URC Devotion

URC Daily Devotion 18th July 2019

2 hours 12 min ago
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line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward Daniel 2: 1-16 In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed such dreams that his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him. So the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. When they came in and stood before the king, he said to them, ‘I have had such a dream that my spirit is troubled by the desire to understand it.’  The Chaldeans said to the king (in Aramaic), ‘O king, live for ever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will reveal the interpretation.’ The king answered the Chaldeans, ‘This is a public decree: if you do not tell me both the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. But if you do tell me the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honour. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation.’  They answered a second time, ‘Let the king first tell his servants the dream, then we can give its interpretation.’ The king answered, ‘I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see I have firmly decreed: if you do not tell me the dream, there is but one verdict for you. You have agreed to speak lying and misleading words to me until things take a turn. Therefore, tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation.’ The Chaldeans answered the king, ‘There is no one on earth who can reveal what the king demands! In fact no king, however great and powerful, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean.  The thing that the king is asking is too difficult, and no one can reveal it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with mortals.’ Because of this the king flew into a violent rage and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. The decree was issued, and the wise men were about to be executed; and they looked for Daniel and his companions, to execute them. Then Daniel responded with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the king’s chief executioner, who had gone out to execute the wise men of Babylon; he asked Arioch, the royal official, ‘Why is the decree of the king so urgent?’ Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. So Daniel went in and requested that the king give him time and he would tell the king the interpretation. Reflection A clever thing happens in the book of Daniel, from 2:4 until 8:1: the language changes from Hebrew to Aramaic!

Hebrew is the mother tongue, the language of YHWH. Aramaic was the global language, the language of Empire and trade. Most of the enslaved Hebrews after a time would have been more fluent in Aramaic than their mother tongue.

At the moment the language shifts to acceptable language, one hears the other holy men say: “tell your servants to interpret the dream”. The king challenges the holy men to ‘guess’ what he is dreaming, then interpret it. There is a big difference between knowing what to say and knowing what needs to be said. Nebuchadnezzar already knows the representatives of popular religion are ill-equipped to see his anguish. He is set to put popular religion to death because it is not deep enough to see through him.

When religion reaches the zenith of its popularity at best and at worst is obvious to everyone, it loses public trust and its prophetic edge. Let’s be honest: sometimes our lament on the decline of the Church is really a lament on the loss of Christian superiority in public life: Victorian buildings no longer are easily filled; stadiums don’t overflow like the Billy Graham days; children can no longer recite the Lord’s Prayer from memory. We say, “The church is dead.”  We give up on faith. We tell folks things they want to hear. We water down worship. We stop preaching. We never liked doing it anyway, so why bother? We ask, “What are we doing wrong and how can WE fix it?” When religion is popular and obvious, we go into ‘survival’ mode.

This episode teaches that prophetic wisdom opens communication and saves lives. It is a language that sets captives free and even brings monarchs to their knees. It is a language that can see through the emperor’s dreams, yet speaks clearly in any language. Prayer Tune our ears and defrost our hearts, Ground of our Being.
Tune our ears to your heartbeat,
Your music, Your song.
Cause compassion to burn
in deeply frozen hearts
made cold by the politics of survival.
Make out of us a people
who will hear, live, and feast
on Your Wisdom. Amen. Today's Writer The Rev’d William Young, Minister, Essenside URC Glasgow and Morison Memorial URC Clydebank. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2019 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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A Short Survey

Wed, 17/07/2019 - 09:41
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Dear <<First Name>>

We now have over 3,000 people reading the Daily Devotions and consistently get good feedback.  A small group of us are working to understand our readers better and to find out what you like about the Devotions and what you might like to see changed.  

To help with this we have designed a short survey which you can go to here.  Please do have a look and complete the survey - it should take about 5 minutes.

with every good wish

Andy

Andy Braunston
Coordinator, Daily Devotions from the URC Project

 

  

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URC Daily Devotion 17th July 2019

Wed, 17/07/2019 - 06:00
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line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward Daniel 1: 18 - 21 At the end of the time that the king had set for them to be brought in, the palace master brought them into the presence of Nebuchadnezzar, and the king spoke with them. And among them all, no one was found to compare with Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they were stationed in the king’s court.  In every matter of wisdom and understanding concerning which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. And Daniel continued there until the first year of King Cyrus. Reflection The media tend to lampoon young people—the “hipster” generation—for their unorthodox ways, entitled personalities and lack of knowledge. They always have, right?  Sometimes young people can surprise us at the very moment we are losing faith in them—and subsequently, humanity itself. As I write I am reading of 16 year old Greta Thunburg who is capturing the attention of politicians the world over on climate change.

Our Drumchapel congregation runs ‘Friendship House’, a global café and support centre for refugees and asylum seekers. One of the great lessons our friends teach us is they light up when we treat them not as inferior beings (that need our help because we are so great and good), but as people with skills that can build up the community. They teach us how to cook food in their culture as opposed to us showing them how to cook  in ways which, justifiably so, most of them detest.

That can be a challenge for volunteers, most of whom are elder women who have fed their families and church community for ages with no problem. The “experts” get a lesson in quality and good taste every week now, via foreigners younger than them.

It was a risky scheme, but the Hebrew ‘talented tenth’ living in the palace have found favour with Nebuchadnezzar. The diet of their culture have made them stronger and, maybe not smarter, but more connected to the wisdom of their faith in that they can interpret and influence the world around them.

This is not necessarily an ancient advertisement for superfoods! However, in difficult times it is crucial to have people, even youth, who can embrace tradition as a way of reorienting a disoriented world.

Elihud Kipchoge, world record marathoner said, “Everybody has talent, but that’s not enough…talent and passion go together.” This text expresses the talent and the passion of the Hebrew youngsters in the imperial palace. It also gives the Empire a taste of the truth of their God’s power. Prayer O For the young who tune their eyes
to see broader than us:
Lord, give strength, humility, and passion.
For the ‘middle aged’ who feel
they have missed their moment
to change the world:
Lord, give opportunity and confidence.
For the aging,
who feel their days are far gone:
Lord, may this youthful generation
give ear to listen
and space to be part of the struggle.
Help us to love one another. Amen. Today's Writer The Rev’d William Young, Minister, Essenside URC Glasgow and Morison Memorial URC Clydebank. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2019 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion 16th July 2019

Tue, 16/07/2019 - 06:00
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line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward Daniel 1: 8 - 17 But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the royal rations of food and wine; so he asked the palace master to allow him not to defile himself. Now God allowed Daniel to receive favour and compassion from the palace master.  The palace master said to Daniel, ‘I am afraid of my lord the king; he has appointed your food and your drink. If he should see you in poorer condition than the other young men of your own age, you would endanger my head with the king.’ Then Daniel asked the guard whom the palace master had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:  ‘Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. You can then compare our appearance with the appearance of the young men who eat the royal rations, and deal with your servants according to what you observe.’ So he agreed to this proposal and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days it was observed that they appeared better and fatter than all the young men who had been eating the royal rations.  So the guard continued to withdraw their royal rations and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. To these four young men God gave knowledge and skill in every aspect of literature and wisdom; Daniel also had insight into all visions and dreams. Reflection Daniel is about living in Empire, not how to survive it.  How does one work, eat, and create faithfully? Do you yield to the stimuli around you, or do you uphold the finest and most profound foundations of your belief?

