Daily Devotion 12 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.

Philemon v. 4-7 ‘Philemon’s Love and Faith’

4 When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank my God 5 because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith towards the Lord Jesus. 6 I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ. 7 I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother.

Paul’s letter to Philemon was his shortest letter, written to his friend who was a leader in the church at Colossae. Paul was in prison and he had met Onesimus who had probably stolen some money from his master. Paul writes with great affection for the newly converted slave. Even though he had the authority to order Philemon, Paul asks him if he could bring it in his heart to release Onesimus. A very different slave is returning to the one who ran away, and Paul is full of praise and love for Philemon as he can trust him to release Onesimus. Indeed, because of his faith in Christ, Philemon always will do more than he is asked. I recommend the reading of the 25 verses of the book to get its full meaning.

A few months ago, I experienced someone being kind, and then ‘going the extra mile’ without hesitation. I was shopping and when I got to the till and was paying I realised I did not quite have enough cash. I said to the cashier that I will leave an item. Before I got any further the customer in the queue next to me said not to worry, whipped his card over the reader and paid the whole bill, not just the balance!  Before I had the chance to say ‘no thank you it is OK’ he was leaving the shop, and I called out my thanks in the nick of time. I was taken aback that a total stranger did that for me.

When going the extra mile, it does not matter who we are, or colour, creed or race, we all belong within the family of Christ. We have just come to the end of Black Lives Matter Month and this year we have seen the deaths of many, particularly in the US. Many are showing their love in many ways. We have had the media lead conversations over slave owners who also were partly responsible for the prosperity of our cities. We make up our minds by bias and prejudice that we all hold, perhaps without realising it, with any subject when we hear and see something that is taken out of context or without the full facts. Whether it the pandemic, slave traders, refugees, local and national councillors and politicians or our neighbours etc.

Peter became the leader of the early church, and just as with Onesimus, he was a very different person from when he denied he knew Jesus three times before Jesus died. Peter preached the good news and the way he lived spoke volumes. When he died Peter wished to be nailed to the cross UPSIDE DOWN, feeling himself not worthy to follow in the same manner as his Saviour. I am very conscious, now more than ever, of my calling as a Christian to act and, then, to go the extra mile.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, be with those who feel lost and depressed particularly at this time.
Help me to act in your love to reassure others they are loved and part of your wide family.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Matthew Earl.
Images freely available online.

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