Daily Devotion 05 November 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.

Genesis 7:17-19, 23-24, 8:1-3 ‘God Remembers Noah’

17 The flood continued for forty days on the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters swelled and increased greatly on the earth; and the ark floated on the face of the waters. 19 The waters swelled so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered… 23 Only Noah was left, and those that were with him in the ark. 24 And the waters swelled on the earth for one hundred and fifty days. 1 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and all the domestic animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided; 2 the fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, 3 and the waters gradually receded from the earth.

Do you remember what day it is today? Maybe this will help:

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November –
gunpowder treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason,
should ever be forgot

What an odd custom Guy Fawkes Night/5th November/Bonfire Night is! We are urged in this ancient poem to ‘remember’…but do we? Really? Do we remember the sectarian element, the massive differences between the two sides involved – or just that the Houses of Parliament were nearly blown up? Do we remember the details, the many involved and the nuances in character and incident – or just the gory details of Guy Fawkes’ demise? There are plenty of other significant events worth remembering in the UK’s history, any one of us could name easily half a dozen others worthy of marking with a day of fireworks. Isn’t memory a curious thing – and perhaps we’re all guilty of having selective memories at times!

It’s a commonplace verb in the Hebrew Bible to read that God ‘remembers’ people – just like in the Genesis passage above.

• God remembers Rachel and she gives birth to Joseph (he of technicolour coat fame) (Genesis 30).
• The Israelite people groan, and God remembers his covenant with them (Exodus 2:24).
• Hannah prays silently, and God remembers her faithfulness (1 Samuel 1)

I rather like the image of God ‘remembering’ his people. Through all the tumultuous events of slavery and exodus, success and failure, distance and closeness, exile and homecoming: God does not forget his people… ever. So when you come across these passages which speak of God ‘remembering’, don’t worry – God is not being reduced in greatness to a God for whom things sometimes slip off his radar or get left off the list, which he then suddenly remembers again. It’s just a beautiful way of describing the indescribable – the miracle that we are always God’s and God’s alone, cherished and precious…and never forgotten.

apparently offered by Jacob Astley, 1st Baron of Reading during the Civil War in 1642:

‘O Lord, thou knowest how busy I must be this day.
If I forget thee, do not thou forget me’

Reflection © 2020 Paul Tabraham.
Prayer not in Copyright.
Image freely available online.

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