Today’s reading is a lesson about appearances. Daniel and the others are in the palace because they are gifted; the result of the Empire’s  assumptions of what makes a model subject (1:4). The powers that be didn’t realise that they are not just pretty faces. Their model giftedness comes with a moral courage that makes them prophetic vessels of the remnant, not educated puppets of the emperor. The powers that be are too slow to understand now, but they soon will.

The ‘palace master’ was equivalent to what was known, in the antebellum era of North American slave plantations, as the house slave or house “negro”. Hierarchically he kept the other slaves in check and was the one channel between the master and the slaves. Yet he, and his guards, were slaves as much as the others - with very limited power.

It is with them that Daniel’s spiritual genius begins to take shape in these verses, as he is able to make an agreement with the palace guard to allow them to eat as vegetarians, inviting them to compare their appearance with those who ate the royal food. Even the Emperor of Babylon cannot mistake the benefits. Even in Empire, compassion can reveal itself if we live faithfully and not merely as survivors.

If you want to make this a lesson on the benefits of vegetarianism, go ahead. I believe it is more poignantly a lesson on the values of peaceful, prophetic action to maintain the sacredness of our humanity in a world that enslaves us. Perhaps the greatest prophetic move here is that compassion ultimately reveals the inherent good in everyone, even our oppressors. The prophetic language begins not with anger and judgement, but with compassion and understanding. Prayer Living Lord,
we pray for those doing good
for the least of these.
But we also pray for those
making life for the least of these
a living hell.
Stretch their hearts toward compassion.
For them and ourselves,
may You make us prisoners of hope
in disoriented times. Amen. Today's Writer The Rev’d William Young, Minister, Essenside URC Glasgow and Morison Memorial URC Clydebank. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2019 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion 15th July 2019

Mon, 15/07/2019 - 06:00
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line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward Daniel 1: 1-7  In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord let King Jehoiakim of Judah fall into his power, as well as some of the vessels of the house of God. These he brought to the land of Shinar,[a] and placed the vessels in the treasury of his gods. Then the king commanded his palace master Ashpenaz to bring some of the Israelites of the royal family and of the nobility, young men without physical defect and handsome, versed in every branch of wisdom, endowed with knowledge and insight, and competent to serve in the king’s palace; they were to be taught the literature and language of the Chaldeans. The king assigned them a daily portion of the royal rations of food and wine. They were to be educated for three years, so that at the end of that time they could be stationed in the king’s court.  Among them were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, from the tribe of Judah. The palace master gave them other names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego. Reflection As we begin to look at the Book of Daniel, we are confronted with one of the symptoms of Empire - namely an attempt to eradicate the cultural, political, and religious identity of the colonised. Three of these observant Jews experienced a change of name. Hananiah - the Hebrew means ’Yahweh is gracious’ - became Shadrach ‘Command of Aku’ (Aku was the moon god).  Mishael (‘Who is like God’) becomes Meshach ‘Who is like Aku’ and Azariah (‘Yahweh has helped’) became Abednego (Slave of the god Nebo).

We are told that they were to be fed as members of the royal household and educated for three years so that they could ‘graduate’ into the king’s court, having been instructed in Babylonian customs and manners. In the coming days the narrative will focus on Daniel as the non conforming hero but for now let’s think a little further about the effect of Empire on the identity of those under its sway.

Empire has had a ‘grooming’ effect on those it seeks to subjugate.  The Council for World Mission (CWM) uses the terminology of Empire to indicate the ‘coming together of economic, cultural, political and military power in our world today which serves, protects and defends the interest of powerful corporations, elites and privileged people. The Babylonian Empire was not benign, hence the need to change the names and religion of these young Jewish leaders. CWM reminds us that we also are subject to a colonising influence.

When Bishop Lesslie Newbigin was asked what would it mean if the Gospel of Christ was allowed to critique western culture, he answered, ‘Suffering.’ Prayer Lord Jesus,
help me to preserve my identity in you,
deliver me from being a consumer, a service user, a customer.
You have given yourself to us all,
that we may bear your likeness.
Enable us to be transformed
by the renewing of our minds
so that we may discern
what is truly valuable,
what is good and acceptable
and perfect, Amen Today's Writer The Rev’d  Richard Church, Deputy General Secretary (Discipleship), Member of Streatham URC. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2019 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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The Book of Daniel

Sun, 14/07/2019 - 06:00
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Dear <<First Name>>

I hope you found Alan Spence's reflects on the Holy Trinity helpful - it's often good to look at what we believe and think about how we can better articulate those things.

For the next month or so we will be turning to the Book of Daniel.  This is an interesting yet, in places, difficult book comprising of two very different sections. The first 6 chapters, attributed to an anonymous narrator, are the ones we are most familiar with and comprise of court legends about Daniel and his friends who had to find ways to live with persecution and powerful (yet rather bumbling) monarchs.  The second section, written as visions of Daniel, dates from the second Century BC when the Greeks were threatening Israel. This section is rather more difficult as the style of writing is apocalyptic with mysterious visions portraying the End Times.  

Daniel is the first book to reflect on themes of resurrection and reward/punishment in the after life. Radical Christian groups - at the Reformation and during the Civil War used Daniel to push for a government of the saints as a precursor to Jesus’ return (Cromwell turned down this offer).  The passages are rather longer than when dealing with, say, an Epistle partly as the some are stories and partly as, apocalyptic parts don’t break down into smaller chunks easily.  They are, however, worth sticking with.

with every good wish

Andy

Andy Braunston
Coordinator, Daily Devotions from the URC Project

 

  

O God,
in this season of reflection,
help me to find the people
who are calling me to change my ways
and to search my heart.
As the Winter deepens,
may my heart be stripped bare,
so that when comes the Spring,
I can rise renewed
and flourish into life. Amen. --> Copyright © 2019 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion 14th July 2019

Sun, 14/07/2019 - 06:00
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line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward Psalm 105: 1-9 1 Give thanks to the LORD God and call on his name;
His wonderful deeds to the nations proclaim.
2 Sing praises to him, and his exploits record;
3 Let all those who seek him rejoice in the LORD.

