URC Daily Devotion Saturday 25th May 2024

Saturday 25th May 2024
Reading  John 17 : 20-24
 
“I ask not only on behalf of these but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their word,  that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one,  I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.  Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world

Reflection 
 
Jesus’ prayer gives a glimpse of what God’s kingdom could be. Where all are as one and all are loved. Sounds awesome to me! Here in Harwich, as we came out of the pandemic, we, as local churches, wanted to create a space where all could find welcome. Deliberately finding a space that wasn’t a church in order to leave behind particular mindsets, we set up “The Lounge”, a place that you can be you, whomever that may be. Whilst it may not be in a church, we do have a rhythm of prayer as part of the daily activities and a space designated for prayer and reflection. This is important so that we can authentically be ourselves as much as anyone. People are encouraged to share talents, interests, stories or whatever. We have tourists, homeless people, folk with disabilities and from all walks of life. The fact that such a diverse group of people can come together in the same space and feel that they belong is testament to the group of people who began the venture, listening to the heart of God.

The Lounge tries to be a place of God’s love, a home where all feel safe. As Henri Nouwen says, “in the house of God we come with new eyes and new ears, recognising all people, whatever their race, religion, sex, wealth, intelligence or background, belong to the same house”*.  Essentially, we are all part of God’s family and whether we realise it or not, God works in and through us all to the good of those around us. I believe that shows through the way we value people as they are. The mindset of the hosts who enabled this space was key to this, starting from a point of no “us and them”, it produces an atmosphere that many comment on as warm and welcoming to everyone. Shouldn’t that be what churches offer as standard?

* Henri Nouwen – You are the the beloved, 2017

Prayer 

Loving God,
Help us to recognise that you love 
every one of your children 
with a passion that is deeper than the oceans. 
May we love all our brothers and sisters 
with that same depth of feeling.
Give us eyes to see you in each and every person, 
and ears to hear your word 
from all our valuable family members, whomever they are.
Through Christ our Lord, Amen

 

Today’s writer

Mark Tubby is a URC Church Related Community Worker serving with Dovercourt Central Church in Essex.

Copyright

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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