Daily Devotion 21 April 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.

Matthew 10: 28-31 ‘Every Hair…’

28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. 30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

I know what you’re thinking – if that’s a picture of Rev. Paul on the left, he’s really let himself go during lockdown. Fortunately not! Hopefully you’ll recognize the character ‘It’ from The Addams Family. (I can never remember whether the hairy one is ‘Thing’ or ‘It’, but thankfully such things are no more than a google away…). Now that the hairdressers, barbers and salons are open again, many will be mightily relieved and will relish the longer locks falling to the floor. Some will have had their appointment booked for weeks, or even longer. If I do see anyone at church looking like ‘It’, though, can I reserve the right to have a gentle word to one side?

These oft-quoted words of Christ in Matthew (and a similar version in Luke) have been a great comfort to people of faith for generations – one of those memorable gems from Christ with meaning and truth. “Even the hairs of your head are all counted” is wonderful. In a sense it’s of course literally true, for God knows not just this figure but even the numbers of molecules in each hair too, and subatomic particles for that matter. But far more powerful than that is the metaphorical meaning Jesus conveys: that we are loved, precious, and watched over by our Creator and Heavenly Father to a degree which far exceeds human calculation.

Like ‘It’, our hairs may be a bit longer these days. As they’ve got longer, we’ve experienced several different lockdowns, some harder than others for each of us. As they’ve grown, we’ve watched in fear as the numbers of cases, hospitalisations, and deaths have rocketed, and felt relief when the graph turns the other way. And it’s not just length of hair, of course, but faces and bodies show changes, worry lines, wrinkles, or marks and scars that are a part of our identity and experience that show a lifetime lived that is full of ups and downs, that is real. Jesus tells people time and time again what the love of God is like, and Matthew 10:30 is a wonderful way of doing it. Luke also records Jesus telling his disciples not to worry about witnessing to him for “not a hair of your head will perish” (Luke 21:18). Thanks be to God for knowing our human experience in the life of Jesus Christ, and for showing us such love by his death and glorious resurrection – realities of faith for us all in good times and bad.

Prayer:

May God who cherishes every sparrow, who goes in search of every lost lamb,
who embraces every lonely child, who dries every tear, and holds every hand,
guide you, sustain you and enrich your life;
and may knowing that you are valued
be your joyful song today and always. Amen.

Reflection © 2021 Paul Tabraham.
Prayer © 2002-2021, ROOTS for Churches Ltd.
Images freely available online.

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