4 You chosen ones, look to the LORD and his might;
5 Seek ever his face, and his wonders recite,
His miracles too, and his judgments divine—
6 You children of Abraham, Jacob’s own line.

7 The LORD is our God, and he rules all the earth.
8 Rememb’ring his cov’nant—the word he set forth—
He vowed, for the ages to come, to make good
9 His promise to Abr’ham, to Isaac renewed.

10 To Jacob his sov’reign decree was made sure;
With Isr’el his cov’nant would always endure:
11 “To you I will give, as your portion to stand,
The country of Canaan, the beautiful land.”

12 When they were no more than a wandering few,
In number restricted, and foreigners too,
13 From nation to nation they travelled around;
Wherever they wandered, no rest could be found.

14 He would not permit that his folk be oppressed;
For his chosen ones’ sake mighty kings he addressed:
15 “Touch not my anointed—to me they belong;
Respect my own prophets and do them no wrong.”

16 The LORD called down famine upon the whole land;
Their food was destroyed at his sovereign command.
17 But he sent beforehand, his people to save,
His chosen one, Joseph, sold off as a slave.

18 His feet within shackles of bronze were confined,
His neck put in irons; for freedom he pined.
19 The word of the LORD was a test to be passed
Till what he foretold was accomplished at last.

You can hear a Free Church of Scotland sing this to the tune Foundation (How Firm a Foundation Ye Saints of the Lord) here.   Reflection This is part of a long Psalm which recounts God's covenant with his people, their rescue from Egypt and provision in the wilderness and before arriving in the Promised Land. It runs to 45 verses and summarises much of the Exodus journey of God's people; a story which would be recounted at Passover. It is worth reading in full.

It is telling the people to remember their story. It started with promises to Abraham, and ended (in this Psalm) when they came to their own country.

It is a Psalm reminding us that God promises, protects and provides. It begins with the call to give thanks which some scholars think was added later.

These opening five verses remind me of an old chorus:

O give thanks to the Lord for He is good, all you His people,
O give thanks to the Lord for He is good.
Let us praise, let us thank,
Let us celebrate and dance,
O give thanks to the Lord for He is good.


We are reminded to keep searching for God, even if life is less than wonderful at the moment. We are encouraged to keep thanking him for what He has already done and later in verse 45 to keep following God's principles and obey his laws.

Lively worship will keep our spirits up and help to look expectantly for the fulfilment of God's promises and the blessings of his goodness wherever we find ourselves on our journey with God. Prayer Help us to count your blessings to us Lord
and offer grateful thanks
for your mercy in times of trouble
and your abundant provision
in times of plenty.
Keep us in step with you Lord
and help us to remember
your grace and tell our story
faithful and ever loving God.
Amen. Today's Writer The Rev’d Viv Henderson, Minister of Minehead URC. Bible Version   Sing Psalms! © Psalmody and Praise Committee, Free Church of Scotland, 15 North Bank St, Edinburgh, EH1 2LS Copyright © 2019 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion 13th July 2019

Sat, 13/07/2019 - 06:00
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line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward I Peter 1:1-5 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To the exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who have been chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood:
May grace and peace be yours in abundance.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Reflection The early Christians were confronted with a number of realities which were theologically perplexing but nevertheless integral elements of their shared faith. They were monotheists who believed that God was one. Yet they offered divine worship to Jesus Christ as Lord, risen from the dead. And in their communal worship they experienced personally the Holy Spirit as a sovereign, divine person lifting their hearts in praise, empowering them with spiritual gifts and transforming their lives.

Christians did not at this early stage seek to explain this set of paradoxes. They did, however, in their greetings and benedictions regularly refer to Father, Son and Spirit as the shared authors of human salvation. The pattern of the Trinitarian affirmation in the passage above is not unusual.

Chosen by the Father
Sanctified by the Spirit
Saved by the blood of Jesus

In expressions such as these the various elements of salvation are attributed to the three divine persons not as absolute distinctions but as appropriate ones. The Father through his love and eternal determination is recognised as the ground of our salvation, or as we might say, the formal cause. Jesus Christ by way of his redemptive life, death and resurrection, is often spoken of as the one who purchased us for God, the material cause of our salvation. The Holy Spirit as the agent of our new birth and spiritual transformation, protecting us for a salvation to be finally revealed is what we might describe as the efficient cause. In the post-apostolic period the Church developed a more compact Trinitarian master-narrative. It became common to speak of the believer coming to the Father, through the Son, by the power of the Spirit. The formulations of later Trinitarian discussion were further abstracted from the story of salvation, but the intention was the same, that is, to speak of the one God in a way which affirms the divinity of Father, Son and Spirit and recognises a distinction between their persons:

We worship one God in trinity
and the Trinity in unity,
neither confusing the persons
nor dividing the divine being.

(Athanasian Creed)   Prayer Open my eyes
to the Father’s love
that settled on me
before the start of time.
Open my heart
to the Father’s Son
who gave himself
that I might be his friend.
Open my being
to the heavenly dove
that she might hover over me
and make me whole again.
Open up O my soul
to the triune God,
eternal love divine. Today's Writer The Rev’d Dr Alan Spence is a retired minister and Convenor of the Faith and Order Committee.   Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2019 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion 12 July 2019

Fri, 12/07/2019 - 06:00
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line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward St John 3:1-10 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? Reflection The stories that John recounts in his Gospel are not randomly chosen. They all have deep theological significance. What then is the point of Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus? At its heart lies the argument that the spiritual regeneration of the human heart is not a natural event. Rebirth is the work of the Spirit of God. Unless the Spirit opens our eyes we will never recognise the truth of the kingdom. Until the Spirit softens our hearts we remain emotionally closed to the love of God. Every event of spiritual worth in our lives is an outworking of the unseen Spirit of God empowering us. Jesus appears frustrated that certain Jewish theological teachers like Nicodemus don’t understand these things.

