URC Daily Devotion 1st May 2019

So they watched him and sent spies who pretended to be honest, in order to trap him by what he said, so as to hand him over to the jurisdiction and authority of the governor.  So they asked him, ‘Teacher, we know that you are right in what you say and teach, and you show deference to no one, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’  But he perceived their craftiness and said to them, ‘Show me a denarius. Whose head and whose title does it bear?’ They said, ‘The emperor’s.’ He said to them, ‘Then give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’  And they were not able in the presence of the people to trap him by what he said; and being amazed by his answer, they became silent.
Reflection
They watched him – the “they” being the scribes and chief priests – whilst they sent spies, first to flatter and then to ask questions. Jesus, of course, had another audience, for the people were following this rabbi who promised new ways of living and an end to the misery of occupation and oppression.

The spies had been carefully chosen, people able to seem plausible, to ask questions which looked as though they had confidence in Jesus’ teaching whilst at the same time having the intention of turning the adoring crowds against him.
The question seemed simple enough, we might say deceptively simple and the answer was quite clear even if not the one the spies expected. In both the question and the answer are layers of possibilities. There were issues here of political and religious power struggles and like many questions then and now, the important thing was to determine which were the central issues.

In our Statement of Nature Faith and Order we declare “In the things which affect obedience to God the Church is not subordinate to the state but must serve the Lord Jesus Christ …… “. But it isn’t as easy as two tick lists headed, loyalty to God and loyalty to Caesar.

There are decisions, priorities and loyalties in there which require us to examine our response to any of the complex issues of our day, homelessness, Universal Credit, violence, to name but a few. If we observe what Jesus did in these circumstances, we find he understood the hidden agenda, and identified the central issue.

In the complex world in which we live, our prayer must be for wisdom to spot the “spies” who will flatter and then undermine us, and for discernment to judge what is at stake in any given situation.

Compassionate God,
in a world in which it seems
as though nothing is simple
we pray for wisdom to recognise
the messages we can trust
for discernment
to understand the situation
and for commitment
to act in accordance with the values
of justice and peace
demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen

Today’s Writer

Val Morrison, Hall Gate, Doncaster. Former Moderator of General Assembly

Bible Version

 

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved

URC Daily Devotion 30th April 2019

Frank Sinatra is one of the 20th Century’s most celebrated artists. Famously, Sinatra popularised the song “My Way” in 1969 which became an anthem for individualism in Western culture:

I’ve lived a life that’s full
I’ve traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

This is a song for the road, seemingly inverting Jesus’ own journey metaphors, asserting the individual’s right to self-determination and choice.

Today we find Jesus crashing into such mind-sets. Individual autonomy is nothing new, and we meet Jesus clashing with a group of religious heavies who believe in the right to flex their spiritual muscles as they see fit.

Jesus’ defense is rooted in his identity as the Son of God, the culmination in a series of prophets God had sent to call the tenants of Israel to account.

The Temple leaders tried to trap Jesus, demonstrating their belief that they would have the last word. Jesus’ response – that he is the “cornerstone” which held the ultimate authority – confounded them to plot a murderous response.

Likewise, we too can mistakenly fall into the fallacy that we have the last word. We desire to go our own way in life. A misinformed response could warp the pilgrim life – the road that Jesus calls us to. It’s a journey of tough adventure, but one where we are seeking to follow Him. When we start asserting our own rights, we risk going off route.

We are invited to travel with Jesus, being comforted and guided by the Prince of Peace. He has the ability to up-end any life which asserts the right of individual autonomy. In love, he invites us to take the pilgrim  which celebrates journeying in companionship with fellow pilgrims.

