URC Devotions

The Joseph Saga

Sun, 08/04/2018 - 18:00
96 The Joseph Saga View this email in your browser

The Joseph Saga

Dear <<First Name>>

I hope you found the recent series on the Titles of Jesus interesting and helpful in your daily journey of discipleship.

Our next series looks at the story of Joseph which has all the makings of a good saga!  We read of jealousy, human trafficking, sexual intrigue and false accusations, the rise to great powers and the horrendous results of famine as well as migration.  Between tomorrow and mid May we will be immersed in this story with breaks on Sundays for the Psalms.

Over the time the Devotions have been running we've had requests for versions that could be printed and given to people who don't have email.  We now provide a PDF document (which you will need the, free, programme Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to read and print) as a booklet.  These are sent out well in advance to allow people get get them printed and stapled so that they can be ready in good time.  If you'd like to receive these please sign up here.

If you know of people who would like to read and receive these Devotions do pass on an email and suggest they sign up via devotions.urc.org.uk
with every good wish

Andy

Andy Braunston
Coordinator, Daily Devotions from the URC Project

 

  

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URC Daily Devotion for Low Sunday by Nigel Uden

Sun, 08/04/2018 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion for Low Sunday by Nigel Uden Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward Share Tweet Forward

Psalm 42

1 As pants the deer for flowing streams,
So longs my soul, O God, for you.
2 I thirst for God, the living God;
When can I meet with God anew?

3 My tears have been my constant food
Both in the night and in the day,
While all day long insistently,
“Where is this God of yours?” they say.

4 As I pour out my soul in grief,
These things I do remember still:
How with the multitude I went
Up to God’s house on Zion hill.

In their procession I would lead
As we approached with cheerful song
And shouts of joy and thankfulness,
Rejoicing with the festive throng.

5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why are you so disturbed in me?
Trust God, for I will praise him yet;
My Saviour and my God is he.

6 My soul within me is depressed;
I therefore will recall you still
From Jordan’s land, from Hermon’s heights
And from the top of Mizar hill.

7 Deep calls to deep, as with a roar
Your waterfalls cascading roll.
Your waves and breakers fall on me;
They overwhelm my very soul.

8 By day the LORD directs his love;
His song remains with me at night—
A prayer to him who is my God,
My only source of life and light.

9 This I will say to God my Rock,
“Why have you so forgotten me?
Why must I go about in grief,
Downtrodden by the enemy?”

10 My bones in mortal agony
Are groaning, while my en’mies say,
“Wherever is this God of yours?”
They scoff at me throughout the day.

11 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why are you so disturbed in me?
Trust God, for I will praise him yet;
My Saviour and my God is he.
 


The tune Finnart is suggested for this Psalm - you can hear a Free Church of Scotland congregation sing it here.
Reflection After all the liturgical hijinks of Easter it is little wonder that today is called Low Sunday. Not all of us can remain forever on that peak of celebration.

In truth, feeling ‘low’ is an understatement for more and more people. Stress, depression and mental torment are significant and life-shaping for many. Experts think this may be accounted for by a greater willingness to speak of mental ill-health, by the world feeling more bewildering and tense, and by the far-reaching effects of this decade’s financial austerity.

Today’s Psalm feels so appropriate, for it finds the Psalmist at a pretty low ebb. She feels far from God: she yearns, she longs, she thirsts. She is so depressed that she’s unable to speak to God; the question, ‘how long will this go on?’ is asked ‘of no-one in particular and of anyone willing to listen’, as Patrick Woodhouse puts it.  Somehow, though, crying out in that way seems helpful. Just acknowledging the hell she is in sparks some memories – ancient encounters with God found in the history books, anecdotes of God’s light dispelling her own previous shadowlands. Those reminiscences nudge her thoughts toward God’s loving kindness. ‘Yes’, she seems to say, ‘there was a time when God was my Rock.’ Then, the black dog re-appears. ‘Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul?’ Yet the memories are enough to prompt the realisation that trusting in God might be hard but it’s her best hope.

If depression is part of life for us, or of the lives of our intimates, it may be we specially appreciate this Psalm. Could it be that it liberates us from the crippling fear that faith and depression must never dialogue with each other? Psalm 42 models for us an honest conversation, where telling it like it is – even if seemingly into thin air – begins to quench our thirsting for the living God.

Woodhouse suggests verse 9 has special power. ‘Deep speaks to deep’ intimates an enticing prospect that when we are at our lowest, we may be more open to the one who is the ground of our being. As Paul writes to the Corinthians, ‘when I am weak then I am strong.’ Is it that when we are at our worst, we have no defences left to erect between ourselves and God, and thus can gradually come to know again God’s reliably resurrected love, so broad and long, so high and deep?

Our generation’s readiness to be real about mental health lends to Psalm 42 a new power to speak to us and for us. May that auger well for the equilibrium of society and the resilience of our faith.
 
 

Prayer

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise God,
my help and my God.

