Daily Devotion 02 April 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.

Psalm 23 ‘The Divine Shepherd’

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters; 3 he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil; for you are with me;
your rod and your staff – they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.

Looking back on lives of faith and looking forward to eternity we all have a story to tell of how circumstances came for our first encounter with God. For me it was a Christian Crusader Camp in Dorset and then post-war hearing Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones at Westminster Chapel in London. I have always enjoyed hymns – and on the mornings when our news can be deeply concerning a good hymnbook can work wonders for a faithful outlook! When Thomas Toke Lynch (1818-1971) wrote the classic My Faith it is an Oaken Staff, he used that same imagery of the shepherd, and God’s guidance and protection. (You can easily find the words online to this, though most have the three-verse version).

The first verse speaks of faith being continually tested throughout life; the second verse encourages us to battle through knowing that we are under God’s authority and not to give up. The third verse speaks of holy guide who helps enthusiastically helps everyone to reach out to God. The fourth verse, wonderfully inspired, says it all:

My faith, it is an oaken staff, O let me on it lean!
My faith, it is a trusty sword, may falsehood find it keen!
Thy Spirit, Lord, to me impart, O make me what Thou ever art,
Of patient and courageous heart, as all true saints have been.

May God be our protector and guide in all these days, and our faith remain strong in Him.

Loving heavenly Father,
we come to thank you for being our Saviour, Guide and Creator of the world we live in.
We perhaps will understand a little more about your suffering on our behalf during this period of Lent.
We come during an anxious period that is causing much distress and sadness.
We pray that we support those who are frightened or lonely.
We pray for all who are in responsible positions at this time, may they be given wisdom and integrity to direct a responsible result to the present crisis.
May this situation be used to demonstrate our love for our neighbours. Amen.

Image © 2020 LUMO project (Big Book Media) from http://www.freebibleimages.org/
Reflection and Prayer © 2020 Derek Scott.
A printable version of this Daily Devotional can be downloaded from here
All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356