URC Daily Devotion 29th April 2019

One day, as he was teaching the people in the temple and telling the good news, the chief priests and the scribes came with the elders  and said to him, ‘Tell us, by what authority are you doing these things? Who is it who gave you this authority?’ He answered them, ‘I will also ask you a question, and you tell me:  Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?’ They discussed it with one another, saying, ‘If we say, “From heaven”, he will say, “Why did you not believe him?”  But if we say, “Of human origin”, all the people will stone us; for they are convinced that John was a prophet.’ So they answered that they did not know where it came from. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.’
Reflection
I’ve recently started watching a YouTuber called Bunny. Bunny has two channels and lots of other social media, and she primarily does the following: makeup tutorials, makeup “swatches”, testing of children’s toys for value for money/entertainment, unboxing mystery boxes/packages/blind boxes/blind bags…now if I’m talking a language that is just words, I promise you can Google the terms for clarity.  

You are probably wondering where we are going and what does a Texan named Bunny have to do with Jesus teaching in the Temple, well it’s like this: the first thing that endeared Bunny and her YouTube channels to me was the fact that she NEVER swears and she finds cool words to express her emotions. One of these words is “Sassy”, if you don’t know what sassy is, the dictionary definition is: “lively, bold, and full of spirit, cheeky”.  

Now when I read this passage where Jesus is basically calling the Pharisees out, in my mind I imagine him being very sassy, he has had enough of the Pharisees being all letter of the Law but not genuine followers and he isn’t going to take their nonsense. The Pharisees realise that Jesus’ sassiness has basically backed them into a corner and they won’t win either way so they fake an answer which also bites them because Jesus responds with more sassiness and tells them he won’t answer their question.

Growing up being cheeky was not an attribute that was praised in my family, but sometimes, you have to be sassy because it is the only way to diffuse situations that are heading towards conflict, I am aware that this can aggravate a situation, but sometimes it’s worth taking the risk. As church, I think we sometimes get ourselves worked into knots and conflict when if someone had taken the risk and been sassy the situation may never have become so tense. So I dare you, be Sassy.

Creator God
It is good to be reminded
that you created us to be
people of liveliness, fun and joy.
Give us courage to be cheeky,
fun and sassy;
to lighten moods and spirits
of those we encounter,
recognising that we often do not know what people are going through.  
Amen.

Today’s Writer

Kirsty-Ann Mabbott, CRCW

Bible Version

 

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved

URC Daily Devotion 28th April 2019

1 O LORD, the God of vengeance,
O righteous God, shine forth!
2 Arise, condemn the haughty,
O Judge of all the earth.

3 How long will evildoers,
O LORD, be jubilant?
4 They pour out wicked boasting;
their words are arrogant.

5 O LORD, they crush your people,
oppress your heritage;
6 The widow, stranger, orphan
they murder in their rage.

7 They say, “God does not notice;
the LORD has closed his eyes.”
8 Take heed, you senseless people;
fools, when will you be wise?

9 Do you think the Creator,
who gave mankind the ear
And made the eye for seeing,
can neither see nor hear?

10 Does he who guides the nations
not punish them for wrong?
To him who gives instruction
does knowledge not belong?

11 All human thoughts are futile;
to you, LORD, they are known.
12 You bless those with correction
to whom your law is shown.

13 In troubled times you grant them
relief from their distress,
Until a pit is opened
to punish wickedness.

14 The LORD will not abandon
the folk who are his own;
His heritage, his chosen,
he never will disown.

15 For justice will be founded
once more on righteousness,
And all right-hearted people
approval will express.

16 Who will arise to help me
against the wicked one?
Who will stand up to aid me
when other help has gone?

17 Unless the LORD had helped me,
I’d soon have passed away
To dwell in death’s dark silence
far from the light of day.

18 When I said, “LORD, I’m slipping,”
your love came to my aid;
19 Your help gave joy and comfort
when I was so afraid.

20 Can God accept a tyrant
who issues harsh decrees,
And brings upon his subjects
oppressive miseries?

21 Against the righteous people
the evildoers plot;
To execute the guiltless,
such is their wicked thought.

22 But as for me, my refuge
is in the LORD Most High;
God has become my fortress
and on him I rely.

23 God will repay the wicked
the evil they have done;
The LORD our God will surely
destroy them every one.

You can hear this sung to the tune Coleshill here.

URC Daily Devotion Easter Saturday 2019

As they were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately.  So he said, ‘A nobleman went to a distant country to get royal power for himself and then return. He summoned ten of his slaves, and gave them ten pounds, and said to them, “Do business with these until I come back.”  But the citizens of his country hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, “We do not want this man to rule over us.” When he returned, having received royal power, he ordered these slaves, to whom he had given the money, to be summoned so that he might find out what they had gained by trading.  The first came forward and said, “Lord, your pound has made ten more pounds.” He said to him, “Well done, good slave! Because you have been trustworthy in a very small thing, take charge of ten cities.” Then the second came, saying, “Lord, your pound has made five pounds.” He said to him, “And you, rule over five cities.”  Then the other came, saying, “Lord, here is your pound. I wrapped it up in a piece of cloth, for I was afraid of you, because you are a harsh man; you take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.” He said to him, “I will judge you by your own words, you wicked slave! You knew, did you, that I was a harsh man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow?  Why then did you not put my money into the bank? Then when I returned, I could have collected it with interest.” He said to the bystanders, “Take the pound from him and give it to the one who has ten pounds.” (And they said to him, “Lord, he has ten pounds!”) “I tell you, to all those who have, more will be given; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and slaughter them in my presence.”’
Reflection
When ordaining a new Elder in a local church recently I used this parable as the Gospel reading (the version in Matthew is one of the readings recommended in the URC Worship Book).  At first glance, this parable seems to urge us to use our skills, capabilities and experiences to further God’s kingdom on earth. This is a useful and often-cited explanation for this parable.  The trite saying, ‘use it or lose’ comes to mind to reinforce the message that we all have God-given gifts and talents the we are duty bound to exploit for God’s purposes.

In preparation for the service of ordination and induction I studied all the recommended readings and was struck by a number of recurring themes, such as, humility, service and sheep-tending.  Considering these themes gave me a different slant on the parable. While building up our own ‘wealth of talent’ (for God’s purposes, not ours) is important, what seemed even more important (for those in any form of leadership roles) was building up the wealth of talent in the ‘flock’.  Tend my flock we are told. This parable points out to all Elders, old or new, that we are to use our skills and capabilities to develop and encourage those around us. To enable others to become more talented and more fruitful. For Elders (and other leaders), this parable is not just about developing our God-given skills, it is about developing the wealth of talent in the whole Christian community.

Lord, we thank you for the wealth of gifts you have showered on your children, and continue to do so.

We are grateful that we see your servants use these gifts day by day to further your kingdom.

I pray that through your grace you will continue to inspire all in leadership roles to nurture those around them, giving them the skills and confidence to do even more in your name.

Amen

Today’s Writer

Alan Yates is the Immediate Past Moderator of General Assembly and an Elder in Trinity URC, High Wycombe.

Bible Version

 

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved

URC Daily Devotion Easter Friday 2019

He entered Jericho and was passing through it.  A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax-collector and was rich.  He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycomore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.’  So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, ‘He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.’ Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.’  Then Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.’
Reflection
The URC isn’t the type of church that dwells overly on sin – though I suspect some of our forebears were more exercised by personal sin than many contemporary Christians are.  Some of those who have gone before us would have grumbled if the minister was seen going to a house of a notorious sinner so we shouldn’t be too harsh on those in today’s passage.  

Zacchaeus’ encounter with Jesus changed his life.  This was not only a spiritual experience but a conversion that cost him dear – he gave half his possessions to the poor and paid back four times what he had gained through fraud.  Zacchaeus’ radical repentance is a response to Jesus’ radical refusal to judge.

I wonder what the contemporary equivalent would be.  This is more than being radically inclusive, more than singing “All are welcome” more than congratulating ourselves on how progressive we are.  Jesus took the risk by going from what was comfortable to what was provocative. He went to Zacchaeus – the chief tax collector of the hated Roman occupiers.  Jesus took the risk of being seen with a collaborator and that risk paid off. What risks are we prepared to take in our lives for the sake of the Kingdom?

