50 | 40 | 10 | Devotions Series: Dec. 18, 2019 – Rev. Joanne Nagele

Devotions for the week of: December 18, 2019


Luke 1:46-55 (MSG)

And Mary said, “I’m bursting with God-news; I’m dancing the song of my Savior God. God took one good look at me, and look what happened — I’m the most fortunate woman on earth! What God has done for me will never be forgotten, the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others. His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before him. He bared his arm and showed his strength, scattered the bluffing braggarts. He knocked tyrants off their high horses, pulled victims out of the mud. The starving poor sat down to a banquet; the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel; he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high. It’s exactly what he promised, beginning with Abraham and right up to now.”


I have never been pregnant, but I have realized the wait and the excitement of newness that comes with God working a new focus for my life.

In 1970, I was struggling with what to do with my life. I was confident that I wanted to work in the church and I had a two-year degree in Parish Work, but a bachelor’s degree was needed. The Vietnam Conflict and the military draft (for the guys) was still an on-going fact of life. No matter how I felt about our involvement in Vietnam, I felt the need to help in some way. Through prayerful deliberation and discussion, I decided that entering the military could be a way to help our country and I would have a way of furthering my education through the G.I. Bill.

On Aug. 30, 1970, I signed the papers to enter the U.S. Navy. That night, I remember listening to the news. A headline said that the Lutheran Church in America had passed a resolution to ordain women. This news opened up a whole new world for me. In November, 1970, I went on active duty. My years in the Navy, I considered the beginning of the “wilderness time” I needed as I struggled with God calling me to ordained ministry.

One night, I remember driving from church to the military base and I felt God’s presence extremely close. And, like Mary, I was “bursting with God-news and dancing the song of my Savior God.” I was feeling like I was “the most fortunate woman on earth!” (V.46-47).

God was calling me to be a pastor!

It took a number of years to complete, but, I was ordained on February 22, 1981.

Rev. Joanne Nagele
Our Saviors Lutheran Church, Huron


Thank you, God, for giving us the struggles that lead to joy-filled, “God-news moments.” Amen.

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