Daily Devotion 21 November 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.

Galatians 5:14

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”

There’s a story of a group being given a tour of Heaven and Hell. They reached the corridor separating the dining rooms of the two places and someone remarked on how similar they looked. “Oh, they’re identical,” said their guide, “and they both have the same Chef and share the same kitchen”. Somewhat taken aback the group watched as the residents arrived for a meal. Those from Hell seemed more hungry and rushed in, pushing and shoving each other aside, looking as if they hadn’t eaten for months. Those in Heaven came in together chatting happily, seeming well-fed and healthy. The food arrived, looking good and smelling delicious. Then the observers noticed that the only cutlery provided was spoons with very long handles. They were too unwieldy for anyone to serve themselves; the residents of Hell wouldn’t cooperate with one another, the food went everywhere but in their mouths so they ate very little and ended up starving. On the other hand, those in Heaven fed each other across the table and ate their fill.

“You see,” smiled the guide, “it’s very simple. Love only requires one skill, thinking of others before yourself. The folk in heaven learned early on to share and feed one another. While the greedy in hell only think of themselves and so go hungry.”

Jesus’ teaching is very clear, that we must love God and love our neighbour as ourself. If we really do both those things, everything else will fall into place. Our Lord tells us to love our enemies as well as those who love us, and to pray for those who wrong us (Matthew 5:44). When we understand these words aright, it means that, without exception, everyone in the world is our neighbour. Whether they love us or hate us, they are still our neighbours and we are called to love them as we love ourselves.

Sometimes, concentrating too much on ourselves, we tend to forget our interdependence with everyone and everything around us, so much so that we may stop caring about our neighbour. As this story shows, not only are we then failing to help others but we’re also unconsciously harming ourselves. Everyone in the world is a child of God and he loves each one of us deeply and unconditionally.

Prayer:

God our Father,
Father of every one of your children, may we look at others as if through your eyes,
less judging, more loving, and seeing them, like us,
as not perfect or finished
but as a work in progress that will be completed in due time by your hands.
Help us to see the best in, and
want the best for all your precious children.
Teach us to be good neighbours,
not just to the folk that we like but to everyone that we meet.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Ann Caffyn.
Image freely available online.

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