Daily Devotion 24 June 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.

Hebrews 12:1-2 ‘Discipline in a long-distance race’ (The Message)

Do you see what this means – all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running – and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever.

A lovely cocker spaniel of mine had a passion for chasing squirrels. She only had to hear a word beginning “sss-k” and she was off! She’d race to the large sweet chestnut tree to find them. When she was quite little, a squirrel had run up there to escape from her and thereafter she was convinced they lived there. Through the summer she would spend hours by the tree, waiting and watching, all ready for them. Squirrels could be cavorting on the ground quite close to her, but she wouldn’t notice. Her whole attention was focused on the tree. That was her priority and in putting it first, she missed out on the real thing.

There are times like that in our lives. We can be so busy concentrating on what we think is the right thing, running towards the goal on which we’ve set our hearts, looking in the wrong direction, that we miss out on what really matters. It can be so easy to focus on things that seem important now, to aim for something that matters to us or our loved ones at this time, without realizing that we’re looking the wrong way, we’re running the wrong race. The race we have to run is the one that God has set before us, not one we’ve devised for ourselves. We may have to abandon our own ambitions, or things that are important to us, which takes courage and patience and is easier said than done. We can only succeed with help. We have to keep our eyes on Jesus, who is always there for us, always ready to give that help if we ask. There’s a lovely chorus which is one of my favourites, by Helen Howarth Lemmel:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace.