Daily Devotion 10 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.

John 14:1-3 ‘A Place Prepared for Us’

1 Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.

1 Corinthians 15:51,55,57 translation by William Barclay

51 I will tell you the secret that God has revealed… 52 the trumpet shall sound , the dead shall be raised never to die again and we shall all be changed… 55 “Death is swallowed up, and victory is complete! Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death , is your sting?”… 57 Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here are two wonderful passages from the New Testament. As a cleric in the Anglican Church, one of the things I had to do many times was to take the funeral service of a non-churchgoer and often most of those attending had little or no Christian belief. It was one of the most fulfilling aspects of ministry but also very draining, because nearly always those with no faith were in despair, needing something to cling to. My firm belief in a loving God, and in resurrection after death became the spar which stopped them drowning in their grief. If you like, they were hanging on to my coat-tails and drawing comfort from my faith although they didn’t yet believe themselves. It was crucial to them at that moment that I did believe.

This is something that has probably happened to you, too. At times of grief or extreme anxiety, people without faith often turn for reassurance to friends who do believe, and are comforted by their words or just by their presence. It’s an aspect of loving our neighbour which all Christians can fulfil and is a ministry in itself. We may feel we have no answers to their questions but the very fact of our certainties – that God loves everyone and is a forgiving God, and that we believe in a life beyond death – gives those that are floundering something to grab hold of.

For some of them it may be a step on the path to believing and commitment, for others just a crutch for this impossibly difficult moment; but it’s something we can all offer to the grieving folk we meet.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
Help us to be there for those who don’t yet know you, and to be prepared to let them hang on to our faith in you, at any time when they need to.

May we be ready to share with them our certainty of your unconditional love for every one of your children. May we express our confidence that you are waiting to forgive all who truly repent of past wrongs however long ago, and however unforgiveable those wrongs may seem. May we voice our firm belief in a life that continues with you after we die.
We commend to your loving care all those who are in distress at the present time.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Reflection and Prayer © 2020 Ann Caffyn.
Image freely available online.

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