Daily Devotion 01 May 2020

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Matthew 10: 26-31 ‘Jesus Teaches About Fear’

26 ‘So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. 30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Did you know that if you have red or auburn hair, you’ve probably got about 90,000 hairs on your head? If you have black or brown hair, it’ll be somewhere between about 100-120,000 hairs on your head. If you’re blonde, then you have the most of all – about 150,000 hairs*.

Leaving aside for the moment our collective desire for a trim, and our finding new and inventive ways of styling hair that is getting longer and longer by the day, it’s a rare word from Jesus that includes hair – one designed to illustrate just how precious we are in God’s sight.

I can imagine Jesus speaking these words with a smile too. Sparrows were common in Jewish markets and by far the cheapest birds to buy. Jesus is saying that even the smallest, most insignificant and numerous creature is not outside God’s overarching love. Maybe some of the crowd present were trying to calculate how many sparrows were equal to the value of one person!

The illustration about hair serves the same purpose. What’s the most insignificant part of a human being? A toe? A fingernail? A solitary hair combed out and lost forever? By exaggeration about sparrows and follicles, Jesus makes a serious point with a beautifully light touch. The science of the exact number of follicles post-dates Jesus’ time rather, but his point is that even the most insignificant part of us – a single hair – is precious and significant to God. Our health, mood, fears, joys, loves, well-being, contentment, sorrows – all are precious and significant to God. Maybe Jesus simply wants us to dwell less on the things of this world that provoke fear, and instead ‘fear’ God. Not in terror, but in the sense of appreciation and adoration so far from us – yet so close and loving to us.

* These are highly accurate, vague scientific figures, and do not take into account dyed hair, those with highlights, tints, bleached hair, or those (like the author) who seem to have less of late.

Prayer:

Thank you, Loving God,
for your love for all your creation,
for all peoples and nations,
for all that breathes and moves and has life on earth.
Thank you for your love too, for me – just me.
Insignificant and small as I am.
Thank you for your love for me. AMEN.

Images freely available online.
Reflection and Prayer all © 2020 Paul Tabraham.

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