Devotional for Sunday 5th July
This devotional for Sunday 5th July 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.
For some of our churches the day has finally arrived. Our church doors will be open for a Sunday Service for the first time in more than three months. Even for those churches that have decided not to open their doors today, the choices remain the same. Do we simply carry on where we left off, or do we adopt a new way? The slate is clean but how do we respond?
Hymn: Breathe on me breath of God
Bible Reading – Isaiah 43: 16 – 19
16 This is what the Lord says – he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters,
17 who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
- Not only is today the first Sunday in the second half of the year, today is the first Sunday that churches have been allowed to meet since lockdown was imposed upon us.
- I wonder if today is to be a new beginning or a fresh start? And not just the fact that we may not be sat in our usual seat, or we cannot sing or communion is different.
- What has changed in the last three months? Do we find ourselves closer to God, I wonder?
- Isaiah wrote those verses at a time when Judah was suffering under Babylonian exile and these verses served as a reminder to the people of what God had done in the past, alluding to the great Exodus of Israel from Egypt. But Isaiah encourages them not to be stuck in the past but to look forward with a sense of expectation of the new thing that God was to do.
- When considering these verses, we often focus on the ‘new thing’. Which is good as it fills us with a sense of hope and expectancy. But to simply focus on the new means we overlook the situation that God was to work anew.
- For it was right there in the wilderness, maybe a place of hopelessness that God was to start a new work. To know and enjoy the new workings of God was only achievable once they had come through the wilderness.
- We too, are coming out of the wilderness, a wilderness of lockdown. What new things has God got in store for us, are we ready to follow God’s leading or are we too busy planning to carry on where we left off?
- If what we have heard is true, we may find new enquirers or attenders seeking advice and guidance on the things of God. Are we ready to answer their questions?
- I wonder what the new things are that God has in store for us? Will we resist or embrace those changes. Change, of course, is both uncomfortable and costly! But if we show that God has been faithful to us in the months of lockdown, then surely he will be faithful to us as he leads us out of this wilderness and on to great and mighty things.
- I believe that God will use our recent circumstances to shape you and me for His glory!
- Can we say with the hymn writer the first verse of our hymn: Breathe on me, breath of God, fill me with life anew, that I may love what Thou dost love, and do what Thou wouldst do.
O God, our heavenly Father, thank you that lockdown is starting to be lifted for most people.
I pray that these recent months will have seen me prepared and equipped for what You are about to do in me and through me.
Help me be prepared for the great and mighty things that You are to accomplish in the coming days.
Continue to be with those who need our prayers, the lonely, the anxious, the sick and those we know and love as well as our leaders and key workers who have kept our nation ticking over these last three months.
In Jesus’ name,
The Lord’s Prayer
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.