Daily Devotional reflections

As we journey through these uncertain times, each day Sean will to seek post a thought or reflection, a Bible verse or a prayer.


Sunday 22 March 2020

Mother's Day

MOTHER’S DAY
It sounds very cruel that families are being advised not to visit mothers and grandmothers on Mother's Day. Yet this is the reality of the current situation - that physical contact can reap so much damage with the spread of the Corona Virus. I wonder if we should hold Mother's Day mark 2, once the current health crisis has eased!
Here is what the Bible says about mother's:

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”

(Proverbs 31: 25-30)


“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.

(Isaiah 49:15)


Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice.

(Proverbs 23: 22-25)

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.

(2 Timothy 1:5)


For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.

(Psalm 139: 13)


PRAYERS FOR MOTHER’S DAY

Loving God, we give you thanks and praise for mothers young and old.
We pray for young mothers, who give life and count toes and tend to our every need;
May they be blessed with patience and tenderness to care for their families and themselves with great joy.
We pray for our own mothers who have nurtured and cared for us; May they continue to guide us in strong and gentle ways.
We remember mothers who are separated from their children because of war, poverty, or conflict; May they feel the loving embrace of our God who wipes every tear away.
We pray for women who are not mothers but still love and shape us with motherly care and compassion.
We remember mothers. grandmothers, and great-grandmothers who are no longer with us but who live forever in our memory and nourish us with their love.

Amen

(Anonymous)

God our creator, we come before You and lift up in prayer all mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers and mothers to be who gave the gift of life.
We give you thanks for their presence, talents and gifts which they share in our church, society and world.
May all mothers know of Your loving and gentle presence and may they always turn towards You in times of joy, sorrow and glory.
We ask this in Your Name.

Amen.

(Source: St. Paul's Cathedral, Canada)

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Saturday 21st March 2020

Be strong and courageous

Our current situation is going to take a great deal of adjustment. Last night I paid a visit to the gym – probably the for several weeks. And how long will the current situation last for? 6 weeks or more? Nobody seems to know!

As I continue to reflect on how this wee timorous beastie of a virus is changing everything, I do wonder if we are all being taught a subtle but profound lesson. The lesson is about freedom. Freedom to associate. Freedom to direct the course of our lives. Freedom to go to the gym or pursue gentler ways of being active. Freedom to have faith and attend church etc. But now the freedoms we take so much for granted are being removed. This withdrawal of freedom might be for the common good and with our consent and personal self-sacrifice, but it is a loss of the most fundamental human right all the same. So what lesson can we learn from this?

When the current situation passes and normal routines are restored, I do hope we can learn to value and appreciate our freedom, especially the freedom to associate. For us in the church, I hope we can learn the significance and value and privilege we have in coming together to worship on a Sunday morning. I am already yearning for our first post virus service – of our coming together to worship the God of love with awe, wonder and joy.

Alcatraz

One final thought – on this day in 1963 the infamous Alcatraz prison finally closed its doors. The notorious establishment contained some of the dangerous and hardened prisoners including Al Capone. It is my prayer that our current confinement feels less like a prison but more like a place of learning!

Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church

BIBLE READING

Psalm 100 (King James Version)

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the LORD he is God:
it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the LORD is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.

PRAYER

Each new day
we celebrate what it is to be free -
to live our lives in fullness.
This is the eternal gift of God.

  • But freedom and fullness lives in the simple
  • in each breath we take
  • in knowing we have a roof over our heads
  • in the love of family and community
  • all the things we might usually take for granted...

Freedom also invites the gift of generosity

  • to continue to give where we can
  • to support one another as we are able and go the extra mile
  • to offer a welcome smile and forget the more formal handshake of yesterday
  • to be what we have always been called to be - human.
  • This is not a Church crisis, a worship crisis, nor a financial crisis
  • this is about the gift of life, which is for all, irrespective of birth, status or circumstances

As we remember the simplest of these things, may we be inspired to renew calm, peace and hope in every new day.
For in the midst of all storms a Presence is found, and freedom in Christ remains.

Amen.

PRAYER FOR THE 5th SUNDAY OF LENT

Dear God,

Saviour and Shepherd of Your people, pen our eyes to the traffic between heaven and earth, and to the wonder of Your call to live in the light, through Him who is the light of the world, even Jesus Christ,

Amen

God, we thank You for the wonder of sight. For the beauty of the world we see each day, for the ordered loveliness of worlds we see in nature, through video and good report, for the majesty of the heavens and the marvels within the tiniest object, we give You thanks.

For people who have lit up our lives by their goodness and service, for people who have led Your church in wise and even wonderful ways, for people of courage and vision and loving perseverance, we praise Your name.
We thank You above all for Jesus, our Brother who walked in the light and gave light to others, our Saviour who has shown us Your light and let it illuminate our lives, our Friend who has brought heaven and earth together, the One who prays for us continually, who listens to our concerns, who shares our hopes and our fears.

We thank You for every good person, for every bit of service that makes our journey cleaner and easier and happier, and for everything that bring light and joy into our lives. Blessing and honour be to the God who is above all things yet present in the world as it changes from day to day; to the God who is shrouded in mystery yet wonderfully brought into view by Jesus; to the God whose Spirit brings light and love to our daily lives.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as in the beginning, so now, and for all time,

Amen

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Friday 20th March

cloud of witnesses

What curious times we are living in! As one person put it ‘our time together is over.’ Or is it? I would prefer a different sentence like: ‘our time together is on pause.’ Soon all this continual bombardment of bad news via the press and social media will be over. Soon the fear and anxiety will be but a memory. Soon memories of greedy snowflakes selfishly filling their freezers will be something to laugh about.

When we are all reunited perhaps we will remember just how precious relationships are. Relationships with family and friends. Relationships within the local community. And for us who are Christians, perhaps we will finally realise our privilege as the people of God. We are part of a faith community called the church. Not just the faith community at Cruden Parish Church, but the fellowship of all believers that transcends time and space. The church in glory and the church here below. Of as the writer to the Book of Hebrews put it:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,[a] and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of[b] the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

(Hebrews 12: 1-2)


Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church

PRAYERS

Lord,
We bring you our worries and our uncertainties tonight.
As the world reacts to unpredictability and anxiety,
we pray you would keep the eyes of Your people firmly fixed on You.
Give strength to the vulnerable, Lord.
Give peace to the troubled, Lord.
Give the gift of faith to the fearful, Lord.
We pray for those who are alone tonight, with no-one to check on them, and no-one to talk to. Please use us as Your Voice to the lonely, as Your hands to those who need Care, and as Your feet to those who need to know that someone is there.
We pray for parents and families. As they settle into long periods at home, may they find rhythm in their days and routine in their uncertainty.
We pray for strength and wisdom for those who are caring for the sick, and tending to those in need.
We pray for eyes to notice You in the faces of others.
We pray for hearts of compassion to see the needs of those around us.
We pray for wisdom in our own decisions.
We pray for peace, for ourselves, for those around us, and for our communities.
Give us grace to rest in Your Presence and to trust in Your mercy.
May anxiousness be replaced with quiet trust and hope.
Amen

A prayer from Lezley Stewart, the Church of Scotland's Recruitment and Support Secretary.

Each new day
we celebrate what it is to be free -
to live our lives in fullness.
This is the eternal gift of God.

But freedom and fullness lives in the simple

  • in each breath we take
  • in knowing we have a roof over our heads
  • in the love of family and community
  • all the things we might usually take for granted

Freedom also invites the gift of generosity

  • to continue to give where we can
  • to support one another as we are able and go the extra mile
  • to offer a welcome smile and forget the more formal handshake of yesterday
  • to be what we have always been called to be - human.

This is not a Church crisis, a worship crisis, nor a financial crisis

  • this is about the gift of life, which is for all, irrespective of birth, status or circumstances.

As we remember the most simple of these things, may we be inspired to renew calm, peace and hope in every new day.

For in the midst of all storms a Presence is found, and freedom in Christ remain.

Amen

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Thursday 19th March 2020

BIBLE READINGS

“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfils his purposes for me.

(Psalm 57:1-2)

Some went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters.
They saw the works of the LORD, his wonderful deeds in the deep.
For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves.
They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths.
In their peril their courage melted away.
They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end.
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people
and praise him in the council of the elders.

(Psalm 107: 23-32)

PRAYERS

MAY I BE AT PEACE
Saint Teresa of Avila

May I be at peace.
May my heart remain open.
May I be aware of my true nature.
May I be healed.
May I be a source of healing to others.
May I dwell in the Breath of God.
A prayer for Thursday 19th March
When oppression
cruelty and fear
are all that is known,
and suffering the daily experience.
When famine
hunger and thread of illness and disease
greet every morning,
denying basic sustenance,
How easy to say
there is no God,
to turn aside
and label you an irrelevance,
You who are
living water,
bread of life,
the one who offers deliverance,
who suffered,
died and rose,
bringing hope
that there is more to life than this.
Bless all those
who in despair,
and dark places,
look to you for assurance.
Bring comfort,
peace, and where
there is neither,
bring to them abundance.
Amen.

©John Birch (Altered)

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Wednesday 18 March 2020

Anchor Hold

We are living through unprecedented times. At no point in recent history has our daily life been so disrupted. Of course, this will soon pass. Normal routines will be restored. Our communal life together will begin again. And although our fellowship as a church is disrupted, God’s presence continues to surround us. We are still upheld by his grace. So in a sense everything has changed but nothing has changed!
As we journey through these uncertain times, each day I will to seek post a thought or reflection, a Bible verse or a prayer.

Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church

PRAYER

Lord Jesus Christ, you travelled through towns and villages “curing every disease and illness.” At your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love.
Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.
Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbours from helping one another.
Thank you for those who thrust aside narrow self-interest and put the well-being of neighbour and friend know your blessing.
Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.
Jesus Christ, healer of all, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.
Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, may they be embraced by your love and know your peace which passes all understanding.
Be with the doctors, nurses, carers, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace.
Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare.
In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.
Amen.

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