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

Tuesday 12th May 2020


As most folk are aware the Christian Church in the West is going through a very difficult time, with cataclysmic decline and an increasingly disinterested population. There are lots of reasons including some which may surprise you. These include entertainment. One of my most irritating bad habits is apparent flicking through the TV channels. I don’t plan my viewing or read the paper to see what is one. I flick through the channels till I find something that looks interesting, unless of course Midsomer Murders or some other murder mystery is on. (Why is Alison so keen on watching murders? Should I be worried?) In other words, I want to be entertained. I want something that stimulates my interest and engagers me, otherwise I am not interested and either switch off or turn over. Like many people, my viewing now tends to be online through streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon.

Being entertained is a curious process. We all have our tastes and preferences. I dislike soaps, football, quiz shows, but enjoy quality drama, good films and engaging documentaries, especially about cars and steam trains. Others have different preferences. This is important. The world would be an incredibly boring place to live if we all liked the same things. There would be nothing new to discover. It would stifle personal growth and creativity. To meet our taste and desires a whole industry has been created. Now entertainment includes everything from gaming and heritage, TV, films, blogs, concerts etc., not to mention the vast quantity and diversity of material that is available online.

The problem this presents to the faith and worship is one of expectation. Because we have become so conditioned to being entertained by slick and talented professionals, to have our tastes and preferences and desires catered for, we can unthinkingly apply the same thought processes to faith and worship.  The end result is a rejection of anything that does not make us feel good or instantly captures our attention and interest. It has been fascinating how during the current lockdown with Covid19, how some churches have moved online with live or recorded services. Many appear to be very homespun as they do not have the talent, expertise and resources to compete with professional broadcasting.  But the key issue here is faith and worship are not the same as entertainment.

Over the next days, I am going to try and tease out what we understand as authentic worship, by exploring, along with a selection of Bible passages, one of the most majestic hymns of the Christian Faith. Written by Charles Wesley in 1747, Love Divine, All Loves Excelling is arguably his finest. It has stood the test of time and still remains fresh and relevant.

Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church


Psalm 100 - A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2     Worship the LORD with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

John 4: 1-26

Jesus Talks with a Samaritan Woman

Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”


How often do you experience the presence of God in your life?
In what ways do you respond to God?


Our Calling is to respond in love and service to the needs of our communities. We are grateful to our sisters and brothers around the world who hold us in prayer as we hold them. We should not be afraid “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  2 Timothy 1:7.

Sovereign God, you are our light and our salvation, to you be glory and praise for ever. We thank you for the Cross and the wonder of Christ’s love for us: he is the light of the world. Anoint us with your Spirit as you call us into your marvellous light. May our lives bear witness to your truth and our lips proclaim your praise. Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Prayer for those affected by Covid19

god of mercy
At this time of anxiety and fear
We thank you for the dedicated work of all carers and medical staff and those who support our communities.
We pray your blessing on all who wash feet,
Who bring healing,
Who sit with the dying
Who bring comfort in confusion
Who bring peace to the afraid
In this we see the love of Jesus
Who is our strength and hope,
In whose name we pray

God of all hope we call on you today.
We pray for those who are living in fear:
Fear of illness, fear for loved ones, fear of other’s reactions to them.
May your Spirit give us a sense of calmness and peace.
We pray for your church in this time of uncertainty.
For those people who are worried about attending worship.
For those needing to make decisions in order to care for other
For those who will feel more isolated by not being able to attend.
Grant us your wisdom.
Holy God, we remember that you have promised that
Nothing will separate us from your love – demonstrated to us in Jesus Christ.
Help us turn our eyes, hearts and minds to you.

Loving God,
If we are ill, strengthen us.
If we are tired, fortify our spirits.
If we are anxious, help us to consider the lillies of the field and the birds of the air.
Help us not to stockpile treasures from supermarkets in the barns of our larders.
Don't let fear cause us to overlook the needs of others more vulnerable than ourselves.
Fix our eyes on your story and our hearts on your grace.
Help us always to hold fast to the good,
See the good in others,
And remember there is just one world, one hope,
One everlasting love, with baskets of bread for everyone.
In Jesus we make our prayer,
The one who suffered, died and was raised to new life,
In whom we trust these days and all days,

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.

A Celtic Blessing
The deep peace of the powerful wave be with you,
The deep peace of the air that moves be with you,
The deep peace of the water that flows be with you,
The deep peace of the silent land be with you,
The deep peace of the shining stars be with you,
The deep peace of the Creator,
Redeemer and the Spirit of Peace be with you.