn’t something that happens once a week or twice a month. God knows what’s on your mind and in your heart. God always remembers who you are. Today, as you wrestle with your life struggles, tell God about it. It’s not for God’s sake; it’s for your own.

God, I praise you, for I am wonderfully made. You formed me and know all there is to tell about me. Not one thing is hidden from you. Make me turn to you with my joys and burdens. Amen.