Daily Devotion 23 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.

Romans 1:8-13 ‘Prayer of Thanksgiving’

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the world. 9 For God, whom I serve with my spirit by announcing the gospel of his Son, is my witness that without ceasing I remember you always in my prayers, 10 asking that by God’s will I may somehow at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you – 12 or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as I have among the rest of the Gentiles.

St. Paul was a great traveller, reaching much of the Roman Empire with the Christian gospel. The desire to explore and share in the cultures of others is still a central part of 21st Century life. A few years ago, one of our children returned from an expedition to Inner Mongolia, followed by a trip up the Yangtze in China. We have all met friends who have been to the most remote parts of our planet. Age appears to be no barrier, just as long as you can afford the fare. You only have to stand at an airport, bus or railway station on any day of the year to recognise the we are world travellers – a people on the move!

One World Week was started 42 years to focus on the need for all the world’s citizens to think globally and act locally for the good of all mankind. It is a reminder despite the instant access we all have to world news at the touch of a button, it is all too easy to retreat into our own little world, cocooned by closed curtains, high garden fences and private cars.

Not everyone moves by choice, as many people displaced from their communities in Afghanistan, Syria, drought-stricken areas of Africa and countless other places will testify. In our own country people are evicted from their homes through financial difficulty, others are forced out by violence or uncaring parents, and asylum seekers and nomadic travellers are not usually welcome to loiter in any community. We are all too ready to judge others who do not fit into our pattern of life. It is easy to dismiss the idealist, to condemn those who fall by the wayside, or those who challenge our seeming comfortable lifestyles.

Jesus was one of the most unconventional people of his day. He challenged those who were tempted to use their faith as a means of wielding power over others and he made many enemies. He was never welcomed in any town by the powerful and to use his own words, ‘had nowhere to lay his head’ (Luke 9:58). Yet the life he lived and the way he affirmed God’s love for us has become the stimulus for us to love God and to want to love our neighbour. One World week provides an opportunity to reflect carefully on how we can make that a reality in our ‘little world’.

Prayer:

Lord in these days of lockdown and self-isolation, shake us out of any retreat from the world around us.
Fire up your Spirit within us to respond to the needs of a lonely or isolated neighbour.
Open our minds to understand the plight and desperation of the asylum seeker, and break down the barriers that hinder us from living as brothers and sisters in ‘One World.’ Amen.

Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Roger McAvoy.
Image freely available online.

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