Daily Devotional reflections

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

Saturday 6th June 2020


Sowing and Reaping

Whilst I have a limited knowledge of farming, I do have the ability to recognise when the oil seed rape has lost its deep yellow flowers. These flowers produce a most attractive carpet of vivid colour, especially when caught by the light by the setting sun against a background of darkened clouds. But my ability to detect the passing of the flowers, does not require sight - it is called hay fever! A field of oil seed rape might be attractive to look at, but the pollen gives me itchy eyes and sneezes!

The sowing and repeating of crops, is the inspiration behind a well-known Bible verse that has permeated into everyday language.

In original King James Version, first published in 1611, it reads:

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)

In modern language the phrase ‘reap what you sow’ or ‘as you sow, so shall you reap’ can mean you get what you deserve, or you must eventually face the consequences of your actions. It conveys the moral principle that our actions carry consequences. It could be argued that in our current context, the race riots that have gripped America, appear to stem from deep feelings of alienation. It is possible that a failure by the government and other agencies to promote integration, mutual respect and a level playing field, irrespective of race or cultural background has promoted racial conflict. A failure to sow seeds of equality and social justice and resulted in a harvest of extremism and rioting. Another possible application could be our failure to adequately invest in social care and the NHS in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The biblical meaning of this phrase on one level is clear. Those who live only to satisfy themselves will harvest decay and death. Whilst those who live to please God will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. But there is more. Psalm 126:5 reminds us, “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy” God can even bring joy out of tragedy. God can even produce joy out of our bad choices.  God’s law of sowing and reaping includes unmatched mercy and grace. The heart of the Gospel is being able to reap what Jesus has sown for us in his mercy on the cross. Fortunately, God’s grace is much broader and deeper that our bad choices and wrong decisions!


Mark 4: 1-20

Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that,
“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
  and ever hearing but never understanding;
 otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”
Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

Galatians 6: 1-10

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.


Think about the seeds you have sown through your words and actions? Are they good seeds that will produce a crop of joy, love and righteousness.
What seeds have others sown into your life? Have these seeds produced a good crop? Or have these seeds produced hurt and pain?

Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church


A prayer for peace in the cities of America

Gracious God,
We pray for peace in the communities of America this day.
We commit to you all who work for an end to tensions,
For those who seek to promote peace and reconciliation between different groups and cultures.
And those who work to uphold law and justice.
We pray for an end to fear,
For comfort and support to those who suffer.
For calm in our streets and cities,
That people may go about their lives in safety and peace.
In your mercy, hear our prayers,
now and always.

 Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession

God of our past and our future, God of healing and hope,
We come before you with grateful hearts,
trusting that you walk with us through all the times of our lives,
including this strange time of illness and isolation.
You are still the God of our history and God of the world you love,
so hear us as we pray for your world and the people around us.

We remember today those who face danger and despair in these times:
Those who suffer the effects of coronavirus in their lives and in the lives of loved ones;
those living with hunger while the world is distracted,
those caught up in unrest and violence despite the pandemic,
and all whose lives are directed by forces beyond their control…

We pray for all those working to relieve suffering of many different kinds
and bring justice and peace to those most vulnerable.
God, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
We pray for all those facing fear or frustration,
and those wrestling with sorrow or discouragement.

We remember those who live with illness, disability or pain day by day,
and all who know the grief and change of bereavement…
We pray for all those who work to bring healing and comfort to those who suffer,
remembering those who put their own health and life at risk during the pandemic.

God, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for all who feel helpless or hopeless in this present time of such uncertainty:
For those facing unemployment or struggling to make ends meet,
For those caught up in misunderstanding or broken relationships
And for those working through situations of conflict at home or at work…
We pray for all who offer guidance and support in the midst of such difficulties.

God, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

God of our past and our future, God of healing and hope,
Hold us together in the days ahead and remind us of our common faith in Christ.
Help us learn from the challenges we are going through new ways of living out our faith.
Support our denomination and our local churches to engage questions and choices
with respect and faithfulness, trusting that you can do new things for us and with us.
Keep us loving and gracious, in the example of Jesus, our Lord and friend,
who pray taught us to pray together:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, you will be done, on earth as 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.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours
now and forever.


May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
This day and forever more.