Further, the story indicates that the Spirit is not a power that can be manipulated or controlled by human words or actions. Simon the sorcerer wrongly thought he could buy the gift of the Spirit (Acts 8:18). The Spirit is rather an independent reality with the sort of freedom seen in a swirling breeze. ‘The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.’

How did early Christians understand the Spirit in relation to God? Their experience of the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost and reality of the Spirit in their regular worship was for them the foretaste of the coming kingdom of God and clear evidence of the enthronement of Christ. They understood the Spirit both as the active power of God in the world and also the present reality of the risen Christ among them. What is particularly significant is that they began to view the Spirit in personal terms. It was possible to grieve the Spirit (Eph 4:30); certain things seemed good to the Spirit (Acts 14:28); the Spirit forbade Paul to speak the word of God in Asia (Acts 16:6). In short, the early Christians were wrestling with the idea of the Holy Spirit as a divine person, distinct but not separable from the Son and the Father.   Prayer Come Holy Spirit, come.
Come upon us in our sadness
and clothe us with a garland
instead of ashes.

Come promised Counsellor
and lead us gently to the deeper truth
about who you are and who we are.

Come mighty wind
upon the valley of dry bones
that is our church;
breathe on this fallen army
that we might again live.

Come also upon me holy Comforter
in my own hidden and secret need.
Come Holy Spirit, come.
Amen Today's Writer The Rev’d Dr Alan Spence is a retired minister and Convenor of the Faith and Order Committee. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2019 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion 11th July 2019

Thu, 11/07/2019 - 06:00
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line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward Hebrews 3:1-6  Therefore, brothers and sisters, holy partners in a heavenly calling, consider that Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses also ‘was faithful in all God’s house.’ Yet Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses, just as the builder of a house has more honour than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that would be spoken later. Christ, however, was faithful over God’s house as a son, and we are his house if we hold firm the confidence and the pride that belong to hope. Reflection Hebrews was written to a dispersed community of Jewish Christians who were apparently being tempted to downplay their recently professed Christian faith and return to the security of their religious past. To counter this tendency the author of the letter encourages his readers to reflect on the significance of the person and work of Jesus. In this section he or she asks them to consider the relation of Jesus to Moses, the revered prophet who had led the Hebrews out of Egypt and brought the law to Israel. It is acknowledged that both these men faithfully served God. But there is, according to the author, a striking difference between them – Moses was a servant of God, Jesus was a son.

The point of this distinction is that it places Jesus in a qualitatively distinct category from Moses and all other prophetic figures. Jesus’ unique status derives not from his particular ministry or the redemptive function he performs but from his origin and his being. This understanding of Christ gives rise to what is sometimes known as the scandal of peculiarity, the offence caused to many by the Christian affirmation that Jesus is essentially different from every other servant of God.

To speak of Jesus Christ as the only begotten son of God is, one might say, a metaphor. God does not beget sons as humans do. The value, however, of the idea of sonship for the early Church is that it provides a way of conceiving Jesus as one who came from God and shares in the divine being. As a participant in God’s essence it was appropriate for Jesus to be afforded divine honour in Christian worship. And so it was that the early Church’s conceptual model of the relation of Father, Son and Holy Spirit came to be shaped by the ideas of sonship and essence.

We believe…in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
begotten from the Father before all ages,
God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made;
of the same essence as the Father. Prayer We are aware of pressures on us
from every side
to downplay the high status of Jesus
or distance ourselves from him.
Give me the strength, I pray,
through the trials and temptations
of this world,
to hold firm to my first confidence
so that he might stand for me
on that momentous day. Today's Writer The Rev’d Dr Alan Spence is a retired minister and Convenor of the Faith and Order Committee. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2019 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion 10th July 2019

Wed, 10/07/2019 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 10th July 2019 table.mcnFollowContent{width:100%;} table.mcnShareContent{width:100%;} td.columnsContainer{width:30%;} p{ margin:10px 0; padding:0; } table{ border-collapse:collapse; } h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6{ display:block; margin:0; padding:0; } img,a img{ border:0; height:auto; outline:none; text-decoration:none; } body,#bodyTable,#bodyCell{ height:100%; margin:0; padding:0; width:100%; } .mcnPreviewText{ display:none !important; } #outlook a{ padding:0; } img{ -ms-interpolation-mode:bicubic; } table{ mso-table-lspace:0pt; mso-table-rspace:0pt; } .ReadMsgBody{ width:100%; } .ExternalClass{ width:100%; } p,a,li,td,blockquote{ mso-line-height-rule:exactly; } a[href^=tel],a[href^=sms]{ color:inherit; cursor:default; text-decoration:none; } p,a,li,td,body,table,blockquote{ -ms-text-size-adjust:100%; -webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; } .ExternalClass,.ExternalClass p,.ExternalClass td,.ExternalClass div,.ExternalClass span,.ExternalClass font{ line-height:100%; } a[x-apple-data-detectors]{ color:inherit !important; 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line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward St John 1:1-14  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of [the] father’s only son, full of grace and truth. Reflection How is the Church to speak coherently of the relation of Jesus Christ to the one true God? Yesterday’s reading in Philippians 2 indicates that from the beginning Christian communities, somewhat paradoxically, offered divine worship to a young rabbi who grew up in Nazareth and was crucified outside Jerusalem. Written some forty years later the prologue of John’s Gospel presents us with a rich conceptual narrative of that relation. It dramatically declares that at the very beginning there was one existing alongside God, who was the active agent of creation and the source of all spiritual life and light. John describes this divine being simply as the ‘Word’. And it was the ‘Word’ who in the fullness of time assumed human flesh (was incarnated) and lived among us as an itinerant Galilean preacher and healer.

The power of the prologue is not that it explains the relation of the ‘Word’ to God but rather that it offers a way of conceiving God as one being, who is distinguishable but not separable from his own voice. And this voice is personified by John as he who freely takes to himself human form. The prologue does in poetic narrative what later Trinitarian language seeks to do in more abstract formulae, that is, to offer a conceptual account that recognises both the unity of the God of Jewish faith and the legitimacy of the Christian practice of worshipping Jesus Christ as divine.

