URC Daily Devotion Sunday 8 January 2023

Sunday 8 January 2023 

Psalm 118

The right hand of God
is writing in our land,
Writing with power and with love;
Our conflicts and our fears,
Our triumphs and our tears,
Are recorded by the right hand of God.

2: The right hand of God
is pointing in our land,
Pointing the way we must go;
So clouded is the way,
So easily we stray,
But we’re guided by the right hand of God.

3: The right hand of God
is striking in our land,
Striking out at envy, hate and greed;
Our selfishness and lust,
Our pride and deeds unjust,
Are destroyed by the right hand of God.

4: The right hand of God
is lifting in our land,
Lifting the fallen one by one;
Each one is known by name,
And lifted now from shame,
By the lifting of the right hand of God.

5: The right hand of God
is healing in our land,
Healing broken bodies, minds and souls;
So wondrous is its touch,
With love that means so much,
When we’re healed
by the right hand of God.

6: The right hand of God
is planting in our land,
Planting seeds of freedom, hope and love;
In these many-peopled lands,
Let his children all join hands,
And be one with the right hand of God.

Patrick Prescod © 1981 Caribbean Conference of Churches
You can hear a choir sing this here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIb7KjsSwyE


The song ‘Into My Arms’ by Nick Cave begins with the striking and firm declaration ‘I don’t believe in an interventionist God.’ This hymn, offers very much the opposite view. It depicts a God who constantly intervenes, and whose right hand performs a different task in each verse: writing, pointing, striking, lifting, healing, planting. It’s an inclusive song, though I remember as a left-handed child disliking it, because a right-handed God is like other people, but not like me. Surely an all-powerful God must be ambidextrous!

It’s reminiscent of the tasks given to the prophet Jeremiah: to pluck up and pull down, but also to build and to plant. This describes a God who strikes out at injustice while simultaneously lifting and healing those individuals who have been its victims. It challenges us to see the seeds of freedom, hope and love in the world, and by extension to tend and water them to grow fully, playing our own role in building the kingdom.

Is this an image of God we recognise and believe in, a busy God who is fully involved in the minutiae of life, who is always active rather than passive? Not all Christians have thought so. There’s an idea, associated with Deism, that God created the world then stood back, leaving us to our devices and the gift of free will. On the other hand some theologians might hold that everything is pre-ordained and planned by God. This debate leads us to the age-old question of why an active God allows suffering, to which there is no straight forward or easy answer. Which vision of God do you prefer? The God who gives us freedom, or the God who intervenes? Or a God who is somehow able to do both?


God who loves us,
God who guides,
God who shows us
freedom, hope and love,
we pray you will
point out your way to us,
so we can follow you
and be your hands on the earth.




Today’s writer

The Rev’d Nick Jones, Minister, Heswall URC



New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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