Daily Devotion 19 October 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.

1 John 4: 19-21 ‘The Bottom Line is Love’

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

One World Week is a UK charity which aims to encourage people to learn about global justice and to use that knowledge in creating action for justice locally and worldwide. The key word is ACTION. We can’t avoid knowing about the need – frequently the post contains charity appeals and our TV screens are full of deserving causes. They bring strong feelings of pity for the many needy people in our world. The problem is that it so often it stops at ‘feelings’.

The saying goes: ‘An ounce of help is worth a ton of pity.’ I remember a Peanuts cartoon where Snoopy is sitting dejectedly in the snow, his teeth are chattering. The children walk by, warm in their winter coats and scarves. They see the dog and call out, ‘Be of good cheer, Snoopy.’ Then they walk on, leaving him sitting in the snow. The comedy is in the look on Snoopy’s face.

Even if we do take action, sometimes our reasons for doing so are misguided – we give to charity because it makes us feel good or out of a sense of guilt – some fundraisers gear their appeal to making us feel guilty. So why should we care for the needy? The Bible answer is clear: we care simply because God does: “We love because he first loved us.” Jesus distilled all the laws of the Old Testament into two basic rules – one really – the command to love, to love God and to love your neighbour. Indeed, he insists that you can’t love God without loving your neighbour.

We live in a world that’s more self-obsessed than it’s ever been, and more divided than it’s ever been – divided by gender, religion, skin pigment, political and social views, racial and national identity. When the forces of the world seek to divide us with barriers of hatred, exclusion and violence, we should remember these words of John. He doesn’t pull any punches about it, he says, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” In the matter of One World, love is the bottom line.

Prayer:

Father, as we pray for a culture of hope
to inspire the building of a more equal and peaceful world,
help us to discover gifts within us
that will enable us to live out more effectively
the love we have known from you.

So may our lives and the life of our church become centres of new hope
for a more authentic kind of living,
where people can find their value as your sons and daughters
and their place in the coming of your kingdom. Amen.

Reflection © 2020 Howard John.
Images freely available online.

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