Daily Devotion 25 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.

Slogans

Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5:24)

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst to see righteousness prevail. (Matthew 5:6)

Blessed are the peacemakers. (Matthew 5:9)

Blessed are those who are persecuted for seeking righteousness. (Matthew 5:10)

Soundbites and slogans characterize the current times. Whether it be the Brexit debate, the Coronavirus pandemic or global protest demonstrations, they all produce their own distinctive pithy statements.

In a tree in our garden we have a pair of nesting doves. During the last few weeks we have seen the male dove ferociously defend his territory (and of course the nest) against marauding magpies. The dove, a symbol of peace, certainly sees justice as a ‘black and white’ issue! ‘No Justice, No Peace’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’ are two current slogans that also address black and white issues. These issues inhabit the histories of the UK, the USA, West Africa, the Caribbean and other parts of the world. Every day they permeate the lives of black and minority ethnic people throughout the world.

At one of the recent protest rallies, a young white lady carried a placard with this message: “I understand that I can never fully understand, but I stand with you”, similar to this image on the right.

Yes, all of us can find ways to stand alongside, and to stand up to racism whenever and wherever it manifests itself. Racism, whether insidious, overt or institutional should always be seen as an afront to human dignity and a denial of Christ-like love. Christ-like love is an all-encompassing, all-enfolding, unconditional matter. The Christian Gospel can only be ‘Good News’ for all people if it is not afraid to address societal issues of racism, poverty, and all forms of inequality, each of which are health issues.

“Let my people go”, said Moses to slave-owning Pharaoh in Egypt. The Jewish Ten Commandments of Deuteronomy, and the Christian ‘Beatitudes’ of Matthew 5 also address societal values in terms of slogans…manifestos, if you like. And what about ‘God is Love’? The Russian writer Leo Tolstoy came up with a fine variation on this in a short story headed ‘Where Love is, God is’.

So, I stand with my dove in the garden. He reminds me that without ‘justice’ there can be no real ‘peace’, for any of us. He also takes action when necessary. He tells me that it is necessary to confront the ‘magpies’ whenever they present. And so to you, gentle and peace loving dove, thank you for your ‘tough love’.

Prayer:

Help us Lord, to understand what righteousness means in our day and age.
We remember those who suffer from a lack of it;
and we pledge ourselves to be dove-like, ‘peace-MAKERS’. Amen.

Address and Prayer © 2020 Gordon Harrison.
Image freely available online.

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