Daily Devotion 28 April 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.

Psalm 46: 1-3, 7, 10 ‘God’s Defence of His People’

1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
10 ’Be still, and know that I am God!

After weeks of having our freedom curtailed, most of us are longing to see the day those restrictions are lifted. We are looking forward to being able to move about freely again, seeing family and friends and being able hold them close. Lockdown measures imposed to control the spread of Coronavirus are affecting everyone, some more than others.  Who could not be impressed by the efforts of Captain Tom Moore, who, nearing his 100th birthday has raised millions of pounds for the NHS by walking around his garden? He is an inspiration and has given us pause for thought in what is proving for many to be really difficult times. We’re all feeling to a greater or lesser degree our loss of freedom. We take for granted our right to go out, meet friends, share meals, worship. Now these freedoms are denied us, and we begin to understand how many in our world experience similar restrictions because their health, or other circumstances confine them to hospital or home, with little hope of life ever ‘getting back to normal’. Coronavirus means restrictions for us all, but these are temporary. One day, sooner or later, the majority of us will be able to return to our families, jobs, churches. There’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Almost 2000 years ago, Paul wrote to the Christians in Philippi when he was in prison. Despite his obvious sadness at being unable to see them, his letter is full of reassurance of his love and concern. He reminds them to be joyful, not to worry about anything, but to be thankful and earnest in their prayers, telling God of their problems and needs; that God will supply all their needs, and despite the restrictions placed upon him, he is content, whatever the circumstances may be. Paul believes in his heart that God is aware of our concerns, our fears for ourselves and loved ones; He is our never-failing source of comfort.  If we’ve ever had any music lessons, we’ll be aware that ‘forte’ means ‘strong’ and from that we know that comfort means, not so much consolation as strengthening.

Prayer:

by St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

Lord, you are the light of the minds who know you,
the life of the souls who love you,
and the strength of the souls who serve you.
Help us so to know you that we may truly love you,
so to love you that we may fully serve you,
whose service is perfect freedom.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Image from the Good News Bible © Annie Vallotton.
Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Hazel Blake.

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