Daily Devotion for Monday 17th June 2024

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Monday, 17 June 2024

Reflection

Someone stands before supermarket shelves stripped by panic buyers. Desperation and fear have worked their worse. Shared endurance has collapsed into survival of the fittest. I’m grabbing all I can for my needs. Even if I’m thinking about your needs, I’m not going to let them change me. It is a glimpse of the selfishness that can loiter within me.

The disciples seem pretty familiar with panic in the gospels. Whether facing the threatening storm or attempting to walk on water, Galilee becomes a venue for it. Maybe there’s an edge of it when they worry about feeding a big crowd with almost nothing. And, by the time Gethsemane and Golgotha draw close, panic takes them captive. 

I wonder when panic might become too near a neighbour for us? Is today arriving with panic somewhere in its train? I think of meetings I’ve shared in when something deep and difficult has settled into me as the scale of the challenges has loomed appallingly large. Panic has been a physical thing in me as much as a rush of thoughts; a gut-wrenching reality. Maybe there is news we’ve received, word of a medical condition or a relationship. Perhaps news is awaited. It might be about us or it might be about others. The panic hovers somewhere. Church life can launch into panic; number worries, money worries, building worries, ministry worries, mission worries. Faith doesn’t inoculate us against panicking, at least in my experience.

Where then to turn? Deuteronomy 31 has Moses handing over to Joshua. The word comes that God is reliably present in all circumstances, and that presence is protective and good. Panic rises in me, but it isn’t the only force at work: “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (v. 8).

Prayer

Jesus, I think of things that are hard for me today; decisions to make, tricky relationships, tough news, suffering friends, global agonies. There is plenty to unsettle me. Give me some good moments today, please. Let me know you. Let me feel you close. Protect me, and everyone I pray for. Fulfil your promises. Help me to help others if their days turn grim. Amen.

Today’s writer

The Revd Neil Thorogood is the minister of Trinity Henleaze and Thornbury URCs in the South Western Synod.

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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