Daily Devotion 16 June 2021

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.

1 Kings 19:11-12 ‘A Still Small Voice’ (RSV)

11 the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.”

Matthew 4:18-20 ‘Calling the Disciples’ (RSV)

18 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting their net into the sea for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”. 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him.”

John Greenleaf Whittier
(1807-1892)

In conversation with others recently, I find many are, like myself, longing for the time when we can once again stand to worship God as we join together in singing his praise. So many of us, it seems, find hymns often speak more powerfully to our needs than do many sermons (a sobering thought for those of us who are preachers!). What a wonderful ministry – to write words which remain with us long after we have sung them. Often it’s the tune which carries them so we find ourselves singing as we go about our daily lives. We are so blessed with many wonderful hymns, both old and new, which speak to our hearts, bringing resolve or comfort as needed. One that has stood the test of time, and is never out of the ’Top 10’ in the hymn charts is John Greenleaf Whittier’s Dear Lord and Father of Mankind. First sung, maybe in school assemblies long ago to Parry’s lovely tune Repton, it haunts the memory. Surprisingly Whittier would never have thought of his words being set to music – he was a staunch Quaker whose worship did not include the singing of hymns!

This prayer to the Lord and Father of us all still speaks powerfully today. Written as a warning against over indulgence in intoxicants it proclaims the power of God’s Holy Spirit to inspire, to enable or to calm us in every moment of our lives. The line ‘Take from our souls the strain and stress, and let our ordered lives confess the beauty of Thy peace’ has calmed and reassured many of us in the dark and difficult days which we all experience at some point in our lives.

Whittier’s original poem has seventeen verses; in Singing the Faith we have just the final six. Six inspiring, challenging, comforting verses to help us on our Christian way. If you have access to a hymn book do read them prayerfully, and find God blessing you through them.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, as we hear your call to be your disciples, reassure us of your presence with us
at all times. Help us to live for you in all we do or say, keeping faith alive every day.
May your peace sustain us and keep us true to our calling. In quiet, and in busy times,
may our lives display your love and kindness. Keep us patient, trusting that you are in control of all life, that your kingdom of peace and joy will be fully established here in the fullness of time. So in quietness and confidence may we find strength to live as witnesses for you. All our prayers we offer in your name and for your sake. To you be all praise and glory. Amen.

Reflection © 2021 Hazel Blake.
Hymn words no longer in copyright.
Image freely available online.

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