Lord Jesus,
friend of prostitutes and tax collectors,
irritant of the holy,
curse of the self righteous,
bless us with your courage,
drive us out to unlikely places
and uncouth people
that we may be heralds of your Gospel.
Amen.

Today’s Writer

The Rev’d Andy Braunston is a minister in the Synod of Scotland’s Southside Cluster serving churches in Barrhead, Shawlands and Stewarton.  

Bible Version

 

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved

URC Daily Devotion Easter Thursday 2019

Then he took the twelve aside and said to them, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be handed over to the Gentiles; and he will be mocked and insulted and spat upon. After they have flogged him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise again.’  But they understood nothing about all these things; in fact, what he said was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said. As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.’ Then he shouted, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’  Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ He said, ‘Lord, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God.
Reflection
For the third and last time, Jesus spells out to the disciples what they can expect when they reach Jerusalem.  He speaks with a deep sense of commitment. It is almost as if he himself were the suffering servant evoked by the prophet Isaiah.  He could scarcely be more explicit. He must be crucified before he is glorified as the risen Christ. But the disciples cannot understand.  What Jesus says to them will not make sense till after the resurrection. For the moment, uncomprehending, they fade into the background.
And now we have a glimpse of the fulfilment of God’s purposes.  As Jesus carries on to Jericho, he passes a wayside beggar. We don’t know the man’s name.  He is blind. He is aware of a throng of people going by, senses that something is up, hears someone says: “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by”.  The solemnity of the moment is not lost on him. In a flash of revelation, he cries out to Jesus, hails him as Son of David, and asks not for alms, but for mercy.  This is the time he has been waiting for, the time when a Davidic king would bring healing to the blind, the lame and the deaf. Again and again, the blind man calls out.  Jesus stops, commands bystanders to bring the man forward, and restores his sight with a word. It is a sign. Through Jesus Christ, God is bringing healing, joy and hope to the world.  And the man? he follows Jesus, glorifying God, and all the people sing Hosanna!

As we followers of our risen Lord sit with the beggar, in a world mired in suffering and sin, are we not called to live and speak in such a way as to bring ever nearer God’s rule of righteousness and peace?  And are we not also called to rejoice at signs of the fulfilment of our hopes?

Ever living and ever loving God,
Give me grace so to follow
in the steps of Jesus
that I may see all things
in the light of your purposes.
So may I rejoice today in your worship
and find gladness in singing your praises.

Amen

Today’s Writer

The Rev’d Fleur Houston is a retired minister and member of Macclesfield and Bollington URC

Bible Version

 

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved

URC Daily Devotion Easter Wednesday 2019

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy;  and they were continually in the temple blessing God.
Reflection
What a great ending to his story, as Luke tells us Jesus’ last journey began at Bethany and ended in heaven. Why Bethany? Clearly, a special place for Jesus, it is thought a community of Galilee folk lived there, home from home for Jesus, as they spoke his dialect, and shared stories of the north. Bethany has been identified as a centre for healing, sufficient distance from the ‘holy’ city – Simon the Leper lived there. How closely Jesus identified with people struggling with ill-health and handicap, with the terrible poverty and exclusion this caused. An Essene hospice was in Bethany, the last place to rest for pilgrims on their way to the temple, just as Jesus rested there. Profoundly, from Bethany Jesus began his last entry into Jerusalem, so now, his return marks a redemption of that journey of sacrifice and death to hell itself, into a journey of freedom and joy to heaven itself.

One last connection – Jesus’ friends lived there, Mary, Martha, Lazarus. I see him looking from a distance at their home, just making sure they were well, before he left this final time. Like many, I struggle with goodbyes, which only become good experiences, when I know those I am leaving will be well, and they can let me go, knowing we are safe in God’s hands. A helpful description of heaven, knowing all is well because we are all safe in the hands of God, hands that ‘flung stars into space to cruel nails surrendered’ (Kendrick). At Ascension they come together in Jesus, human, divine, earth and heaven. Luke began his story with everyone praising God, young and old, shepherds and angels! No wonder the story ends with everyone invited to join the praise! But Luke will write again, for what goes up must come down – God has not deserted us, the Holy Spirit is coming!