The sad irony suggested in the prologue is that when the divine Word, agent of creation and source of all life, humbled himself and came among us in human form, he was not recognised. We, his own people, chose to close our hearts and exclude him from our lives. But to the curious, to those open to his truth, who believed who he was and what he said, he graciously gave the power to become children of God. And this power is not that of human strength or human ingenuity or human diligence. It is, as we shall later see in this Gospel, the divine power of the Holy Spirit.   Prayer Batter my heart,
  three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine,
   and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand,
   o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn,
   and make me new...
Yet dearly I love you,
   and would be lov’d fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie
   or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me,
   never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

(John Donne 1572-1631, Holy Sonnets) Today's Writer The Rev’d Dr Alan Spence is a retired minister and Convenor of the Faith and Order Committee. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2019 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion 9th July  2019

Tue, 09/07/2019 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 9th July  2019 table.mcnFollowContent{width:100%;} table.mcnShareContent{width:100%;} td.columnsContainer{width:30%;} p{ margin:10px 0; padding:0; } table{ border-collapse:collapse; } h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6{ display:block; margin:0; padding:0; } img,a img{ border:0; height:auto; outline:none; text-decoration:none; } body,#bodyTable,#bodyCell{ height:100%; margin:0; padding:0; width:100%; } .mcnPreviewText{ display:none !important; } #outlook a{ padding:0; } img{ -ms-interpolation-mode:bicubic; } table{ mso-table-lspace:0pt; mso-table-rspace:0pt; } .ReadMsgBody{ width:100%; } .ExternalClass{ width:100%; } p,a,li,td,blockquote{ mso-line-height-rule:exactly; } a[href^=tel],a[href^=sms]{ color:inherit; cursor:default; text-decoration:none; } p,a,li,td,body,table,blockquote{ -ms-text-size-adjust:100%; -webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; } .ExternalClass,.ExternalClass p,.ExternalClass td,.ExternalClass div,.ExternalClass span,.ExternalClass font{ line-height:100%; } a[x-apple-data-detectors]{ color:inherit !important; 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line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward Philippians 2:5-11 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. Reflection Paul encourages his Philippian readers to allow the story of Jesus’ humiliation to serve as a pattern for the way they should treat one another. The poetic shape of the passage suggests that it was a popular Christian hymn that Paul had incorporated into his message just as preachers sometimes do today. The historical significance of this particular hymn cannot be overestimated.

In it, one of the earliest pieces of Christian writing in our possession, there is evidence that the first generation of Christians believed Jesus of Nazareth to have had some sort of pre-history. They understood him to have possessed ‘the form of God,’ but this was not something he held on to or exploited. Rather, he freely chose to empty himself, to take on human form, and to walk the way of servanthood, suffering and death.

How on earth had Christians come to hold such a remarkable view of this young rabbi from Nazareth? Perhaps it was because they had been caught up in the latter part of the hymn, the exaltation of Jesus. They heard of course the stories of his suffering and crucifixion, but they now also knew of his resurrection. Through their dramatic experience of the outpouring of his Spirit they had come to believe that Jesus’ had been exalted to the right hand of God. Salvation and forgiveness were part of their personal experience. Week by week as they bowed their knees together in worship they joyfully acknowledged that ‘Jesus is Lord.’

No wonder those early Christians felt that the world had been turned upside down. The rules of life had been transformed. The last would be first. The meek would inherit the earth. Death had been defeated. In humility Christians were now to regard others as better than ourselves. All had become new. Jesus had changed everything, even the way they were to think about God. These committed monotheists found themselves offering divine praise to a recently crucified Galilean. How they were to make theological sense of all this was a question that they and Christians after them were left to reflect on. Prayer Having drunk from the wells of salvation
we worship our risen saviour.
Set free from the chains of death
we acknowledge our liberator
to be the Lord of life,
His name is for us above all other names.
Transform us we pray into his likeness
so that we too might walk the way
that he chose of humility and service.
Amen Today's Writer The Rev’d Dr Alan Spence is a retired minister and Convenor of the Faith and Order Committee. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2019 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion 8th July 2019

Mon, 08/07/2019 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 8th July 2019 table.mcnFollowContent{width:100%;} table.mcnShareContent{width:100%;} td.columnsContainer{width:30%;} p{ margin:10px 0; padding:0; } table{ border-collapse:collapse; } h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6{ display:block; margin:0; padding:0; } img,a img{ border:0; height:auto; outline:none; text-decoration:none; } body,#bodyTable,#bodyCell{ height:100%; margin:0; padding:0; width:100%; } .mcnPreviewText{ display:none !important; } #outlook a{ padding:0; } img{ -ms-interpolation-mode:bicubic; } table{ mso-table-lspace:0pt; mso-table-rspace:0pt; } .ReadMsgBody{ width:100%; } .ExternalClass{ width:100%; } p,a,li,td,blockquote{ mso-line-height-rule:exactly; } a[href^=tel],a[href^=sms]{ color:inherit; cursor:default; text-decoration:none; } p,a,li,td,body,table,blockquote{ -ms-text-size-adjust:100%; -webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; } .ExternalClass,.ExternalClass p,.ExternalClass td,.ExternalClass div,.ExternalClass span,.ExternalClass font{ line-height:100%; } a[x-apple-data-detectors]{ color:inherit !important; 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line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Hear O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.   You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart.    Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead,   and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Reflection As Jewish children are tucked into bed at night many are taught to recite the words above. Jews call these verses ‘the Shema’ and it remains a central feature of their daily devotions. The prayer affirms the essential unity of God, so important an idea for the faith of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. It is also a public declaration of the name of God as the ‘LORD’ or ‘Yahweh’– ‘I am who I am’. This enigmatic expression, which played a key part in the call of Moses’, suggests that God is the foundation of all being, the one whose existence is not dependent on another. So awesome is this name of God that many Jews prefer not to say it out loud.

God is, however, not a philosophical concept for our intellectual contemplation, but the living one who invites us into a deep personal relationship. It is not to be a fleeting acquaintance that is soon forgotten, or a superficial friendship where we keep back much of who we really are. Rather, we are called to love God with our whole being.

When one of the scribes asked Jesus what was the greatest commandment he instinctively began with the words of the ‘Shema’. ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” He added: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’

We are not to forget these words. They are to be on our minds when we go to sleep and when we wake up, when we are at home or when we are abroad. We should carry them with us wherever we go. They are to be a part of our conversation, our everyday talk. The Shema summarises who God is and what God requires of us. Wholehearted love is the appropriate response for us to make to the gracious God who leads us from a world of slavery to the land of promise and peace. Prayer Awesome God,
maker of heaven and earth,
ground of our being
and source of our lives,
You alone are worthy of our praise.

Loving us long before we loved you,
giving your Son for us
while we were still enemies.

Through the transforming power
of your Spirit
enable us to love you freely
and wholeheartedly.

