Daily Devotion 27 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.

Ephesians 5:15-20 ‘Being Filled with the Spirit’

15 Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.  Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As the earthly life of Jesus drew towards its end, he spoke to the disciples’ fears and concerns. How they must have puzzled over his statement about it being a good thing that he was leaving them because only then could he return in the Spirit and be with them forever. He spoke of his impending death, but promised that he would come back to be with them wherever they were. As a human he was limited geographically – when he returned in Spirit all those limitations were swept away. Moreover, he said that because he would be alive, they too would live. That promise of Jesus still stands. His Spirit is always available to all who accept his Lordship. He continues to be with us, guiding, directing our lives as we allow him access. Paul, in the passage above, calls on his readers to ‘be filled’ with the Spirit who changes us, and teaches more of God’s purpose for us as we seek his guidance.

‘Be filled’? Really? Surely we all have some experience of God’s presence in our lives, but filled? Howard’s Devotion yesterday reminded us of Galatians 5 and Paul’s list of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, fidelity, gentleness and self-control as fruits of the Spirit living within lives dedicated to God. We cannot see electricity, but know it’s effects. Illuminating the darkness. Light, heat at the flick of a switch. Similarly, God’s Spirit can reverse of all the desires of our lower nature. Self-absorption is transformed into concern for those around us. Those in need that we may be able to help personally, and those throughout the world who so often lack even the basic necessities of life.

This letter is believed to have been addressed to not only the Christians in Ephesus, but to the various congregations with whom the early evangelists were engaged. In this passage they are warned not to be tempted to indulge in the general debauchery of the pagans among whom they lived. We too, in the present-day need beware of adopting standards below those demanded of those called to follow Christ. “Be filled with the Spirit”, says Paul. If Christ lives within us, he guides us into more worthwhile ways of being. The obsession with material possessions which seem to dominate so many lives gives way to more humanitarian concerns. Selfish ambitions are replaced by a desire to give thanks and praise for those things which are available to all.

Prayer:
from H&P 326 by Brian Wren

May his Spirit fill our praise, guide our thoughts and change our ways:
God in Christ has come to stay, we can see his power today. Amen.

Reflection © 2021 Hazel Blake.
Hymn words Words: © 1969, 1995, Stainer & Bell Ltd, 23 Gruneisen Road, London N3 1DZ.
Image freely available online.

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All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356