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.

Monday 11 May 2020

The Reflection is by Fred Coutts

You could hear them before you saw them, male voices in harmony singing a hymn.  Not a polished performance, but compelling, nevertheless.  Then they appeared, making their weary way in single file along the forest trail at the end of a hard and dangerous day’s work.  The video went viral on the Internet.   It was October 2017 and more than 80 wildfires were raging through the forests of Northern California.  The singers were firefighters from the tiny Pacific island of Western Samoa more than 5000 miles away. They had come to help the locals fight the flames which were engulfing communities.  Together, day after day they fought the advancing flames. They sung this hymn to bind them together as a team, their faith strengthening and inspiring them in their task, as it did the millions round the world who saw and were inspired by this ordinary but extraordinary group of firefighters. 

When interviewed, one of team said, “It’s the Samoan way, our fa'a Samoa. We try and stay positive.  It's a church song and it's just something that's part of our culture. Our belief in God is very strong,"

Unlike a wildfire which you can see and feel and even smell, we are facing a quite different invisible threat in Covid-19.  But the flames of Covid-19 are being beaten back by the united effort of so many different people.  We are all involved, some on the front line, some providing vital services and support.  For most of us, it is simply staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

The words the firefighters sang may be unfamiliar, but the tune is not. We can echo their positive spirit and their belief in the presence of God with them. We will hear the words of the hymn which we sing to that tune. We need to encourage one another when we are “cumbered with a load of care” or if we feel “weak and heavy laden” as we face the flames of this invisible virus together.  We may not be able see the end of the pandemic but what we do see is the contribution of so many different people with so many different skills doing their bit to fight its flames. For most of us what we have to contribute is simply staying at home and enduring the lockdown.

As we take our fears, worries and concerns “to the Lord in prayer” we can find encouragement and strength, and like the 17 firefighters from that tiny dot of an island on the Equator, encourage one another as we face this crisis together.

What were they singing?   The gist of their hymn can be roughly translated:

Thanks to God.
We grow when He has compassion for all of us. 
Thanks to his son who comes from above,
who is a saviour from the trouble.
Thank you very much for help to succeed in all the troubles.
Sing alleluia! Thank you!  
Sing songs to thank you!


Who or what encourages you in your faith at this time of crisis?
What can you do to encourage others?


Lamentations 3:19-24

I remember my affliction and my wandering, 
                the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
                and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
                and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
                for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;  
                great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion;
                therefore I will wait for him.’

Ephesians 5: 18-20

Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


With gratefulness we look back because your unfailing love never ends.
Let us remember the signs of your hand upon us in the past
even when we scarcely noticed it at the time.


Great is your faithfulness,
your mercies begin afresh each day.

With trepidation we look forward to what lies before us this day, this week, this year.
You say that we must be light for the world
But we know that there are times when our light is very dim.
Fill us with your love and strengthen us for what we must face today.
Let our light burn a little more brightly.

Great is your faithfulness,
your mercies begin afresh each day.

We hold up before you the people we hear about on the news;
The people we will meet or see or hear today.
In silence we remember them.


Great is your faithfulness,
your mercies begin afresh each day.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
You will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,
now and forever.


We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!

Face today in humble confidence:
there is nothing about to happen that God has not foreseen,
and no situation where Christ will not be there ahead of you,
preparing a place and an opportunity for you.

The peace of God, which goes beyond all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ, God’s Son.

And the blessing of God all-loving,
the Creator, Redeemer and Counsellor,
will be with you today and always.