Daily Devotion 26 April 2021

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.

Matthew 3:1-2

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Matthew 4:17

From that time Jesus began to proclaim,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

All of our dogs were spaniels, and – unlike the second, the naughty little one who ate our chocolate liqueurs one Christmas with great glee – our first dog definitely seemed to have a conscience. Once, our little daughters unwisely left an unwrapped Easter Egg lying around while we went out – they only did it once! When we got home we found that the dog had licked the egg all over, so thoroughly that there was no pattern left, but she had managed to resist the temptation to actually eat it – well knowing that it was forbidden!

I’m not sure that dogs really can have consciences but we humans certainly do and searching our own consciences should be something we do regularly. Repentance is something that as Christians we are all called to. But before we can talk about repentance, we have to talk about sin. It’s out of fashion today to acknowledge that sin exists but it’s very important for Christians to recognize that it does. If we weren’t sinners we wouldn’t need Jesus. If the world weren’t full of sinners, then Christ came in vain. Sin is everything that separates us from God, that prevents us living in the way that God wants us to live. Sin is anything that stops us from truly loving God and loving our neighbour. It’s like a wall that we build up between ourselves and God. So we do need to repent. Repentance literally means turning around. It means turning from something towards something else. Repentance is a turning from sin and a turning towards God.

We were created by God to live in love. True love. Repentance involves a restructuring of our lives so that God is in the centre, so that we love him with all our hearts, minds and souls, and love our neighbours as ourselves. And it’s not something we do just once. We repent and then we sin again. We allow something, anything, to come between us and God. We stumble, we fall, and we repent again. God always has mercy on us.

It is always good to search our consciences and to recognize where we are failing God and our neighbour either in what we do or what we don’t do – often in the same way, over and over again. If we are truly sorry and really mean to try harder, God always forgives us. He created us and he loves us. And he sent his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins.

Prayer:

Father God,
We lay before you the darkest areas of our lives, the things we have done wrong and the times we have failed to act as we should and we ask for your forgiveness.

We pray for help to turn away from all that is wrong in the way that we live, to turn again towards you.

We thank you that you accept, embrace and forgive us. Fill us, we pray, with your Holy Spirit, focus our hearts on you and empower us in all we do.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Reflection and Prayer © 2021 Ann Caffyn.
Image freely available online.

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