Daily Devotion 14 April 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.

Lamentations 3: 22-30

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
24 ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for one to bear the yoke in youth,
28 to sit alone in silence when the Lord has imposed it,
29 to put one’s mouth to the dust (there may yet be hope),
30 to give one’s cheek to the smiter, and be filled with insults.
31 For the Lord will not reject for ever.
32 Although he causes grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
33 for he does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone.

Lamentations is a poetic outpouring of sorrow for the destruction of Jerusalem in the 6th Century. The writer pens these words on behalf of the whole community, naming the sadness that they are enduring. Just as the depth of sorrow and hurt is acknowledged, this is balanced with a sense that God’s hope, God’s love, and God’s compassion are all present nonetheless. The remark about being ‘alone in silence’ is surely one of the bleakest in the Hebrew scriptures.

In recent weeks I have spoken to many of our housebound members at church, sadly being unable to visit them. Members and friends who – virus or no virus – cannot come into church for worship, cannot come into church for fellowship, cannot leave their homes for things many of us take for granted.  The difficult reality that we all face now – of being church without being physically close to one another – is something many of our friends know well already.  Perhaps our collective suffering now will increase our perspective a little into the needs of others – for whom social isolation is ongoing battle.

So while we’re facing isolation, let’s not forget the needs of those close to us, or far from us, whose lives are affected in ways which bring about loneliness or feelings of dislocation. This piece of Lamentations reminds us that although we live in a world where suffering occurs, that God’s mercies can be found. Perhaps when we come back together physically as a church, we can make a real effort to be agents of God’s mercy, and love and reach out to those in our community who are alone.

Loving God, you are always with us, even when we feel alone.
Merciful God, you reach out to us, knowing our needs and all we sorrow.
God of all hope, lift our spirits and heal us of all that separates us from you and one another.
Gather us together as one, by the power of your abundant love. Amen.

Image by Clare Calvert © 2002-2020, ROOTS for Churches Ltd. All rights reserved.
Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Paul Tabraham

A printable version of this Daily Devotional can be downloaded from here
All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356