And to love those we meet
just as we love ourselves.
Amen   Today's Writer The Rev’d Dr Alan Spence is a retired minister and Convenor of the Faith and Order Committee. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2019 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion 7th July 2019

Sun, 07/07/2019 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 7th July 2019 table.mcnFollowContent{width:100%;} table.mcnShareContent{width:100%;} td.columnsContainer{width:30%;} p{ margin:10px 0; padding:0; } table{ border-collapse:collapse; } h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6{ display:block; margin:0; padding:0; } img,a img{ border:0; height:auto; outline:none; text-decoration:none; } body,#bodyTable,#bodyCell{ height:100%; margin:0; padding:0; width:100%; } .mcnPreviewText{ display:none !important; } #outlook a{ padding:0; } img{ -ms-interpolation-mode:bicubic; } table{ mso-table-lspace:0pt; mso-table-rspace:0pt; } .ReadMsgBody{ width:100%; } .ExternalClass{ width:100%; } p,a,li,td,blockquote{ mso-line-height-rule:exactly; } a[href^=tel],a[href^=sms]{ color:inherit; cursor:default; text-decoration:none; } p,a,li,td,body,table,blockquote{ -ms-text-size-adjust:100%; -webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; } .ExternalClass,.ExternalClass p,.ExternalClass td,.ExternalClass div,.ExternalClass span,.ExternalClass font{ line-height:100%; } a[x-apple-data-detectors]{ color:inherit !important; 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line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward Psalm 104: 1-23 1 Praise the LORD, my soul, O praise him!
LORD my God, you are so great!
2 Wrapped in light as with a garment,
clothed in majesty and state.
Like a tent he spreads the heavens,
3 and above the waters there
Sets the framework of his dwelling,
making it an upper layer.

He makes clouds of heav’n his chariot;
on the wings of wind he rides.
4 He makes flames of fire his servants;
winds obey what he decides.
5 He set earth on its foundations,
so that it should never move;
6 Then the deep submerged the mountains
till the waters stood above.

7 But when you rebuked the waters,
at your thunder they took flight;
8 They receded to the valleys,
flowing down the mountains’ height
To the place that you appointed.
9 You set bounds to their domain,
So that never will the waters
overwhelm the land again.

10 God makes springs pour down the valleys.
Streams that flow from every hill
11 Quench the thirst of all his creatures,
and wild donkeys drink their fill.
12 Birds sing sweetly in the branches,
nesting by the riverside.
13 From above, the earth is watered,
by God’s bounty satisfied.

14 He makes grass grow for the cattle,
plants for man to cultivate—
Bringing from the earth its produce,
food for all mankind to eat:
15 Wine that to man’s constitution
joy and gladness will impart,
Oil that makes the face resplendent,
bread that fortifies the heart.

16 Blessed with water are the forests—
trees which to the LORD belong,
Mighty cedars that he planted
on the heights of Lebanon.
17 Birds reside among the cedars;
storks upon the pine trees nest.
18 Wild goats live among high mountains;
conies in the crags find rest.

19 See the moon that marks the seasons;
to its setting moves the sun.
20 You send darkness, night approaches;
foraging has now begun.
21 Lions roar throughout the forest,
while from God they seek their prey;
22 Comes the sun, they slink back homewards.
23 Man goes out to toil all day.

You can hear a Free Church of Scotland sing this to Hyfrydol (Alleluia Sing to Jesus) here  or to the tune All that Thrills here.   Reflection I still remember it: the smell of poor quality air at Heathrow Airport. It came as a shock, as until then I was used to breathing New Zealand air.  I had contributed to that poor-quality air by flying 12,000 miles by jet aircraft! What I did not know then, but know now, is that the Carbon Dioxide emitted on that, and other, journeys was contributing to the Greenhouse Effect that was beginning to change the Earth’s atmosphere; and that, in turn, would begin to raise the average global temperature. I now know that motorized travel and industrialization exacts an environmental cost. A changing climate forms part of the lens through which I now interpret Psalm 104.

This Psalm is a poem of praise to God as Creator and a celebration of the goodness of God’s Creation. First, the Psalmist praises God for his character and attributes. God’s greatness, honour and majesty are evoked as poetic images drawn from the natural world: God wears light as a garment, the heavens are his tent, the clouds are his chariot, and the winds are his messengers. These natural forces and energies serve God’s good purposes and reveal his character as a generous Creator.

Second, the Psalmist celebrates the wondrous variety of God’s created works: mountains, valleys, life-giving water, donkeys, birds, cattle, grass, plants, grain, wine, oil, trees, goats, lions, and humans. Karl Barth comments that this Psalm reveals a God who preserves all living things ‘within their limits’. The challenge of a changing climate begs the question: will humans learn to live within sustainable limits and in harmony with God’s Creation? Let us resolve to live in partnership with our Creator, and ‘Touch the earth lightly, use the earth gently, nourish the life of the world in our care’ (Shirley Erena Murray). Prayer O God our great and generous Creator,
clothed in glorious light,
you have spoken Creation into being
and call all created energies
to serve your good purposes.
As you preserve all life
in its wondrous variety,
help us to respect our environment
and fellow-creatures
by living within sustainable limits.
Inspire us to treat the Earth
not as a resource to be exploited
but as a gift to be cherished,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen   Today's Writer The Rev’d Julian Templeton, Minister, St John’s URC, New Barnet. Bible Version   Sing Psalms! © Psalmody and Praise Committee, Free Church of Scotland, 15 North Bank St, Edinburgh, EH1 2LS Copyright © 2019 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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Six Reflections on the Trinity

Sun, 07/07/2019 - 06:00
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line-height:150% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ #templatePreheader{ display:block !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ #templatePreheader .mcnTextContent,#templatePreheader .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:150% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ #templateHeader .mcnTextContent,#templateHeader .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:16px !important; line-height:150% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ #templateBody .mcnTextContent,#templateBody .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:16px !important; line-height:150% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ #templateFooter .mcnTextContent,#templateFooter .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:150% !important; } } View this email in your browser Six Reflections on theTrinity

