Daily Devotion 22 August 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.

Acts 3:18-21 ‘Peter Preaches Jesus as Lord’

18 In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, 20 so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus, 21 who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets.

These days we’ve become very aware of the need to keep our hands clean, and we use sanitisers virtually everywhere we go – the purpose being to wipe out anything that might lead to the coronavirus being spread. Peter’s sermon, of which the four verses above are a short extract, contains many warnings, but also an important promise – and the key is the phrase ‘wiped out’.

Perhaps we don’t appreciate how good we’ve become at preservation. Hardly anything gets permanently erased. Some years ago, to my horror, the hard disc on our computer failed completely, but experts were able to extract the tens of thousands of files and restore them to a new disc. Now, of course, I have everything backed up – in triplicate!

If pens are your thing, modern inks are very difficult to erase since their acid content penetrates the paper, and often the best we can do is to hide the mistakes with good old-fashioned correction fluid. The ink we used for marriage registers was of a special kind, being indelible and unfading – it just got blacker with age. In fact, I sometimes joked to newly-married couples, ‘Even when the paper’s rotted and disappears, the ink still remains, you know…’ (fortunately I’m not sure any believed me!). In Peter’s day, however, writing would have been on papyrus and the ink had no acid in it. It simply ‘lay’ on the top, so erasing was relatively easy – it could all be ‘wiped out’ – which is precisely the sense in which Peter was talking about our sins.

This isn’t all that straightforward, however. In my experience, when I’ve preached about the radical nature of the Gospel and the startling changes that it can (and should) bring to our lives, I’ve noticed some people shift uneasily in their seats! But all of us need to repent and turn to God, however grown in the faith we may be. Perhaps, as with some other aspects of our faith, some things are almost too good to be true. It is hard to believe that God really does wipe away the past that can haunt us. Nevertheless, you and I can be free – not from mistakes or human weaknesses – but from the power of sin. No wonder Charles Wesley could use the metaphor of imprisonment to illustrate this point:

‘My chains fell off, my heart was free:
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee’.



Loving God, forgive us for not trusting sufficiently in the power of your love,
and save us from the regret and sadness that this can bring.
Help us to hear your Son’s words speaking to us now, as he spoke to others so long ago:
“Your sins are forgiven; go in peace”, that we may live as your joyful children,
free to love and serve you, in the name of Christ our Lord, Amen.

Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Barrie Tabraham.
Images 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

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