Today's Writer

The Revd Nigel Uden is a minister in Cambridge

Bible Version

 
Sing Psalms! © Psalmody and Praise Committee, Free Church of Scotland, 15 North Bank St, Edinburgh, EH1 2LS
Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


 
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URC Daily Devotion for Easter Saturday by Nick Jones

Sat, 07/04/2018 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion for Easter Saturday by Nick Jones Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward

Revelation 1: 12-13

Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands I saw one like the Son of Man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash across his chest. Reflection

Titles of Jesus - Son of Man

Sometimes the small words matter in how we understand a section of scripture. Some translations of Revelation 1.13 refer to ‘one like a Son of Man’, while others say ‘one like THE Son of Man.’ This small change makes a surprising difference, and takes us to the heart of what this curious phrase means.

It first appears in the Hebrew Scriptures. In Ezekiel, the titular prophet is addressed by God as ‘Son of man’, which could alternatively be translated as ‘human’ - making a distinction between God and humanity. Then in the book of Daniel there’s an apocalyptic vision of ‘one like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven.’

Then things are different in the New Testament. The phrase has acquired a definite article - ‘the Son of Man’ - and is mainly used by Jesus to refer to himself. Is this telling us that Jesus is human, or that he is the Messiah? Somehow, used in a slightly different way, the same short phrase can mean both of these things – reminding of the paradox of Jesus being the Word made flesh.

In T.S. Eliot’s long and sometimes perplexing poem there’s a reference back to Ezekiel. A narrator addresses an unknown character as ‘Son of man’, and says they cannot answer a question because they ‘know only a heap of broken images’. Sometimes when we struggle with the Bible this is how we might feel; we only have a heap of images that we can’t fit together. Yet scripture gives us the language to begin to talk about God, however imperfectly. God can even speak to us in the gap between ‘a’ and ‘the’, and in one short phrase we see the two natures of Jesus brought together.
 

Prayer

Lord Jesus,
we praise you as ‘a son of man’,
a human being who lived with us
and shared our sorrows and our joys.
Yet we praise you too as ‘the son of man’,
our redeemer who died and rose again for us,
the son of God, the light of the world,
and we ask for that light to guide us
when it seems we see only broken images.
Amen.

Today's Writer

The Rev’d Nick Jones is minister of Heswall URC & St. George’s URC, Thornton Hough.

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
Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


 
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URC Daily Devotion for Easter Friday by Peter Meek

Fri, 06/04/2018 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion for Easter Friday by Peter Meek Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward

St Mark 1:11

“And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased”. Reflection

Titles of Jesus - Son of God

Mark wants us to know very clearly, and immediately,  why he is writing his Gospel which begins with a declaration that Jesus is the Son of God and, within a few lines, recounts Jesus’ baptism.  The stories in Matthew and Luke are almost identical.  

The question of Jesus’ identity has always been paramount, because from it flows the authority to say and do what he did.   Mark explores Jesus’ authority, as well, in chapter 1,  and this is no coincidence.

This declaration is political dynamite.   It was a threat to Rome; only Caesar was declared “ Son of God’ and a threat to the political truce between Jewish religious authorities and Rome.   Some have written that this was probably not the theological threat to Judaism many have supposed.   The idea that the threat is mainly political carries merit even if, sometimes, the accusations against Jesus are dressed up in theological language. How often in church life we use “other issues” to act as the charger for what we really want to say?

How precious it is to us that God has, and does, walk amongst us; that God has lived our life and understands all we go through.   How precious it is to us that a life lived Walking the Way that is Jesus, is never, ever a wasted life but the most fruitful and meaningful way to live, because Jesus is the Son of God.

What a difference God can make in our world through us as we walk alongside both those who don’t go to Church and those who do.  Our confidence in Jesus can give us the confidence to hear God speaking to us through women at wells whose life styles don’t match our idea of “rightness” and through that preacher we don’t get on with but faithfully listen to.

That Jesus is the Son of God, declared by the Voice from Heaven, makes all the difference to the world, all is changed since that day.
 

Prayer

Jesus Son of God and Son of Mary,
enlighten my heart today,
enlighten your world today.  
May we know the joy of walking with you
all the days of our lives.   
As I plant my feet in your footsteps,
may I make a difference in the world for your sake.  
Amen

Today's Writer

The Rev’d Peter Meek is the Moderator of the East Midlands 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
Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


 
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URC Daily Devotion for Easter Thursday by John Young

Thu, 05/04/2018 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion for Easter Thursday by John Young Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward

St John 1: 1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being,  in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.  He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.  The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”)  From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known. Reflection
Titles of Jesus - The Word
 
I am not the first to observe that the drama of many films and soaps is poor substitute for the face to face drama of two persons fully engaged in dialogue. The ‘Face to Face’ dialogues (originally broadcast 1959-62, then 1989-98) demonstrated the dramatic power of the interview. Likewise, in plays, the soliloquy engages in dialogue of the interior kind, with the audience drawn in; also the best poetry.

With the Prologue as one partner in the dialogue, and the other the reader, we too can be drawn into the drama of God’s salvation. Of course not all may choose to be fully engaged, but those who are find how God chose to act in history.

