“I Will Now Arise”

“I Will Now Arise”

Psalm 12:1-5 (NIV)

(Devotion by Vic Heyward)

For the director of music. According to sheminith. A psalm of David.

1 Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore;

those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.

2 Everyone lies to their neighbour;

they flatter with their lips

but harbor deception in their hearts.

3 May the Lord silence all flattering lips

and every boastful tongue—

4 those who say,

“By our tongues we will prevail;

our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?”

5 “Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,

I will now arise,” says the Lord.

“I will protect them from those who malign them.”

Today’s reflection is from the book; “Common Prayer; Liturgy for ordinary Radicals”

“In 1980 Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel and Jean Donovan were murdered by Officers of the Salvadoran military. Missionaries serving among the poor during El Salvador’s civil war, these women knew, as Ita Ford said “one who is committed to the poor must risk the same fate as the poor”. Their deaths effected the North American church deeply, galvanising opposition to US support for the Salvadoran government’s repression of its people.”

As we reflect on the hardship of the poor in today’s global community highlighted by the traumatic event in El Salvador in 1980, may we understand more deeply David’s Psalm. Ita Ford also commented the reason why so many people were prepared to make a stand at risk of death, was they found meaning to live, to sacrifice, to struggle, to seek justice even when confronted with death.

Our Father

Lord, there are times when witnessing another person’s commitment that I come to realise my own lack of faith. May you open my eyes to learn from the other, stranger, unlikely, those who do faith different from me. Hold me to account O Lord that I may be teachable and learn what it means to be committed to you. Amen

Closing Doxology

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;

May he guide you through the wilderness: protect you through the storm;

May he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;

May he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors

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Hungry?

Matthew 15:29-37 (NIV)

(Devotion by Vic Heyward)

Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand

29 Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. 30 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. 31 The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”

33 His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”

34 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.

“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”

35 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. 37 They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

A couple of thoughts to take away from today’s text

· Jesus had this wonderful way to meet people in the ordinary situations bring a message of hope, possibility and healing. To quote a lovely Irish Catholic reflection I read recently “He had compassion for people with the different hungers in their lives”. As Jesus did, he saw beyond the practical challenges of his disciples of finding food in an isolated location, who would have thought that the little they had would was enough for Jesus… God who meets us at our point of need and it’s enough!

· Something about seeing an opportunity not the problem. We so easily get caught in the small or little that we have and forget to offer it, forget that our Lord can do great things with what we have

· Our God is present here and now – what are you hungry for? Seek God to help you recognise it and act on it

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Philippians. Dwell on Goodness

Philippians. Dwell on Goodness

Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

PRAYER:

God our Father,

Gifts without measure flow from your goodness to bring us peace.

Our life is your gift,

Guide our life’s journey,

For only your love makes us whole.

The Roman Missal (Book of a Thousand Prayers)

Read:

Philippians 4:8-9. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

(Philippians 4:8-9 NIV)

Thought for the Day:

Paul is insisting that we look for the good in people; all people. He is putting it in the context of looking for good examples to model your own behaviour on. It is not just looking for positivity in the world so that you might feel better about life. No, it is one step further. It is about you becoming a positive influence for good in the world. How? Look at others and study their good qualities and what it is you admire about them. Then go and do likewise.

For many people this is much easier than trying to live out abstract ideals and making it up as you go. Studying human examples seems closer to home. Which is why Paul recommends it.

Have a try today. Who do you see before you today? What do you admire about them and why?

May the Spirit let you see God’s handiwork in others.

Photo by [Andrea Tummons](https://unsplash.com/@krewellah87?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText) on [Unsplash](https://unsplash.com/s/photos/kindness?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText)

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Philippians. Where is your Mind?

Philippians. Where is your Mind?

Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

PRAYER:

O God, you are both the light and the guide of those who put their trust in you.

