Daily Devotion 26 May 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.

Galatians 5:22-26 ‘Keeping in Step with the Spirit’

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy, peace,
forbearance, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.
Against such things there is no law.
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus
have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Whit-Sunday used to be so different when we first came to Eastbourne – we’d have our morning service, then all the churches of the town would meet up in the town centre for the Pentecost Procession to the Western Lawns, where the ministers took it in turn to lead a united service – later it moved to the Bandstand. It was a great day out, with the Salvation Army band leading and a long procession of the churches marching behind. Our problem with the marching was that, forming up in alphabetical order, we URCs came right at the back and we couldn’t hear the band, so we couldn’t keep in step, we shuffled along.

Nothing keeps you in step like a band. I remember pass-out parades in the Air Force. The lads who’d graduated would show their paces as the Central Band played Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines. Then they’d change into Slow March, the band would play Auld Lang Syne and as the graduating flight reached the centre of the parade ground the Red Arrows came over in formation; you could see the boys and girls swell with pride, and swing their arms higher, marching proudly and keeping in step.

I think that taught me something about Esprit de Corps. I’d be hard put to define Esprit de Corps but I’ve seen it get into people and change them. Just as I find it hard to understand and define God’s Spirit at Pentecost. But the people who wrote the Bible didn’t look for a definition, they tried to put into words the wonderful new life they were experiencing.

What I want is that we won’t spend our time debating the issue but get to know for ourselves the change God’s Spirit makes to people’s lives – daily guidance, daily strength – ordinary people made extraordinary, able to face what before would have terrified them, strength to live right, strength to grow, strength to serve God and the world; and enthusiasm. The word ‘enthusiasm’ means much more than getting excited about something, ‘en theos’ literally means ‘being filled with God.’ It’s having right within you the highest life and most sustaining and positive energy.

So let’s pray that we may be open to the Spirit of God – and as the old saying goes:

Work like you don’t need the money.
Love like you’ve never been hurt.
Dance like nobody’s watching.
Sing like nobody’s listening.
Live like it’s heaven on Earth.

Prayer:

Generous God, we ask that we may be strengthened to serve you better.
To this end let us feel the power of your Spirit within us,
renewing us and filling us with a fresh enthusiasm. Amen.

Reflection and Prayer © 2021 Howard John.
Image 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