Daily Devotion 09 June 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 40: 12, 25, 31 ‘Marvelling at the Greatness of God’

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?

25 To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One.

31 But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

‘St. Francis Giving his Mantle to a Poor Man’
by Giotto (1256-1327)
Fresco in Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi

Isaiah was one of the greatest prophets who has given us visions and words as eloquent as any other. From his own earth-shattering calling, to his prophesy of a new king coming from the line of David, through the lines about the Suffering Servant many years ahead of Jesus, to the words used by Jesus himself in Chapter 61. God’s dominance is clear – yet he will take care of his flock. Isaiah  was well acquainted with the dispossessed, and Chapter 40 is full of hope – I recommend reading it in full.

St. Francis of Assisi turned his back on a life of luxury, to the fury of his father. He travelled round the countryside with a few followers amongst God’s natural world. He went to growing cities, preaching the gospel amongst ordinary people.  In his last year, in pain and almost blind, he wrote his ‘Canticle of the Sun’ which was the hymn we know as ‘All Creatures of our God and King’. This was an early Italian version of the church’s ‘Benedicte’.

Today, as back in the times of Isaiah and Francis, we remember the dispossessed, particularly those who have lost or in fear of losing jobs, and their communities. Also, we hope that those who were homeless and have been offered hotel accommodation during the pandemic will be offered long term help, if they seek it.

God’s message is summed up in the third verse of the hymn:

And all who are of tender heart
forgiving others, take your part,
sing, ‘Praise him, alleluia!’
All who long pain and sorrow bear,
praise God, and on him cast your care:
O praise him, O praise him,
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Prayer:

Loving Lord, help us to be still and silent, as we come to listen to your voice, a comfort and encouragement in these uncertain times.  Help us to take this to others, particularly those who are facing gloomy prospects of employment.
We pray for the government as they continue to work for the good of all, and for those who live alone and still under lockdown.
You call us, Lord, to be your disciples, taking the good news as a church into the community and the nation, as we seek new ways of being a community. Amen.

Reflection and Prayer © 2020 Matthew Earl.
Artwork not subject to copyright.

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All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356