Grant us in all our doubts and uncertainties the grace to ask what you would have us do;

The Spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices,

And that in your light we may see light;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

William Bright, C19th (Book of a Thousand Prayers)

Read:

Philippians 3:17-21 Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

17Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

(Philippians 3:17-21 NIV)

Thought for the Day:

Strangely, it is possible that when Paul is referring to “enemies of the cross” he is talking about some Church leaders like Jesus did in Mt 7:15-23. Paul mentions these people while he is talking about modelling the Christian lifestyle as a leader in the church. The conclusion we can draw from this is that what you actually live for and what you say you live for, can be two very different things. In your own life this can be so as well.

Take some time to reflect on what you actually get excited about in life. What does this reveal to you? The answer will bring joy and frustration. Bring both to God in a conversation.

Photo by [R.D. Smith](https://unsplash.com/@rd421?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText) on [Unsplash](https://unsplash.com/s/photos/excited-face?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText)

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Philippians. Pressing on

Philippians. Pressing on …

Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

PRAYER:

Christ our Guide,

stay with us on our pilgrimage through life:

When we falter, encourage us,

When we stumble, steady us,

And when we fall pick us up.

Help us to become, step by step, more truly ourselves,

And remind us that you have travelled this way before us.

Angela Ashwin (Book of a Thousand Prayers, p 69)

Read:

Philippians 3:7-9 Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

7But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 3:7-14 NIV)

Thought for the Day:

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize ...” What a way to experience the Christian life. Energy, struggle, persistence, and the prize that awaits. How Paul depicts his experience of Christian faith is invigorating. He knows where he is in life and he really knows where he wants to get to. Do you know what he is talking about?

Photo by [Maarten van den Heuvel](https://unsplash.com/@mvdheuvel?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText) on [Unsplash](https://unsplash.com/s/photos/run?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText)

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Philippians. What has Value to You?

Philippians. What has Value to You?

Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

PRAYER:

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;

his loving kindness endures forever.

I was hard pressed, and almost fell,

but the Lord helped me.

You are my God and I will praise you.

You are my God and I will extol you.

Psalm 118:1,13,28

Read:

Philippians 3:1-7 Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

1Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. 7But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.

(Philippians 3:1-7 NIV)

Thought for the Day:

Paul is obviously disgusted at a group of Jewish Christians who were teaching that nobody can be saved without being circumcised. It is a bit like those Pentecostal groups who taught that you weren’t a real Christian unless you spoke in tongues. It really upset Paul that people were undermining Christians’ simple confidence in Christ to save them. Paul is not being argumentative, rather, he is protecting those he loves from people who could really mess up their relationship with God. He is like a mother bear protecting her helpless cubs.

He showed what he really thought about the false teachers’ so-called “add ons” to faith by reminding them of how much of these valuable add ons in life he had. Then he showed how little he valued these same things as an example to the younger Christians to follow.

But the question for us is whether we are like Paul or those false teachers? Do we value Christ plus some extra thing to make us feel safe and at peace with God? What might an “add on” be in your life? Good deeds? Church attendance. Hanging out with only good people? Other ideas …

It is only by naming something that is wrong that we can begin to set it aside and be free of it. Then we find real peace as a gift from the One who love you.

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Philippians. Interests

Philippians. Interests

Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

PRAYER:

It is well and good, Lord, if all things change,

provided we are rooted in you.

If I go everywhere with you, my god,

everywhere things will happen for your sake: that is what I desire.

St John of the Cross (1542-1591)

Read:

Philippians 2:19-23 Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

19I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me.

(Philippians 2:19-23 NIV)

Thought for the Day:

What was this deep bond between Paul and Timothy? It is not friendship because the thing that they share is not about them, it is about Jesus. Paul notices that for most people who become Christ followers they still find it hard to get rid of the old habits of self-interest (or just the interests of close friends and family). The person who gives their whole life to look out for Jesus’ interests before all else is a rare person. And Paul sees this in Timothy. What softens his old heart is not that Timothy is looking out for Paul’s interests but that he is looking out for Jesus’ interests. The very thing that Paul has given his whole life to. In that sense they are kindred spirits.

It is almost a rule of thumb that more you love and serve Jesus, the closer you are to those with the same love and purpose in life.

How can you be more like Timothy and Paul?

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