Dear <<First Name>>

I hope you've enjoyed our journey through the Johanine Epistles and have gained new perspectives on them for both faith and life. l We now have a short series written by the Rev'd Dr Alan Spence on the Holy Trinity.     Alan is a URC minister who retired, earlier this year from a pastorate in Kent  but still serves as the Convener of the Faith and Order Committee.  He was ordained in the Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa and has worked in the URC since 2001.  Like all good theologians (Alan has written a number of books including  Christology: A Guide for the Perplexed, The Promise of Peace: A Unified Theory of the Atonement, and Love Hurts: The Heart of the Christian Story) he is able to deal with complex ideas in a clear straightforward manner.     Over the next 6 days we will see, from the Old and New Testaments, how ideas about God being one underpin both the Jewish and Christian understanding of God and the paradox that arose with the realisation that Jesus was Lord and was, and is, worshipped and adored along with the Holy Spirit who, the early Church realised, was guide and animator.  Alan weaves together 6 key Biblical passages which show the early Christian understandings of the Trinity with poetry, prayer and even quotations from the Athanasian creed.    At the same time Alan makes these key ideas clear and vital for our own discipleship and understanding of God.   In an age when Christians often find it difficult to articulate our belief in the Trinity it's good to set aside a week to read, reflect, think and pray through our central belief in God.   with every good wish

Andy

Andy Braunston
Coordinator, Daily Devotions from the URC Project

 

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URC Daily Devotion 6th July 2019

Sat, 06/07/2019 - 06:00
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line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward 3 John 1: 9 - 15 I have written something to the church; but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing in spreading false charges against us. And not content with those charges, he refuses to welcome the friends, and even prevents those who want to do so and expels them from the church. Beloved, do not imitate what is evil but imitate what is good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. Everyone has testified favourably about Demetrius, and so has the truth itself. We also testify for him, and you know that our testimony is true.  I have much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink; instead I hope to see you soon, and we will talk together face to face. Peace to you. The friends send you their greetings. Greet the friends there, each by name. Reflection
Short letter, long division?
This short letter highlights some painful tensions in church life. There are two names in today’s verses, who never surface elsewhere in the Bible. All that we know about them is here, in and (to some extent hypothetically) between the lines.

Diotrephes (9) appears to be a local church leader, who does not want John, or anyone else, telling him what to do. He has stopped his congregation giving hospitality to travelling preachers whom John sent out. This has upset John, and he means to challenge Diotrephes – when he can get there to do so (10).

Demetrius (12), by contrast, is clearly someone John trusts. He may be one of the missionaries mentioned above. He may even be the person carrying the letter.

And the point of the letter? To persuade its recipient, Gaius, to give Demetrius and his team a friendly welcome and strong support. If Diotrephes has blocked their coming, John wants to make sure that this attitude won’t spread. He feels he can depend on Gaius, and the letter is an attempt to make sure.

Behind the personalities are important issues. Mission is one: people who take the faith to new places do need support from the rest of us. Disagreement is another: conflict can be a growth point, but some church conflict damages people and blocks the spread of the faith; we need to be careful when we disagree. Tension between local congregation and wider church can be healthy too, if it helps us to listen to each other. But the attitude of Diotrephes, “who likes to put himself first” (9), will generally cause problems wherever it crops up.

Behind all of this is what the letter calls “the truth” (12). This is a theme in all three of John’s letters. It centres on ‘confessing Jesus’, believing that his human life embodied the personal involvement and love of God. This belief shapes and sustains Christian fellowship. It holds us together, and motivates us to believe that difficulties and misunderstandings in church life are worth trying to overcome. Prayer God whose love is known in crucifixion,
teach us that truth matters
more than ego,
fellowship more than pride,
your purpose more than our position.

God whose power is seen in resurrection,
teach us hope when we meet trouble,
wisdom when we disagree,
and persistence in love.
For Jesus’ sake. Amen. Today's Writer The Revd John Proctor, member at Downing Place URC, Cambridge, and General Secretary of the URC. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2019 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion 5th July 2019

Fri, 05/07/2019 - 06:00
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line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward 3 John 1: 1 - 8 The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth. Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul.  I was overjoyed when some of the friends arrived and testified to your faithfulness to the truth, namely, how you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children are walking in the truth. Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the friends, even though they are strangers to you;  they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on in a manner worthy of God; for they began their journey for the sake of Christ, accepting no support from non-believers. Therefore we ought to support such people, so that we may become co-workers with the truth. Reflection With the advent of the email have we lost the art of letter writing?  In 3 John we have the briefest of openings to an Epistle typical of a secular letter of its time: first the greeting, next the prayer for good health, after that the main body of the letter with its news, and then final greetings. Early Christian letters were the kind of letters which people wrote to each other every day.

Some Christians from Gaius' region have reported to the author of Gaius' ‘faithfulness to the truth’.  We know nothing of Gaius except he was a lay person, a convert of the author’s perhaps, (later tradition makes him bishop of Pergamum). Gaius is praised for his extraordinary hospitality offered to some itinerant Christians.

In our modern world we wouldn’t claim hospitality as a mark of ‘faithfulness to the truth’. But in the ancient world it was much more than offering an occasional meal. Here truth is integrated with love. This would include financial assistance as well as other support so that these missionaries might fulfil the vocation to which God has called them. The ancient practice of a local stipend as a living allowance to enable ministers to live does sound familiar!

The author's response to this situation is to rejoice and to urge Gaius to continue offering such hospitality. But the author is doing more than merely requesting Gaius show the same hospitality to the missionaries when they return. He is appealing to a broader principle: all people should be supported in this way. By giving such support, Christians like Gaius become ‘co-workers in the truth’ loyally living in Christian obedience. Can we make the same claim? To fulfil this responsibility is to play our part in ‘spreading the truth’ for it is both our Christian duty and an act of Christian love.   Prayer Welcoming God,
whose love is boundless
and whose compassion
makes no distinction
between friend and stranger,
grant us generosity of Spirit
that we may faithfully walk in the truth.
Turn our indifference into hospitality
and our hard-heartedness into care
that we may participate
as true co-workers in your kingdom. Amen. Today's Writer The Rev’d Nicola Furley-Smith, Moderator of Southern Synod. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2019 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion 4th July 2019

Thu, 04/07/2019 - 06:00
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line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward 2 John 1: 7 - 13 Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist!  Be on your guard, so that you do not lose what we have worked for, but may receive a full reward. Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. Do not receive into the house or welcome anyone who comes to you and does not bring this teaching; for to welcome is to participate in the evil deeds of such a person.  Although I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink; instead I hope to come to you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete. The children of your elect sister send you their greetings. Reflection It’s hardly surprising that the early Christians were victims of false and confused messages spread by the ‘many deceivers’ whom John mentions here. After all Christianity was new and the message of love, and a Kingdom where everyone looked after everyone else, was utterly counter-cultural. It was fertile ground for the heretics who spread inaccurate stories about the new religion. Maybe I’m being generous by suggesting the heretics thought what they said was indeed true Christianity.

