Using Sundays and Seasons Gospel Messages

Apr 11, 2024 9:00:00 AM / by Augsburg Fortress

Each week, Augsburg Fortress offers a 300-word gospel devotion from Sundays and Seasons that connects the Sunday gospel reading with daily life and with God’s grace. These gospel devotions can be used in a variety of ways. Pastors can put them in church newsletters, provided that attribution is given to Augsburg Fortress, or use them as ready-made reflections at church council meetings and Bible studies. Laypeople can also use these devotions in small-group settings—they might enjoy getting an alternative perspective to the one they hear from the pulpit every week.

There are several ways to access these devotions. Pastors can find the devotions on by going to Library > Sundays and Seasons Resources > Gospel Messages. They can also order weekly subscription bulletins and choose the option with the devotional message on the back. Laypeople can access these devotions the Monday after the Sunday they address by signing up for weekly devotional emails or following Augsburg Fortress on Instagram.

These devotions provide a way to hear from other faithful Lutherans about the connection between life and faith every week, and for pastors, they can help provide quality content to share when needs arise for appropriate and timely devotions, whether in person or in print.

Here’s an example of a gospel devotion from Palm Sunday 2024:

The Heart of the Story

Martin Luther called the Psalms a “little Bible.” He wrote that all the rest of the Holy Scriptures could be found in them. Luther went so far as to suggest that in the Psalms the church can glimpse the death and resurrection of Christ. In these ancient songs and prayers of the Hebrew people, every human emotion is laid bare: joy and contentment, anger and sorrow, hope and despair. The Psalms give voice to the wide spectrum of experiences that mark our human lives. This is their power—they speak the heart’s language, turbulent as our hearts may sometimes be.

In a similar way, Holy Week places us at the center of the whole story of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. From the “hosannas” of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem to the seeming abandonment of the cross, emotions run high this week as the story of Christ’s passion reaches into the depths of our human experience. The palm and passion stories are themselves a “little Bible” of salvation for the church within the wider story of God’s saving love for all.

As we gather to hear the story of Christ’s passion anew, the words and rituals of the church’s worship life invite us to feel our way into this story from the inside out. We hear the shouts of blessing and come to the Passover in quiet hope. We follow to Gethsemane and to the cross, with mixed emotions. What does betrayal feel like in our bodies? What about amazement? Fear? How have we experienced ridicule or shame? How have we ourselves dismissed or derided others?

The palm and passion stories offer us a chance to contemplate Christ’s sufferings and meditate on our salvation—to come side by side with Christ’s passion and so to know and access our own. We are invited to honestly glimpse the workings of our own hearts. Nothing is off limits to God’s grace. No human experience is untouched by the story of God’s redemptive love.

Topics: gospel, Sundays and Seasons,

Augsburg Fortress

Written by Augsburg Fortress

Augsburg Fortress develops engaging resources for Lutheran congregations In our ministry as the publishing house of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, we create substantive and innovative materials to support the ministries of faith communities in communicating the good news of God's liberating grace. To meet the evolving needs of Lutheran communities, we continually invest in the development of new ministry resources, seeking ongoing input from theologians, educators, church leaders, and church members.

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