The Prologue’s opening, then as now, strikes a chord of recognition:  the beginning of Genesis - where God’s creative word (not a dialogue, but the means by which dialogue can grow) brings into being all that is. John’s use of ‘Logos’ (‘Word’) is a stroke of missionary genius for it is understood in the pervasive Greek culture and the Hebrew one, each with distinctive resonances. Communication established, John reveals that the Word he is speaking of is not an impersonal creative force, nor a principle of existence, but a flesh and blood person who embodies God. This human being, God’s gift to us, is graceful, the source of light, life and fulfilment to all who place their lives in his care. ‘The Father’s only Son’ - this is who incarnate Word is.  Later on in John chapter 1 we learn his personal name.

Writing some 60 years after Christ’s resurrection, John was acutely aware of the rejection Jesus suffered.  But some did accept and believe in him, meriting the description ‘children of God’. We are ever in their debt.

Our work is to communicate through words and actions what is readily understood about our faith. Those who are open to dialogue will respond. The work of God in them, and us, has started.

Prayer

Gracious God
let the wonder of your love
come afresh to us.
Open up our closed
and selfish lives
to the light and life
you offer us
through Jesus Christ.
May your Spirit so work in us
that we too may incarnate
your gospel. Amen

Today's Writer

The Revd John A Young is a retired minister of the Synod of Scotland and a member of Giffnock 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
Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


 
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URC Daily Devotion for Easter Wednesday  by Michael Hopkins

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion for Easter Wednesday  by Michael Hopkins Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward

Romans 10: 9-13

Because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The scripture says, ‘No one who believes in him will be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ Reflection

Titles of Jesus - Lord

I grew up with the word Lord being commonly used as a means of addressing God.  One day I heard a radical Methodist minister say that he thought Lord was an inappropriate way to address God, because lords and ladies were an old fashioned thing we would be better off without, and they didn’t connect with ordinary people.  One might also observe that Lord is another male noun used to address God, of which there is no shortage.  Yet, despite all of that, Lord is a term used over 700 times in the New Testament, and came so naturally to the apostles, as it tripped off their tongues throughout the record of their Acts.  So, despite its acknowledged shortcomings, I still feel there’s a place for addressing Jesus as “Lord”.
 

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner
Silence
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner
Silence
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner
Silence
…and repeat as often as you dare…

Today's Writer

The Revd Michael Hopkins is Minister of Farnham and Elstead URCs, Surrey, and Clerk of the 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
Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


 
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URC Daily Devotion for Easter Tuesday by Andy Braunston

Tue, 03/04/2018 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion for Easter Tuesday by Andy Braunston Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward

St Mark 8: 27 - 33

Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’  And they answered him, ‘John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ He asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’  And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.  Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.  He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.  But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’ Reflection We lose some of the radicalness of the Jewish title Messiah.  It means, as the Greek translation Christ means, “anointed one.”  By the time of the New Testament Jewish people believed the Messiah would be a political leader who would end the Roman occupation.  The Temple authorities were always on the lookout for anyone who was named, or claimed to be, Messiah - after all revolutions lead to repression and the political space carved out by the leaders would have been quickly ended.  No wonder Jesus tells Peter, and the others, “sternly” not to tell others.  

Interestingly, Peter understands the implication of the title - but Jesus seems to reject that understanding.  Jesus warns that he must suffer and die - and rise again.  Clearly Peter missed the rising again bit.  What use is a Messiah who dies?  Peter tries to set Jesus straight and gets called Satan for his pains - remember from our series on Job Satan is envisioned as as a tempter.  Jesus sees Peter’s attempt to get him to see sense as tempting.  

Much as I warm to the idea of religious leaders overthrowing corrupt dictators I am reminded of the words of Paul VI who struggled with the part that political liberation - as Peter thought the Messiah would lead - with the task of evangelism: ...the Church has the firm conviction that all temporal liberation, all political liberation- even if it endeavours to find its justification in such or such a page of the Old or New Testament...even if it pretends to be today's theology- carries within itself the germ of its own negation and fails to reach the ideal that it proposes for itself whenever its profound motives are not those of justice in charity, whenever its zeal lacks a truly spiritual dimension and whenever its final goal is not salvation and happiness in God.* 

Liberation will only come through Jesus, our Messiah, the one who doesn’t self destruct unlike all our human ideologies.  

* Paul VI Evangelii Nuntiandi (Evangelism in the Modern World) n35 8th December 1975

Prayer

Messiah,
help me to struggle to against injustice,
to put a spoke in the wheel of those
great machines of evil,
but to remember,
in doing so,
to keep close to you,
that I don’t rely on my own strength,
ideas or politics,
but yours.
Amen.

Today's Writer

The Rev'd Andy Braunston is minister of Barrhead, Shawlands and Stewarton URCs in the Synod of Scotland.

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
Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


 
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URC Daily Devotion for Easter Monday by Angela Rigby

Mon, 02/04/2018 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion for Easter Monday by Angela Rigby Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward

St Matthew 1:23

“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” Reflection In Heathrow airport, there is a poster of Admiral Lord Nelson’s statue in Trafalgar Square taken from an unusual perspective.  The photo focusses on his face and his bicorne hat.  At a glance, I thought it was Napoleon, but then recognised Nelson – due to context (London airport) and prior experience (I've been to Trafalgar Square).

Matthew declares Jesus as Isaiah’s Emmanuel, meaning “God with us”, encouraging us to see Jesus from a particular perspective.  Matthew helps us to recognise that this close-up perspective of God found in Jesus is indeed the God revealed in the Torah, by reminding us of the context (Isaiah’s writings) and of their previous experience (the God who is always “with” Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Joshua, etc).

In Isaiah 7, Emmanuel was the sign Ahaz daren't ask for, but God provided anyway.  Emmanuel would be a sign that King Ahaz didn’t need to be afraid of the plots of two neighbouring nations.  God would be faithful and be “with” them in these anxious times.

Throughout the gospel of Matthew, Jesus as “God with us” is a very down-to-earth God.  And at the end of the gospel, Jesus makes that extraordinary promise – “I am with you always.....” (Matthew 28:20).  Emmanuel isn’t going anywhere. The closeness and involvement in our lives that he showed as he walked the earth isn’t going to stop just because the practicalities of how it looked had changed.  And seen through the lens of Isaiah’s promise, whatever anxiety the early disciples of Jesus may have had, the clear message was – God was with them.

If it was true in 735 BC and then again in 33 AD, then is there any reason for us to believe it isn’t true today?  And always?  
 

Prayer

Faithful God,
Sometimes we are anxious about doing things the way Jesus taught.  “Walking the way, living the life of Jesus today” is not always easy.  Sometimes you call us to walk in a direction we’ve never walked before.  Sometimes you call us to walk in a direction that is different from seemingly everyone else.

Help us to stand, to keep walking with humility the path you have called us to walk.
Help us to recognise that you are walking with us.

Thank you, God.

Amen

Today's Writer

The Rev’d Angela Rigby is minister at Christ Church URC in Tonbridge and St Johns Hill URC in Sevenoaks.

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
Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


 
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URC Daily Devotion for Easter Monday by Angela Rigby

Mon, 02/04/2018 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion for Easter Monday by Angela Rigby Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward

St Matthew 1:23

“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” Reflection In Heathrow airport, there is a poster of Admiral Lord Nelson’s statue in Trafalgar Square taken from an unusual perspective.  The photo focusses on his face and his bicorne hat.  At a glance, I thought it was Napoleon, but then recognised Nelson – due to context (London airport) and prior experience (I've been to Trafalgar Square).

Matthew declares Jesus as Isaiah’s Emmanuel, meaning “God with us”, encouraging us to see Jesus from a particular perspective.  Matthew helps us to recognise that this close-up perspective of God found in Jesus is indeed the God revealed in the Torah, by reminding us of the context (Isaiah’s writings) and of their previous experience (the God who is always “with” Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Joshua, etc).

In Isaiah 7, Emmanuel was the sign Ahaz daren't ask for, but God provided anyway.  Emmanuel would be a sign that King Ahaz didn’t need to be afraid of the plots of two neighbouring nations.  God would be faithful and be “with” them in these anxious times.

Throughout the gospel of Matthew, Jesus as “God with us” is a very down-to-earth God.  And at the end of the gospel, Jesus makes that extraordinary promise – “I am with you always.....” (Matthew 28:20).  Emmanuel isn’t going anywhere. The closeness and involvement in our lives that he showed as he walked the earth isn’t going to stop just because the practicalities of how it looked had changed.  And seen through the lens of Isaiah’s promise, whatever anxiety the early disciples of Jesus may have had, the clear message was – God was with them.

If it was true in 735 BC and then again in 33 AD, then is there any reason for us to believe it isn’t true today?  And always?  
 

Prayer

Faithful God,
Sometimes we are anxious about doing things the way Jesus taught.  “Walking the way, living the life of Jesus today” is not always easy.  Sometimes you call us to walk in a direction we’ve never walked before.  Sometimes you call us to walk in a direction that is different from seemingly everyone else.

Help us to stand, to keep walking with humility the path you have called us to walk.
Help us to recognise that you are walking with us.

Thank you, God.

Amen

Today's Writer

The Rev’d Angela Rigby is minister at Christ Church URC in Tonbridge and St Johns Hill URC in Sevenoaks.

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
Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


 
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Daily Devotions over the next Two Weeks

Sun, 01/04/2018 - 17:00
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Daily Devotions over the next Two Weeks

Dear <<First Name>>

Christ is Risen!  Happy Easter.

I hope you have had chance to celebrate the resurrection today as we mark the triumph of love over hate, life over death, and good over evil.

Over the next two weeks a range of writers are going to be exploring some of the Titles of Jesus used in the Bible.  The readings will be very short but on each day a writer will explore the meaning of the various titles - King of the Jews, Son of David, Son of God, Lamb of God, Rabbi, Light of the World etc.  

We hope this short series will help you appreciate the different ways in which Jesus was described as we follow our Risen Lord in our daily discipleship.

with every good wish


Andy

Andy Braunston
Coordinator, Daily Devotions from the URC Project

 

  

O God,
in this season of reflection,
help me to find the people
who are calling me to change my ways
and to search my heart.
As the Winter deepens,
may my heart be stripped bare,
so that when comes the Spring,
I can rise renewed
and flourish into life. Amen.
--> Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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Daily Devotions over the next Two Weeks

Sun, 01/04/2018 - 17:00
96 Daily Devotions over the next Two Weeks View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward

Daily Devotions over the next Two Weeks

Dear <<First Name>>

Christ is Risen!  Happy Easter.

