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.

Reflection for Monday 27th July 2020
By Fred Coutts


‘Turning the world upside down’

Like many of us I have had to get used to using a computer program called Zoom to allow us to meet up during the time of lockdown.  I have noticed one strange thing when using Zoom:  if you hold up a piece of text to the computer camera to show it to others, the writing appears on your computer the wrong way round!  Other people can see it correctly but not you.  It was even worse for the early Victorian photographers with their heads hidden under a blanket as they framed up the pictures on their enormous cameras.  What they were seeing under their blankets was the picture not only the wrong way round, but upside down too!  Those who understand the physics of optics can explain what is happening, but it is still strange.

Reflections in water can really add to a photograph.  Sometimes, if the conditions are right you are not able to decide what is the reflection and what is the real thing.  I took this photograph last week after a rainstorm.  A muddy rut left by a tractor wheel had filled up with water.  The sun came out, the sky was blue, clouds and trees appeared reflected in the puddle, but upside down.

I wonder if Patrick Appleford had this sort of picture in his mind when he wrote the hymn, ‘O Lord all the world belongs to you’?  He wrote many hymns during his life, the best-known being ‘Living Lord’ (Mission Praise 435).  He began his ministry as a Church of England curate in in the East End of London, in Poplar during the 1950s.  Some have seen him as the inspiration for Tom Hereward, the curate in the TV series ‘Call the midwife”. 
In Poplar he would have seen face to face all the social problems of docklands in the post war years.  The challenge that the church faced then (and still faces now ) is to show that God constantly challenges us to look at people, places and things in a new way.  God looks at things differently from us and in Appleford’s words, ‘if we do the same, we’ll be turning the world upside down.’

The problem we face, and St Paul faced it too, is that it is not always easy to see things through God’s eyes. When writing to his friends in Corinth he confessed that ‘For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror.’ 
But moments of clarity will and do come for us all.  One November I drove on a narrow road over the hills in Perthshire heading towards Loch Tay. It was a typical November day, dark, gloomy with mist closed in, blocking out everything but a small circle of vision round the car.  But then as we crossed the brow of the hill we climbed above the fog and in a vision that I will always remember I saw the tops of the clouds below me, shining bright and white in the sunshine and the peaks of the Highland mountains bursting through in the distance.  A moment of spectacular clarity!
Focus today on trying to see people, places and things as God might see them.

O Lord, all the world belongs to you
and you are always making all things new.
What is wrong, you forgive,
and the new life You give
is what’s turning the world upside down.
The world’s only loving to its friends,
but your way of loving never ends,
loving enemies too;
and this loving with you
is what’s turning the world upside down.
The world lives divided and apart,
you draw us together, and we start
in our friendship to see
that in harmony we
can be turning the world upside down.
The world wants the wealth to live in state,
but you show a new way to be great:
like a servant you came,
and if we do the same,
we’ll be turning the world upside down.
O Lord, all the world belongs to You
and You are always making all things new.
What is wrong, you forgive,
and the new life you give
is what’s turning the world upside down.

Patrick Appleford


Genesis 1:31

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day.

I Corinthians 13:1-13

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


In the beginning God created all things,
and God saw that they were good.

At our beginning, God created us
unique and irreplaceable, loved and wanted by God,
known and treasured by God.

In all our new beginnings, God creates something new
so we will seek God in the freshness of this morning,
in the laughter of friends,
in the colours of creation,
even in the confusion and challenges of today.

Creator God
open our eyes to see as you see,
open our spirits to sense your presence,
and our hearts to love your presence,

Almighty God, let us not harbour anything in our hearts
that might spoil our fellowship with you
or with one another.
Work with us and within us:
            Do what you will with us.
            Make of us what you want of us.
            Change us as we need changed.
            Use us as your will requires.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

In our prayers today, let us remember…..

  • The people we love, especially those going through difficult times.
  • The people we do not know, whose suffering is silent and unknown.
  • The church, that we might see the way ahead through God’s eyes.
  • Ourselves, that we might have a clarity of vision.

The Lord’s prayer

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.


We have
God's power to guide us,
God's strength to uphold us,
God's eyes to watch over us;
God's ear to hear us,
God's word to give us speech,
God's hand to guard us,
God’s blessing on us today.