Weekly Devotional Material – 24 May 2020

Gathering Words

In a shutdown-world as long-lost sights, sounds and scents come again .. the  Himalayas or smog-free Los Angeles, the sound of birds in our gardens, or the Scents from flowers and shrubs .. all exciting comment and imagination, we are invited to ‘catch the dream’ and wonder what the future might hold post-shutdown.

Or, sadly, will it be the same old same old? Jesus had a Godly view. We need it too.

 Gathering Prayer

Mighty God, I come in humility to worship you.
Caring God, I bring to you my own and the world’s concerns for the future.
Glorious God, I exalt your holy name.
United with all your people – make us one in you, that your love may strengthen and empower me now and all your people.

Amen

Gospel Reading: Jn 17: 1 - 11 Please read for yourself now.

Reflection

It is a strange dichotomy that whilst the government and all the ministers of state are ‘clapping for the NHS’ they are at the same time legislating to prevent “unskilled” workers from coming to the UK – to work as carers, hospital cleaners and fruit pickers.

Jesus’ prayer for those he knew and loved is touching in the extreme and we rightly draw comfort from it. Yet even as we use those words, we need to be acutely aware that words don’t amount to actions. That clapping doesn’t amount to dignity, work and respect.

We, as Christians, rely on the Holy Spirit to give credence to our words and prayers, but only where we cannot. Jesus worked tirelessly for those he loved and those whom he recognised as part of God’s kingdom, even to the extent of allowing his mind to be changed about those encompassed by God’s love and care.

May we continue to show God’s all-embracing unconditional love for all people.

Prayers of the People

Glorious God, even as I experience lockdown isolation show me and all people new ways to be church. I know that you will take my concerns and joys and work with them for the sake of your kingdom – the kingdom of those in need, those suffering hardship or illness, those still deeply concerned for their safety or the health of family and those they serve, and those suffering storm or flood.

I give thanks for those who continue to work providing vital public services, assistance to those unable to provide for themselves, those working additional hours, those made redundant or those with drastically reduced income, and those continuing in shielding in order to not catch C-19.

I give thanks for the local church and hold up to you those tasked with its maintenance and on-going vitality. May my continued financial contributions enable your kingdom still to grow and your people to thrive.

Loving God, be with my family, friends and neighbours as I name each one for whom I’m concerned to you now … … … … … ….

Hear my prayers, as it is in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

Blessing

Now as I finish and bless your name bless me, Lord God, in your name, in Jesus’ name, and through the Holy Spirit.  Amen and Amen