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Daily Devotions: God’s People [re]connect!

Each year for the Augsburg Youth Theology Institute, daily themes are chosen that are grounded in a biblical text. During the months of training and preparation for the Institute, the college mentors engage in theological reflection as a team and dig deeper into the biblical texts together. Through their leadership development with staff and the Institute chaplain, they read, plan, write, and eventually lead daily devotions for participants using these verses. The following themes and verses are now this year’s devotions. 

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Separation

Genesis 3:1-13

Covenant

Genesis 9:8-17

Reunion 

Luke 15:1-10

Breaking Bread 

John 6:1-15

Companionship 

Luke 24:13-35

2022 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Thank you to Pastor John Schwehn and Pastoral Intern Tori Remer for their guidance and support as mentorsDevos 2022 Title Image prepared to write these devotions. The hours of conversation, prayer, theological reflection, and support that were given throughout the process is gratefully appreciated. We are proud of our college mentors and their work this spring.

PERMISSION

AYTI offers these themes and devotions for use by our partners. All credit should be given to the Augsburg Youth Theology Institute when using this material. Thank you. 

MISSION OF AYTI

The Augsburg Youth Theology Institute (AYTI) inspires emerging high school theologians to observe, interpret, and engage their world through Christ for the sake of their neighbor. Our participants learn how to reflect theologically on culture and find meaningful ways to respond to the call from God that happens in this process of reflection. 

To achieve this, we provide an intense, one-week residential experience with a new theme every year. Students read theological texts and experience a college classroom, participate in worship, explore diverse community-based learning, and have intentional small group conversations led by college mentors. Following their week on campus, students write a theological paper on the theme and their paper is published in a journal to be shared with congregations and the wider community.  www.augsburg.edu/ayti


MONDAY DEVOTION

Author: Blaine Schultz (they/them), 1st year Undecided major

Daily Theme: Separation

Daily Verse: Genesis 3:1-13 NIV

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Monday Questions

  • Read the daily theme and the daily verse
  • Can you think of a time where you might have done something different than what was asked of you?
  • How did that affect you or make you feel? What about the others around you, or maybe the situation?

In these moments, we can find ourselves separated from others whether that is our own choosing or not. Even in times where we might find ourselves separated from others or from God, we can still remember that God walks through the garden to find us and be with us.

 

TUESDAY DEVOTIONS

Author: Carson Vincent (he/they), 2nd year Biochemistry major and Religion minor

Daily Theme: Covenant

Daily Verse: Genesis 9:8-17 NIV

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

Tuesday Questions

  • Read the daily theme and the daily verse
  • What are some words or ideas that stuck out to you from the bible verse?
    • Definition: A covenant is defined as an agreement between two people. 
    • God made a lot of covenants in the bible and God also made a lot of promises. The difference between a covenant and a promise is two way vs one way. 
  • Is God’s love a covenant or a promise? In other words, do we need to do anything to receive God’s love?

 

WEDNESDAY DEVOTION

Author: Sarah Runck (she/her), 2nd year Music Therapy major

Daily Theme: Reunion

Daily Verse: Luke 15: 1-10 NIV

The Parable of the Lost Sheep – Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

The Parable of the Lost Coin – “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Wednesday Questions

  • Read the daily theme and the daily verse
  • Can you recall a story where you connected with a person you hadn’t seen in a long time and felt an instant reunion? 
  • We all have felt lost in our lives, but who was the person, people, or thing that made you feel found? 

 

THURSDAY DEVOTION

Author: Aaron Puent (he/him), 3rd year Religion major w/concentration in Global Studies

Daily Theme: Breaking Bread

Daily Verse: John 6: 1-15 NRSV

After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?’ He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, ‘Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?’ Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.’ So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, ‘This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.’

Thursday Questions

  • Read the daily theme and the daily verse
  • If you were in the crowd and Jesus asked you what you wanted him to cater for this group of people, what food would you choose?
  • Why do you think it’s important for people to share a meal?
    • Before the meal…Jesus gets in trouble for healing a sick man on the sabbath. Jesus says that it was the will of the Father. The people want to kill him because he claimed to be equal to God. Jesus speaks about the authority of the Son and refers to himself as such.
    • After the sermon… Begin with an argument/major claim against the understood status quo. Discuss this difficult and controversial topic over a meal. Leave as people are beginning to see Jesus for who he is.

Invitation: At the next two meals, pick a favorite Bible verse or poem or other written work.  Read it before your next meal and then eat, then contemplate it. Then, at your next meal, eat and then read the same work. Contemplate. When did it speak to you the most?

 

 

FRIDAY DEVOTION

Author: Renee Christensen (she/her), 3rd year Theology & Public Leadership major

Friday Theme: Companionship

Friday Verse: Luke 24:13-35 Inclusive Translation

“That same day, two of the disciples were making their way to a village called Emmaus -which was several miles from Jerusalem- discussing all that had happened as they went. While they were discussing these things, Jesus approached and began to walk with them, though they were kept from recognizing Jesus, who asked them, “What are you two discussing as you go your way?” They stopped and looked sad. One of them, Cleopas by name, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that have happened these past few days?” 

Jesus said to them, “What things?” They said, “About Jesus of Nazareth, a prophet powerful in word and deed in the eyes of God and all the people– who our chief priests and leaders delivered him up to be condemned to death and crucified him. We were hoping that he was the One who would set Israel free. Besides all this, today– the third day since these things happened– some women of our group have just brought us some astonishing news. They were at the tomb before dawn and didn’t find the body; they returned and informed us that they had seen a vision of angels, who declared that Jesus was alive. Some of our number went to the tomb and found it to be just as the women said, but they didn’t find Jesus.” 

Then Jesus said to them, “What little sense you have! How slow are you to believe all that the prophets have answered! Didn’t the Messiah have to undergo all this to enter into glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, Jesus interpreted for them every passage of scripture which referred to the Messiah. By now they were near the village they were going to, and Jesus appeared to be going further. But they said eagerly, “Stay with us. It’s nearly evening– the day is practically over.” So the savior went in and stayed with them. 

After sitting down with them to eat, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, then broke the bread and began to distribute it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus, who immediately vanished from their sight. They said to one another, “Weren’t our hearts burning inside us as this one talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?” They got up immediately and returned to Jerusalem, where they found the Eleven and the rest of the company assembled. They were greeted with “Christ has risen! It is true! Jesus has appeared to Simon!” Then the travelers recounted what had happened on the road, and how they had come to know Jesus in the breaking of the bread.”

Friday Questions

  • Read the daily theme and the daily verse
  • Think about a time where you were angry with someone or at something. How did that experience feel? Were you truly angry or were there other emotions hidden under anger?
  • It says in the text, “Were not our hearts burning?”. Think about what these two disciples just went through. These are all things that can cause a lot of trauma. It’s very possible they were experiencing some feelings of anger. 
    • What did these two do with all of those feelings? They did the one thing that they thought might help, walk away. 
    • How do you handle situations like this? 
  • What are one or two things that ground you in the midst of big feelings? Maybe a walk in the woods, meditation, prayer, silence, a run, a swim, etc. 
    • Take a few minutes of silence to write about those things that ground you. And you are encouraged to take some time today to practice one of them. 

 

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