Lord Jesus, we praise you for
your journey into the fullness of God,
shares God’s presence with us all;
your humanity and divinity are one,
shares that closeness to God with us all;
your being set free from the struggle of human life
shares that peace and love with us all.
For you promised –
“Lo! I am with you always
even to the very end of time.”

Today’s Writer

The Rev’d Kevin Watson, Moderator of the Yorkshire Synod

Bible Version

 

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved

URC Daily Devotion Easter Tuesday 2019

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost.  He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’  And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’  Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’
Reflection
I guess one of the biggest challenges for the disciples was the need to ‘see’ the risen Christ. Hearsay was not enough. Instead, there needed to be sight of the risen Christ. The Corpus Christi was something that needed to be experienced in person. He needed to be seen to be believed – even eating fish to prove it.

In the shadow of Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection Feast fades, children return to school and the normality of our lives begins to return. We return to our daily jobs and routines, which seem a million miles from the celebration of new life at Easter. The idea of seeing the risen Christ seems as far away from us now as the idea did to those first disciples.

Today we reflect the Body of Christ through the Church – the body of believers gathered around the cradle, cross and campfire. But, unlike those disciples, we cannot encounter the risen Christ in the bodily sense, with once-pierced hands reaching out towards us, but we can experience the risen Christ in other ways, both in and out of the Church: through our reading and study of Scripture; through our relationship of prayer and discernment; and through our engagement with the broken, hurt, damaged, remorseful, neglected and ostracised in the world.

As our ‘normal’ routines return, we can remember that the risen Christ encounters us in many ways, seen and unseen. And yet our Easter experience of the risen Christ gives us the duty to believe and to respond: to go out from our places of worship – our own Jerusalems – and witness to what we have seen and what we know of the promise of the resurrection. For when we do that, we can let others see the risen Christ alive in our lives and in the Church. 

Risen Christ
in the ways that we encounter you,
in scripture, prayer and the other,
help us believe in all that you promise
and inspire us to share your good news
in word and deed. Amen

Today’s Writer

The Rev’d Dr Matthew Prevett is the Trust Secretary for the Yorkshire Synod.

Bible Version

 

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved

URC Daily Devotion Easter Monday 2019

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem,  and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.  And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?’  He asked them, ‘What things?’ They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place.  Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.’ Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared!  Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on.  But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them.  When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.  They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together.  They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Reflection
It was the era of “How many roads must a man walk down” when I first realised you didn’t have to “go forward” at a Billy Graham convention to declare your faith, as my Sunday school teacher had, because there were many other roads. (Later, I realised the answer is “42”. With apologies to those who don’t know that joke.) For one man, possibly many, the answer was Jericho road, or maybe “up a tree”, for another it was Damascus road while for others it was the “road” rowed across a lake.   For Mary, maybe for many, it was a voice saying her name – that moment of contact with someone concentrating solely on you.

Afterwards, there is that moment of “how did I not know”, which becomes the story you always tell.  Followed by the relief when you realise others have similar moments of recognition. You, I, am not the only one who somehow failed to recognise someone so obvious until s/he had to use a well known gesture, phrase or look.  In modern Britain it’s easy to think you might be the only one, ever, to become Christian, and the relief of meeting others who think the same is thrilling. Telling the story is how we discover others of faith and share it with those who have yet to recognise a faith.  

How many times had the followers of Jesus watched and listened as Jesus shared a meal, saying the familiar berakah “Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, …”.  Something they had always shared, in many places, now becomes that point of information and recognition. In the meal by which we recognise Christians round the world, whatever the language, sharing bread and wine has the same effect, whatever road we have taken.  

Blessed are you, Lord our God,
who gives to each the attention
that allows everyone
to walk the way to faith.
Thanks be to you, who gives us times when we can tell our story of faith,
that others may hear and know
that you are the Lord our God,
Lord and father to all.  
Blessed be God forever.

Today’s Writer

The Rev’d Ruth Browning, Retired minister and member of Thornbury URC

Bible Version

 

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved