Daily Devotion 07 August 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.

Isaiah 6: 1-8 ‘A Vision of God in the Temple’

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. 2 Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3 And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ 4 The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. 5 And I said: ‘Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’. 6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7 The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: ‘Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.’ 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’

During lockdown I read two books by Frank McCourt: Angela’s Ashes and ‘Tis, the often humorous but graphic autobiographies of him growing up in squalor in Ireland, emigrating to the US, becoming a successful teacher and playwright. The word ‘change’ can mean many forms, good or bad. Different, new, move in a different direction, convert etc. I think of Scrooge in Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ who changed from being a miserly to a kind man. In the Bible, the tax-collector Zacchaeus waited up a tree when he knew Jesus was coming through later said he would repay all those he had cheated out of their money four times over; the apostle Paul had his Damascus Road experience; God called Moses to lead his people out of Egypt towards the Promised Land. Moses even described himself as a ‘nobody’, but God used and changed him to lead his people on the mighty journey. The passage above describes Isaiah’s calling.

I remember particularly four occasions in my life when I felt a changed person. Many years ago, I was up a mountain in Switzerland and I could see for miles over the mountain tops, and more recently at Langney Point I was up early to see the most beautiful sunrise. On each occasion I felt at peace, a renewed wonder at our Lord’s creation and closer to him. When I got married, a hitherto confirmed bachelor, now I was part of a family! Also, when I joined the church as a member. However, change has been swift and upsetting for many people, those who have lost loved ones and for us as part of God’ s church it can be unsettling. Where we go from here will depend on how confident each of us feel about next steps. We will not go back to how things were, nor should we, because recent events give us a chance to review, perhaps change, how we ‘do’ church. How we welcome new faces through the doors and as we continue to prepare for our new building.

Prayer: based on a part of Psalm 42

As the deer pants for streams of water
so our souls call for you, O Lord.
Help us to see the steps forward on the right paths
in our lives, with family, neighbours and in the church.
By day direct your love through us so that at night we may rest,
praying that our hope and trust in you shines out to those with whom we meet. Amen.

Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Matthew Earl.
Image © 2020 Paul Tabraham.

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