Daily Devotion 31 October 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.

Acts 2: 1-4 ‘The Surprise of the Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost’

1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

One day, some weeks ago, I answered the door, and a large box was handed to me. When opened it revealed a beautiful spray of mixed flowers – a lovely surprise from relatives in Essex!

Many people in the bible received surprises. Early in the gospels, we read of Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth being greatly surprised to learn that Elizabeth, who was well past child-bearing age, was pregnant. She was to bear a son who would be the forerunner of Jesus, God’s promised Messiah. Her cousin Mary, engaged to Joseph, had the surprise of her life when she learned that she was to be the mother of Jesus “who would be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:32). It was also surprising that Jesus grew up in despised Nazareth – “Can any good come out of Nazareth?” asked Nathanael when Philip excitedly told him about Jesus (John 1:46). Could he be the promised Messiah?

A Samaritan woman was surprised when Jesus requested a drink – the Jews and Samaritans had no time for each other (John 4).

A wedding party must have been greatly surprised when not only was water changed into finest wine, but surely the quantity exceeded anything Mary was expecting when she asked for Jesus’ help in an embarrassing situation (John 2).

Many more examples are recorded during Jesus’ ministry. But God had more! Having watched their beloved Master suffer and die, his friends had no idea of the surprise awaiting them on Easter morning! How could this be true? Yet days went by and they learned that he was really, truly with them. Weeks later came the amazing experience of Pentecost with the gift of God’s Holy Spirit. And so it went on as time and time again God revealed more and more surprises. Saul, persecuting the early followers of Jesus was transformed into Paul the great apostle after a surprising encounter on the Damascus road.

Today God still surprises people in every place as they become aware of his continuing presence in the world. Let’s never doubt that our God is always present in our history, now, and that he will continue to surprise us – for he is amazing God!

Prayer:

Amazing God of surprises, renew our faith and trust in you.
May we never doubt your power to control events in the world, and in our personal lives.
May we be ever aware of your presence and willing to comply with all you ask of us.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Hazel Blake.
Image freely available online.

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