Daily Devotion 31 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.

Proverbs 15:1-5 ‘Words, Words, Words’

1 A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
2 The tongue of the wise dispenses knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
keeping watch on the evil and the good.
4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
5 A fool despises a parent’s instruction,
but the one who heeds admonition is prudent.

I confess that sometimes I struggle to keep up with the speed at which developments are taking place in the world of communications. I say ‘confess’, because I spent twelve years teaching history to 13-19 year olds and was ordained in 1984 as a Methodist minister – so all my life I’ve been involved in communication. I possess over 3000 books and have written a couple, along with thousands of sermons, articles, book reviews and so on. In the musical My Fair Lady, Eliza sings: “Words, words, words, first from him, now from you – is that all you blighters can do?” And I suppose, because words have been my ‘business’ as it were, for so long, I am acutely conscious of their importance.

Along with many of you reading this, I text, use email, ‘face-time’ and ‘WhatsApp’, have learned how to ‘Zoom’ and even to record video-clips. I’ve even discovered ‘emoticons’ (short for ‘emotion icon’ – see left) which are supposed to be a time-saving way of expressing feelings in written form. However, I’ve not ventured into Twitter territory or some of the other forms of social media that have proliferated.

In recent times we have become wary of ‘fake news’ and now even treat official announcements with care, and rightly so. Therefore, as Christians it is important, not just to find new forms of words to express our beliefs and to make faith more meaningful, but to be loving and sensitive, and also to the mean the words which we say.

So when we say “God bless you”, we believe, don’t we, that as Christ’s hands and feet, we have to be the agents of his blessing. And if, when we pray for others (and ourselves) we are praying to a God who is the Word made flesh, whose love was embodied in Jesus – then we really must believe and expect the God’s Spirit to work within us.

Prayer:

Gracious God, open our ears to hear the words of wisdom and love that you speak to us –
then guide our speech, so that our words may comfort, strengthen and encourage others.
‘Lord, speak to me, that I may speak in living echoes of thy tone’
           (Frances Ridley Havergal H&P 553)
We pray this in the name of Christ our Lord. AMEN.

Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Barrie Tabraham.
Images freely available online.

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