(Devotion by Graeme Harrison)
Prayer: Lord, open the eyes of our heart that we may see you clearly and praise you, and that we may see ourselves through your eyes and be thankful.
Our reading picks up a theme from Jesus’ preaching that is repeated over and over again in the Gospel According to Matthew. A theme that will help us navigate the time we now live in. Can you pick it?
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Jesus (Mt 7 NIV)
The house is you. It is where you live including our body. In life this ‘house’ can be a home filled with peace that brings blessing to others. But if this house is allowed to run down then you won’t have another one to move in to. Jesus continually warns people against poor decisions in life “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Mt 16:26
Does Jesus tell us what will help us keep our house/self in good shape. He does. The one who “hears these words of mine and puts them into practice”. Jesus words bring about well-being in ourselves and in others. It is precisely in the difficult time of testing “the storm” that we must decide whether to live out the words of Jesus or abandon them in anxiety and panic.
We are in the midst of one of these storms right now. Will we be loving as Jesus commanded or look at everyone with the eyes of suspicion? It is right to cut ourselves off from all physical contact and to keep social distancing. If this is an act of love for the sake of others we maintain our house/self and our sense of integrity- of being true to ourselves and our God. If we do the same action merely out of fear and anxiety then we damage our house/self. Jesus’ words bring life and light into all our interactions in this strange environment we now live in. Trust in him
In a time of social distancing, I have never been so proud of our church as everyone has rallied together over the last week to make sure our church family will be cared for now and into the future. People are realising that we will still now to worship and receive spiritual encouragement even if worship services are closed. Pastoral carers are committing to maintain phone contact in the months ahead. We are going to work on livestreaming worship and developing online ways of meeting. In every case love has been the motivation. The “storm” is battering at the house but it will stand because of those who “hear these words of mine and puts them into practice”.
May your foundations go down deep into the “rock” Jesus Christ. May you find life in this strange time. May Christ keep your ‘house’/self a place of peace and blessing to others.
Prayer: Thank you God that we have your words to sustain us and to guide us. We pray for all those who struggle not just with social distancing but with social isolation. May you be present there. May you open our eyes and help us to be the voice and love of Christ where we can. Amen
(Look for more devotions on our website over the weeks ahead)