Perhaps more surprising is that little has changed. In the 21st Century there are people who speak as Christians and claim that their faith prevents them from engaging with sections of society, that it means they condemn other people and lifestyles, or makes them behave in certain ways. They often preface their views by stating that they speak on behalf of Christianity. The difficult bit for me, is that they believe what they say.

John is very clear in this passage; we must not let these people into the house, which seems quite harsh to us today. However, in the 1st Century missionaries relied hand-to-mouth for a living, on the hospitality of Christians; and if as a Christian you hosted a missionary, it indicated that you shared that missionary’s views. Hence in a culture where hospitality was crucial, John said don’t offer anything!

John was urging the early Christians to speak out and act against people who preached anything other than God’s love. He encouraged people to love and care for one another as Christ did before.

For 21st Century disciples, the message of John’s second letter is still spot-on: we must speak out against those who say Jesus’s love is exclusive of any sections of society, and most of all, we must share that message of a Kingdom of love - with everyone. No exceptions. Prayer Lord Jesus
we know your love is all-encompassing
and we pray that you will walk with us
sharing the times when we struggle
to stand up for what we know to be right.
Help us Lord, to spread the message
of your love for everyone
to everyone
Amen   Today's Writer Linda Rayner - Elder at Bramhall URC, URC Coordinator for Fresh Expressions (fx) and  fx Missioner at Cheadle Hulme Methodist. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2019 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion 3rd July 2019

Wed, 03/07/2019 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 3rd July 2019 table.mcnFollowContent{width:100%;} table.mcnShareContent{width:100%;} td.columnsContainer{width:30%;} p{ margin:10px 0; padding:0; } table{ border-collapse:collapse; } h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6{ display:block; margin:0; padding:0; } img,a img{ border:0; height:auto; outline:none; text-decoration:none; } body,#bodyTable,#bodyCell{ height:100%; margin:0; padding:0; width:100%; } .mcnPreviewText{ display:none !important; } #outlook a{ padding:0; } img{ -ms-interpolation-mode:bicubic; } table{ mso-table-lspace:0pt; mso-table-rspace:0pt; } .ReadMsgBody{ width:100%; } .ExternalClass{ width:100%; } p,a,li,td,blockquote{ mso-line-height-rule:exactly; } a[href^=tel],a[href^=sms]{ color:inherit; cursor:default; text-decoration:none; } p,a,li,td,body,table,blockquote{ -ms-text-size-adjust:100%; -webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; } .ExternalClass,.ExternalClass p,.ExternalClass td,.ExternalClass div,.ExternalClass span,.ExternalClass font{ line-height:100%; } a[x-apple-data-detectors]{ color:inherit !important; 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line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward 2 John 1: 4 - 6 I was overjoyed to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we have been commanded by the Father. But now, dear lady, I ask you, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning, let us love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment just as you have heard it from the beginning—you must walk in it. Reflection I don’t know about you, but I would have loved to have met this lady who is obviously highly respected by John, and entrusted to deliver his words of life and hope to her and her household. It might be possible that she was an older, more maternal character who had responsibility for lots of children. Perhaps she was a widow, but her life had been influential through her Christian faith which had touched the lives of at least some of her wards. On the other hand perhaps she was the host, or even one of the leaders of one of the churches which met in her house, something which happened much during the early days of the Church. Whoever she was she had made her mark in such a way that John feels it is worth mentioning here. He feels however, the need to endorse the new commandment of love which Jesus gave to them, by not just knowing the words themselves, but in walking in them. This is very needful for us all and easy though it is to say, or listen to in a sermon, the proof of our commitment as well as the truth in which we are believing, has to be seen to be evidenced by action. This is not an attitude that can be suddenly exhibited but one needs to walk in love which is genuine, deep in ones’ spirit, working out not only on a Sunday when everyone else can see it, but day by day, even when life is not being loving towards us. As my Mother used to say to me, “It’s not enough to say you will do something, but you must live it, and be it.”   Prayer Loving Saviour,
who taught us the way of love,
touch our hearts in a new
and transforming way,
that we may not just speak
the truth of such love,
but walk in it, work from it and share it
from our lives and hearts
witnessing to the reality of that love
every day of every year
that you grant us life.
Through the Name of Jesus,
who is our example. Amen.   Today's Writer Verena Walder, Lay Preacher and Elder, Tabernacle URC, Mumbles. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2019 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion 2nd July 2019

Tue, 02/07/2019 - 06:00
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line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Share Tweet Forward 2 John 1: 1 - 3 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth, and not only I but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us for ever: Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, in truth and love. Reflection Since I first came across the short - only thirteen verses long - and curious second letter of John, I have been intrigued about the identity of ‘the elect (or chosen) lady and her children’!

While some commentators do think that this does refer to an individual family, more consider that this is a code where ‘the lady’ represents a Church community, and ‘the children’ denotes its individual members on the grounds that it seems unlikely at this stage in Christian history that one family would have been so prominently known.  

I wonder what provoked the writer of 2 John to need to write in code?  Reading the letter as a whole it would seem that this was written in a time when the Church was being persecuted and perhaps the ‘false teachers’ were not false in the sense that they were attempting to lead the faithful astray through suspect teaching but rather that they were spies from those persecuting the community posing as visiting teachers and preachers!  

Codes have a long pedigree as a method of hiding messages.  Arguably the last thing that today’s Church needs or ought to be doing is working in code.  If ever there was a need to speak plainly that is today. But different parts of the Church do use a certain code.  I am aware in my ministry developing an ecumenical county with friends in other denominations that we each have our own shorthand and ways of speaking that seem normal to each but strange or even impenetrable to our friends.  Different parts of the theological spectrum have different ways of speaking too. Perhaps we need to check ourselves to see if we are actually talking in code when really we need to speaking plainly? Do we think we are talking plainly - without jargon - but actually might as well be speaking in a different language as far as those outside the Church - the people we are yearning to reach - are concerned?  Prayer God of the elect lady and her children,
teach us how to speak plainly.  
Plainly of you.  
Plainly of the Good News
taught by Jesus.  
Plainly of the Good News of the Kingdom.
So that we might help others
see the way to be your disciples.  
Help us to repent of our jargon
and to let go of the codes we use.  
In the name of Jesus,
Amen   Today's Writer The Rev’d Sarah Moore is a member of Carver Uniting Church, Windermere, and is currently serving as President of the United Reformed Church in Cumbria Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2019 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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