Daily Devotion 29 August 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.

1 John 4: 7-8, 19-21 ‘God is Love’

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God.  8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.  19 We love because God first loved us. 20 If we say we love God, but hate others, we are liars. For we cannot love God, whom we have not seen, if we do not love others, whom we have seen. 21 The command that Christ has given us is this: whoever loves God must love others also.

Martin Rinkart was a Lutheran pastor in the walled city of Eilenberg, Germany, during the Thirty Years War. He helped with refugees and stayed when other pastors died or fled. When the city was overrun by the armies of the Austrians and Swedes, the latter demanded a heavy levy and Martin Rinkart pleaded in vain for the people not to have to pay it. So he called to his friends to pray and sing on their knees. The general of the occupation army was so moved that he cut the levy to a twentieth of the original sum. The hymn below began as a family grace and was sung as a national thanksgiving for the end of the war.

There are many who show the love of God to the increasing numbers of refugees and asylum seekers who are crossing the English Channel in flimsy dingys and boats. Thank goodness for the authorities, charities and churches that provide immediate food, shelter and help to arrange accommodation and plans for the future. Often these people have members of their family in the UK. Jesus himself, of course, was a refugee, taken from Israel to Egypt to escape from Herod and I wonder how he and his parents were treated? I admit that I have frequently turned the other way from the person on the street who is not necessarily wanting money, but perhaps just someone with whom to talk or to listen. Perhaps I am late, tired, etc, etc, the excuses are there. I then think what if it was me!

In his first letter, John brought me up sharp at 4:7 some of which is quoted above, giving a clear picture of who God was, and is, and will be, and how I should reflect him in my life. Verse 10 says “This is what Love is: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins our forgiven” reminds me of the opening of his gospel, the Word of Life, such beautiful poetry that tugs at me once again.

Now thank we all our God, with hearts and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things have done, in whom his world rejoices;
Who from our mother’s arms hath blessed us on our way,
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

Prayer:

O Lord we pray for all those who have no home to call their own.
We pray for the gangs that exploit them for their own gain,
that they may see the error of their ways.
We pray for the governments around the world as they seek a humanitarian solution.
Help us, show us, move us, in a quest as individuals and as a church,
to welcome all as a friend and neighbour.
In the name of our loving Lord Jesus we ask it. Amen.

Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Matthew Earl.
Images freely available online.

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