Daily Devotion 13 July 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.

Ephesians 3:16-19 ‘Paul’s Prayer for the Readers’

16 I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 18 I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Forty years ago, we bought an eighteen-inch tall garden sculpture of a seated jolly monk and propped him up against a wall…first in Manchester, then Nottingham, then Sheffield. Eighteen years later we moved to London and decided to place him ‘free-standing’. Only then we did we discover the following little poem engraved on the back of his chair – a serendipity moment!

Take time to be
like tranquil pool or lofty tree;
there are quiet centres deep in thee
to find them simply be.

For some of us the ‘lockdown’ experience has been a welcome opportunity to take more ‘time to be’. For others, of course, there has been little time ‘to be’. For some, the easing of the lockdown will not be so welcome, for others it will be a relief. Some will always associate lockdown with bereavement. For many on various ‘front lines’ it will continue to be challenging.

We can I think safely assume Christ was a ‘people person’. Yet, he regularly needed space to withdraw from people by moving into simple solitude and stillness. Luke tells us “many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases.  But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray” (Luke 5:15-16). He took time, maybe each day, to ‘simply be’, to discover and rediscover his own ‘quiet centres’, which were the source of his teachings, healings and transformative power.

So, what does it mean to ‘simply be’? Maybe it means to ‘live simply’? Is it about ‘balance and perspective’? Might it suggest ‘be still and know that I am God’ or ‘Be at Peace’? How about ‘be aware’ or ‘be true to yourself and your Christ-like ideals’? A ‘tranquil pool’ suggests hidden depths, and a ‘lofty tree’ needs deep roots.

In all the current changing and varied circumstances of our lives, we are reminded again of the depth, the height and the length of profound love, and the different ways in which we can ‘simply be’.

Prayer:

Amid the ever-changing pace of life,
and in our particular circumstances,
help us Lord,
to take the time,
to create the space,
to ‘simply be’.
Amen.

Address, Image and Prayer © 2020 Gordon Harrison.
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All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356