I hope you have had chance to celebrate the resurrection today as we mark the triumph of love over hate, life over death, and good over evil.

Over the next two weeks a range of writers are going to be exploring some of the Titles of Jesus used in the Bible.  The readings will be very short but on each day a writer will explore the meaning of the various titles - King of the Jews, Son of David, Son of God, Lamb of God, Rabbi, Light of the World etc.  

We hope this short series will help you appreciate the different ways in which Jesus was described as we follow our Risen Lord in our daily discipleship.

with every good wish


Andy

Andy Braunston
Coordinator, Daily Devotions from the URC Project

 

  

O God,
in this season of reflection,
help me to find the people
who are calling me to change my ways
and to search my heart.
As the Winter deepens,
may my heart be stripped bare,
so that when comes the Spring,
I can rise renewed
and flourish into life. Amen.
--> Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion for Easter Sunday by Martin Knight

Sun, 01/04/2018 - 05:00
96 URC Daily Devotion for Easter Sunday by Martin Knight Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward

Psalm 41

1 Blessed is the one who cares for those in need;
The LORD delivers him in times of strife.
2 The LORD will surely bless him in the land;
He will protect him and preserve his life.

He will not hand him over to his foes
That they may satisfy their evil will.
3 The LORD will on his sickbed give him help,
And he will raise him up when he is ill.


4 I said, “Be merciful to me, O LORD;
Heal me, because against you I have sinned.”
5 My enemies with malice say of me,
“When will he die—his name come to an end?”


6 They visit me with falsehood in their hearts
And then go out and spread their wicked lies.
7 Against me all my foes are whispering;
The worst of fates for me their minds devise.


8 They say, “A vile disease has struck him down;
He never will get up and leave his bed.”
9 My closest friend has turned his back on me—
My trusted friend, with whom I shared my bread.


10 But you, O LORD, be merciful to me
And raise me up their malice to repay.
11 I know that you are pleased with me, O LORD;
For over me my foe does not hold sway.


12 In my integrity you hold me fast;
Before you I will constantly remain.
13 O praise the LORD, the God of Israel,
For ever and for evermore! Amen.

You can hear a Free Church of Scotland congregation sing this to the lovely tune Eventide here. Reflection ‘Being raised’ seems like a good theme for today.
Christ is risen – He is risen indeed!
Hallelujah!


Having read Psalm 41 we cannot but have noticed the shared story that gave ancient words to the gospel writers, as they sought to name the experience of Christ’s Passion.

Blessed is the one who cares for those in need.
The Lord will…preserve his life.
My enemies say of me, “when will he die”…they will visit me with falsehood.
The worst of fates for me their minds devise.
My closest friend has turned his back on me…with whom I shared bread.
But you, O Lord, be merciful to me and raise me up their malice to repay.


Psalm 41 illuminated for the Gospel writers the suffering of Jesus and the root of his glory.
His way, the way of life, is to be found here: ‘Blessed is the one who cares for those in need’.

It’s not a popular or easy way to live, we know that.
It can lead to us being mocked, betrayed by friends, and crucified in one of a thousand ways,
but it is His beatitude:
  • Standing alongside refugees.
  • Giving a voice to the voiceless poor.
  • Protesting benefit cuts
  • Nagging your MP
  • Dining with those on the edge
  • Openly listening to different political opinions or religious beliefs.

This Psalm restores our strength as we walk his way; sometimes through the cross-strewn dark.
The crucified one is raised – a living example that the light is never overcome.

As we live the life of Jesus today, be assured that the one(s) crucified as they care for those in need, are raised up.
The humble are exalted.
Suffering and glory belong together.
Christ is risen – He is risen indeed!
 
 

Prayer

Living God,
raise you people we pray:
may the way of the cross teach us resilient strength
may the empty tomb restore us with hopeful joy
and may Easter celebration be seen on our faces and through our hands this day.
Amen

Today's Writer

The Rev’d Martin Knight, Minister at St Paul’s URC, South Croydon

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
Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


 
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URC Daily Devotion for Easter Sunday by Martin Knight

Sun, 01/04/2018 - 05:00
96 URC Daily Devotion for Easter Sunday by Martin Knight Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward

Psalm 41

1 Blessed is the one who cares for those in need;
The LORD delivers him in times of strife.
2 The LORD will surely bless him in the land;
He will protect him and preserve his life.

He will not hand him over to his foes
That they may satisfy their evil will.
3 The LORD will on his sickbed give him help,
And he will raise him up when he is ill.


4 I said, “Be merciful to me, O LORD;
Heal me, because against you I have sinned.”
5 My enemies with malice say of me,
“When will he die—his name come to an end?”


6 They visit me with falsehood in their hearts
And then go out and spread their wicked lies.
7 Against me all my foes are whispering;
The worst of fates for me their minds devise.


