North East Circuit of IM Churches

Devotional for Sunday 24th January 2021

This devotional for Sunday 24th January has been produced by the North East Circuit for use in their churches, and is made available for any churches/individuals who would like to use it this weekend.

Introduction

The last year has been described as unprecedented, so much of what was familiar has been taken from us but this may be a wakeup call.


Hymn – Christ is surely coming, bringing his reward


Bible Reading – 1 Corinthians 7: 29 – 31

29 What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short.  From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them.  For this world in its present form is passing away.


Reflection

With lockdowns and restrictions much of the routine of life has been disrupted in the last year.  In lockdown we have been forced into a more basic existence, many of the routines as well as the highlights of life have been disrupted.  Whilst often in times of trial people are able to turn to the known and take solace in the familiar much of the known and familiar was taken away.

However, the rest of creation began to raise their voices as the sounds of humans and their machines reduced.  Whilst restricted to their gardens in the summer many rejoiced at hearing birdsong more clearly than before.  People longed to see friends and family and had an opportunity to stop and reassess their priorities and what was truly of value.

There was much excitement that as a result of their lockdown experiences our nation and the world might emerge to a new normal.  The hope was that there would be a realignment of values which would result in the world being a better place.  This may be true from some people. 

However, someone commented that when lockdown began everyone was lovely but as it went on everyone became horrible and it’s stayed that way!  We have seen that when restrictions were eased the selfishness of many became more evident.  We should not be surprised by this because the Bible teaches us of the sinfulness mankind.

However, our reading reminds us that as Christians we should not fit into the ways of this world.  We do not know when this world will come to an end, but we do know that it will.

Our lifestyle should not follow the priorities of those around us, whether that is the prevailing mood of the age or traditional values.  As Paul wrote in Colossians chapter 3 verses 2 – 4 we should “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

Let us use our time in lockdown to make sure that we are aligned to God’s priorities and live as citizens of His Kingdom within this world.


Prayer

Almighty God, we thank You for all Your goodness to us.  Teach us to number our days that we may use the time that You grant us to bring glory to Your Name.  May we, being mindful of the temporary nature of our life on earth, prepare for an eternity in Your presence, spending our time in serving You and fulfilling Your purpose for our lives.

We give thanks for those who are ensuring the vaccine programme is protecting ever more people from Covid-19, for the frontline staff who are caring for those who are ill and for all those involved in providing essential services.  We pray for wisdom for those who govern us, a sense of communal responsibility for all and the movement of Your Spirit in our land.

Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer


Benediction

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and forever.  Amen.