Daily Devotion 20 May 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.

John 6:12-13 ‘Gathering up the Fragments’

12 When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.’ 13 So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets.

It’s interesting how a story from the Gospels can suddenly encounter us in a new way. We’ve heard this story so many times we could almost recite it backwards. But then, out of the blue a phrase hits us between the eyeballs, as we say, with a freshness we might never have imagined. I’ve found myself latching on to those words of Jesus: “Gather up the fragments left over so that nothing may be lost”. I invite you to join me in welcoming this phrase into our hearts, minds, and souls. In this way we can allow these words to become a ‘means of grace’ as we reflect upon them. I believe it is a phrase, indeed an instruction, that can have many different ‘spin-offs’ as we ponder its significance.

The other day I heard about a man who felt concerned about the amount of surplus food that supermarkets were disposing. He had a good friend who was a chef; after a conversation the chef agreed to use some of this food to cook meals for homeless people in central London. The two men referred to this as ‘The Feeding of the 5000 – 2020 style’.

It occurs to me that we “gather up the fragments” of a person’s life on notable occasions, such as anniversaries and thanksgiving services. We also “gather up the fragments” from those experiences in life which we may sometimes call a ‘mixed blessing’. I leave you to do your own reflection upon these words of Christ. May it be that our collective gathering up of these different ‘fragments’ do indeed result in ‘twelve baskets full’…in other words, an abundance of that which is life enhancing for us and our world.

Prayer:

In these anxious days, we pray to the Lord:
Give us courage and peace in our hearts.
May we gather up fragments of your gracious love, so that nothing may be lost

We pray for those who are displaced, or have no place to call ‘home’
or are victims of violence or poverty:
Lord, gather up our fragments of concern for others into ‘baskets’ of compassion.

And for blessings received – acts of kindness and much more besides:
May we together gather up the fragments into a super-abundance of our appreciation

We pray for those working on different ‘front lines’:
Lord, gather up the fragments of our forgetfulness
and transform them into thankful remembrance

We pray and give thanks for those involved in medical advice and vaccine research:
May their skills and knowledge, fragmented yet also joined up,
be gathered into ‘baskets’ of wisdom and ultimate success.

We pray for all those who are infected or afflicted in any way,
for all those filled with fear and anxiety and for the bereaved:
Lord, gather up our fragments of intercession for those in special need at this time,
in the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Gordon Harrison.
Image © 2002-2020, ROOTS for Churches Ltd.

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All material reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356