8 They say, “A vile disease has struck him down;
He never will get up and leave his bed.”
9 My closest friend has turned his back on me—
My trusted friend, with whom I shared my bread.


10 But you, O LORD, be merciful to me
And raise me up their malice to repay.
11 I know that you are pleased with me, O LORD;
For over me my foe does not hold sway.


12 In my integrity you hold me fast;
Before you I will constantly remain.
13 O praise the LORD, the God of Israel,
For ever and for evermore! Amen.

You can hear a Free Church of Scotland congregation sing this to the lovely tune Eventide here. Reflection ‘Being raised’ seems like a good theme for today.
Christ is risen – He is risen indeed!
Hallelujah!


Having read Psalm 41 we cannot but have noticed the shared story that gave ancient words to the gospel writers, as they sought to name the experience of Christ’s Passion.

Blessed is the one who cares for those in need.
The Lord will…preserve his life.
My enemies say of me, “when will he die”…they will visit me with falsehood.
The worst of fates for me their minds devise.
My closest friend has turned his back on me…with whom I shared bread.
But you, O Lord, be merciful to me and raise me up their malice to repay.


Psalm 41 illuminated for the Gospel writers the suffering of Jesus and the root of his glory.
His way, the way of life, is to be found here: ‘Blessed is the one who cares for those in need’.

It’s not a popular or easy way to live, we know that.
It can lead to us being mocked, betrayed by friends, and crucified in one of a thousand ways,
but it is His beatitude:
  • Standing alongside refugees.
  • Giving a voice to the voiceless poor.
  • Protesting benefit cuts
  • Nagging your MP
  • Dining with those on the edge
  • Openly listening to different political opinions or religious beliefs.

This Psalm restores our strength as we walk his way; sometimes through the cross-strewn dark.
The crucified one is raised – a living example that the light is never overcome.

As we live the life of Jesus today, be assured that the one(s) crucified as they care for those in need, are raised up.
The humble are exalted.
Suffering and glory belong together.
Christ is risen – He is risen indeed!
 
 

Prayer

Living God,
raise you people we pray:
may the way of the cross teach us resilient strength
may the empty tomb restore us with hopeful joy
and may Easter celebration be seen on our faces and through our hands this day.
Amen

Today's Writer

The Rev’d Martin Knight, Minister at St Paul’s URC, South Croydon

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
Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


 
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Pictures for Passiontide

Sat, 31/03/2018 - 10:17
96 Pictures for Passiontide View this email in your browser

The Pictures Used in Passiontide

Dear <<First Name>>

Over the last two weeks our reflections have included various pictures and many folk have asked for more details on them.  Here's the list of what they were and where you can find them.  Some of you have noted that you can't see the pictures.  There could be two reasons for this - first, you may have chosen to receive these emails as "plain text" in which case pictures won't show.  You can change your mailing preferences using the link, below, to html.  Second, your mail programme may not automatically show pictures - in which case you will need to change the settings so it automatically does so.

Here are the pictures we have used. 

Praying at Gethsemene by He Qi - a google search should find this image.




The Taking of Christ by Caravaggio You can see it on wikipedia here



Christ before Caiaphas by Mattias Stom You can see it on wikipedia here



Christ before Pilate - Bosh You can see it on Wikipedia here



Christ before Herod Antikpas - Knupfer  You can see it on Wikipedia here




The Flagellation of Christ - Rubens  You can see it on Wikipedia here



Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross by Sieger Koeder  This can be found by searching on the internet.



Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem  (C) The Sister of Turvey Abbey
This is one of the Footsteps of Christ posters sold by McCrimmonds.  You can see the series here.



The Disrobing of Christ - Stanley Spencer.  You can see this on the Tate Gallery website here.




Dear Friend - Linda Roberts You can see this image here



White Crucifixion - Marc Chagall You can see this image here on the Chicago Institute of Art website.




The Body of Christ Dead in the Tomb by Hans Holbein the Younger.  You can see this here




with every good wish

Andy

Andy Braunston
Coordinator, Daily Devotions from the URC Project

 

  

--> Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Pictures for Passiontide

Sat, 31/03/2018 - 10:17
96 Pictures for Passiontide View this email in your browser

The Pictures Used in Passiontide

Dear <<First Name>>

Over the last two weeks our reflections have included various pictures and many folk have asked for more details on them.  Here's the list of what they were and where you can find them.  Some of you have noted that you can't see the pictures.  There could be two reasons for this - first, you may have chosen to receive these emails as "plain text" in which case pictures won't show.  You can change your mailing preferences using the link, below, to html.  Second, your mail programme may not automatically show pictures - in which case you will need to change the settings so it automatically does so.

Here are the pictures we have used. 

Praying at Gethsemene by He Qi - a google search should find this image.




The Taking of Christ by Caravaggio You can see it on wikipedia here



Christ before Caiaphas by Mattias Stom You can see it on wikipedia here



Christ before Pilate - Bosh You can see it on Wikipedia here



Christ before Herod Antikpas - Knupfer  You can see it on Wikipedia here




The Flagellation of Christ - Rubens  You can see it on Wikipedia here



Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross by Sieger Koeder  This can be found by searching on the internet.



Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem  (C) The Sister of Turvey Abbey
This is one of the Footsteps of Christ posters sold by McCrimmonds.  You can see the series here.



The Disrobing of Christ - Stanley Spencer.  You can see this on the Tate Gallery website here.




Dear Friend - Linda Roberts You can see this image here



White Crucifixion - Marc Chagall You can see this image here on the Chicago Institute of Art website.




The Body of Christ Dead in the Tomb by Hans Holbein the Younger.  You can see this here




with every good wish

Andy

Andy Braunston
Coordinator, Daily Devotions from the URC Project

 

  

--> Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

URC Daily Devotion for Holy Saturday

Sat, 31/03/2018 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion for Holy Saturday Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward

St Matthew 27: 57-61

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. Reflection

He is dead and gone, as are all the hopes and dreams of his followers.  All is despair as we gaze upon Holbein’s image of the broken, emaciated body as Joseph of Arimathea did.  

He is dead and gone and his dying words “It is finished!” ring heartbreakingly in our ears.

It is the point in any Stations of the Cross when, even though we are children of 2,000 years or so of knowing the three-days-later-turn-around, that I find myself utterly drained and, yes, sharing a portion of that feeling of despair that the first disciples felt.  

When in 2016 Churches Together in Bridport & District commissioned a full set of 3’ by 3’ paintings of the traditional Stations by local artists, Good Friday afternoon was spent in glorious sunshine by over 150 folk across the denominations walking from station to station, from Bridport to West Bay, immersing ourselves in Road to the Cross.  

Each image is different in style but reflects the local landscape and brings home the message that the journey and death are not some distant event but one, rather, ringing with relevance for us now.  Thus the image of Christ being taken to the tomb, carried by Joseph with the East Cliff of West Bay (aka ‘Broadchurch’) in the background, left us all knowing that this death, this suffering, this apparently absolute and forever death is for us all, here, now and always.  

 
 

Prayer

Lord God,
who was prepared to offer everything;
teach us to resist the temptation to jump too readily to Resurrection Glory.  
Let this Station teach us to hold back and grapple with the huge price paid;
the depth of misery;
the solidarity with human suffering everywhere;
and the knowledge that you know what it is like to cry,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
And offer us Third Day Hope in the depths of our pain.  
Amen

Today's Writer

The Rev’d Peter Clark is the URC Minister in the Bridport & Dorchester Joint Pastorate (Methodist /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
Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


 
Want to change how you receive these emails? You can change to plain text (which some find easier to read) or have webpage like emails by clicking here.

 

URC Daily Devotion for Holy Saturday

Sat, 31/03/2018 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion for Holy Saturday Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward

St Matthew 27: 57-61

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. Reflection

He is dead and gone, as are all the hopes and dreams of his followers.  All is despair as we gaze upon Holbein’s image of the broken, emaciated body as Joseph of Arimathea did.  

He is dead and gone and his dying words “It is finished!” ring heartbreakingly in our ears.

It is the point in any Stations of the Cross when, even though we are children of 2,000 years or so of knowing the three-days-later-turn-around, that I find myself utterly drained and, yes, sharing a portion of that feeling of despair that the first disciples felt.  

When in 2016 Churches Together in Bridport & District commissioned a full set of 3’ by 3’ paintings of the traditional Stations by local artists, Good Friday afternoon was spent in glorious sunshine by over 150 folk across the denominations walking from station to station, from Bridport to West Bay, immersing ourselves in Road to the Cross.  

Each image is different in style but reflects the local landscape and brings home the message that the journey and death are not some distant event but one, rather, ringing with relevance for us now.  Thus the image of Christ being taken to the tomb, carried by Joseph with the East Cliff of West Bay (aka ‘Broadchurch’) in the background, left us all knowing that this death, this suffering, this apparently absolute and forever death is for us all, here, now and always.  

 
 

Prayer

Lord God,
who was prepared to offer everything;
teach us to resist the temptation to jump too readily to Resurrection Glory.  
Let this Station teach us to hold back and grapple with the huge price paid;
the depth of misery;
the solidarity with human suffering everywhere;
and the knowledge that you know what it is like to cry,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
And offer us Third Day Hope in the depths of our pain.  
Amen

Today's Writer

The Rev’d Peter Clark is the URC Minister in the Bridport & Dorchester Joint Pastorate (Methodist /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
Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


 
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URC Daily Devotion for Good Friday

Fri, 30/03/2018 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion for Good Friday Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward

St Matthew 27: 45-54

From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice,

‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’

that is,

‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’

When some of the bystanders heard it, they said,

‘This man is calling for Elijah.’

At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said,

‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.’

Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split.  The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.  After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many.  Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said,

‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’
Reflection

Today the Church ponders the horror of the Cross.  Despite knowing what happens next we are appalled by this shameful method of execution.  Stripped naked, slow asphyxiation killed the victim who tires of the agony of lifting himself  up to breathe.  A dreadful lingering death - to encourage others to obey the might of Rome.  

Chagall’s painting demonstrates this horror but sets Jesus’ death amongst pogrom and persecution.  For Chagall Jesus was just another Jew who had been persecuted.  We, as Christians, might turn it around and say that Jesus is killed again and again in his people in places where we are persecuted for faith, politics, gender, or sexuality.  Still Jesus is hung on the Cross as he suffers with His people.  

The Church has always wanted to find meaning in Jesus’ death - to theorise about atonement and make sense of senseless brutality.  I must confess many of these theories leave me cold as they seek to explain mystery at the heart of the Godhead.  As the Father grieves, Jesus dies, drawing into the life of God’s own self the suffering, pain and inhumanity of our world.  In the face of that mystery all theories are partial.  

Chagall hoped the Russians would save the Jews persecuted by the Nazis; his hopes, and those of the Jewish people, were cruelly dashed.  We hope to find salvation in politics, economics or military might. Today we realise that salvation is found in Jesus’ love, weakness and, seeming, failure.
 

Prayer

Saviour of the World,
help us to find you
when we are in pain,
when we suffer
and when we feel that we’ve failed.

Help us to see you in your suffering people,
and enable us to work
for the coming of your Kingdom
when all pain will cease,
and all tears will be wiped away,
and all failure redeemed.
Amen

Today's Writer

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

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
Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


 
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URC Daily Devotion for Good Friday

Fri, 30/03/2018 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion for Good Friday Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward

St Matthew 27: 45-54

From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice,

‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’

that is,

‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’

When some of the bystanders heard it, they said,

‘This man is calling for Elijah.’

At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said,

‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.’

Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split.  The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.  After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many.  Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said,

‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’
Reflection

Today the Church ponders the horror of the Cross.  Despite knowing what happens next we are appalled by this shameful method of execution.  Stripped naked, slow asphyxiation killed the victim who tires of the agony of lifting himself  up to breathe.  A dreadful lingering death - to encourage others to obey the might of Rome.  

Chagall’s painting demonstrates this horror but sets Jesus’ death amongst pogrom and persecution.  For Chagall Jesus was just another Jew who had been persecuted.  We, as Christians, might turn it around and say that Jesus is killed again and again in his people in places where we are persecuted for faith, politics, gender, or sexuality.  Still Jesus is hung on the Cross as he suffers with His people.  

The Church has always wanted to find meaning in Jesus’ death - to theorise about atonement and make sense of senseless brutality.  I must confess many of these theories leave me cold as they seek to explain mystery at the heart of the Godhead.  As the Father grieves, Jesus dies, drawing into the life of God’s own self the suffering, pain and inhumanity of our world.  In the face of that mystery all theories are partial.  

Chagall hoped the Russians would save the Jews persecuted by the Nazis; his hopes, and those of the Jewish people, were cruelly dashed.  We hope to find salvation in politics, economics or military might. Today we realise that salvation is found in Jesus’ love, weakness and, seeming, failure.
 

Prayer

Saviour of the World,
help us to find you
when we are in pain,
when we suffer
and when we feel that we’ve failed.

Help us to see you in your suffering people,
and enable us to work
for the coming of your Kingdom
when all pain will cease,
and all tears will be wiped away,
and all failure redeemed.
Amen

Today's Writer

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

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
Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


 
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URC Daily Devotion for Maundy Thursday

Thu, 29/03/2018 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion for Maundy Thursday Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward

St John 19: 25b  - 27

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. Reflection





















I am struck by two ‘spaces’ in this picture.

The first ‘space’, shows Jesus a huge separation from his mother and the disciple whom he loved.  Even though Jesus is still rooted, by the cross, within humanity,  this painting denotes that he has entered into another realm which is beyond our sight.  He is present in both realms and near yet distant from those he loves.   Jesus, faceless,  still gently guides  their discipleship with his voice, echoing the words he said hours before, “love one another as I have loved you”. The words he utters in this passage, encompass care in the fullest sense. Mary must have felt frustrated that she could not touch or embrace Jesus in his hour of need and despair, yet the connection is clearly visible in this picture, a connection that transcends words, as faces and eyes connect in a private interaction. Within this space, the artist has used the colour purple, a colour linked to mourning and pain, yet also royalty and sovereignty.

The second ‘space’ is observed by Mary and the disciple, whose body language indicates their support for each other as they hold and cling, displaying the closeness that Jesus wills for them. One question that is not clear from the painting, is whether the disciple that Jesus loved happens to be male or female?

In our most desperate and painful times, physical touch can be healing, soothing our souls. The artist has used vibrant colours to dress the onlookers, to portray the effect that Jesus has on them, even as he is dying on the cross, he is healing and restoring relationships.

This painting relates to each one of us, as there can be times Jesus seems distant and remote. Occasionally it’s hard to grasp or understand what he is trying to say to us as disciples. Let us never move our gaze from the face of Jesus, for it is only there will we see the true face of God.
 
 

Prayer

Gracious Saviour,
as your words flow from the Cross,
may we always have to courage to listen to your words that guide
our path to wholeness and healing;
may we always gain strength in the knowledge that you love us,
and always will;
may we always be committed to look into your face, and see the
face of God;
Amen

Today's Writer

The Rev’d Ruth Dillon is Minister of Fleet and Hindhead URCs

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
Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


 
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