You will seek me, and you will find me, when you seek me with all your heart," Jeremiah 29v13.
Dear friends ♡
I've written this devotion four times because my laptop continued to shut down, without warning. Despite the fact that I saved each draft, the restart deleted all copies. I think the wording of the post has changed a few times over the rewrite, but I'm glad for the chance to remember and return to the message again and again. It has given me strength, and quietude. I pray that it ministers to you. With all my love.
The book of Ephesians was a piece of smudged parchment, a letter written for and shared between believers in Ancient Greece. The letter, written by the apostle Paul, asked believers to consider the gospel of peace and pursue communion between Gentiles and Jews. At the time, the idea that the Jews and Gentiles might reconcile in worship seemed impossible. How could the nation of Israel overlook the hurt, hostility and persecution that deeply affected their history? No one could envision this. The people of God must have felt afraid. Betrayed? Did they wonder why God would ask them to comfort their persecutors with the promise of his peace?
His cry, father, forgive them, extended to the Jew and Gentile alike. Their sin in equal measure. Even his followers, the ones who listened to him preach about the kingdom of heaven, turned their backs and called for his death in their fear. Even so, Jesus advocated their forgiveness and peace. By the virtue of his love and compassion, Jesus established a new reality-----communion between the unlikely: Jew and Gentile, the human with the divine. His sacrifice on the cross changed everything.
"When they came to the place called The Skull, Jesus was crucified, along with two criminals, one on His right and the other on His left. 'Father, forgive them,' Jesus cried. 'For they know not what they do,'" Luke 23v24. In this moment, "Jesus broke down the barrier of the dividing wall of hostility," Ephesians 2v14.
Another barrier was broken on the day of the cross. Hung in the holiest of holy places, the divide between humanness and the divine was destroyed:
"When Jesus cried out in a loud voice and yielded up His Spirit, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split. The tombs broke open, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised,” Matthew 27v51.
In this moment, not only were Jews and Gentiles brought into communion as the body of Christ, but the kingdom of heaven made manifest on earth. The divine presence of God bridging the divide between cultures, socio-economic standing, and race, bringing believers "from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages" into relationship with one another under God the Father, Revelation 7v9.
In the anxious world, where uncertainty surrounding finances, health and security affect our peace, I pray that we ask for the eyes to see eternity in heaven's presence on earth. Let us remain attentive to one another as Jesus is attentive with us. An ever-present comfort in time of sacrifice and loss. Let us come into communion with one another, even in isolation, "letting the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, to which indeed we have been called in one body," Colossians 3v15.
Lord Jesus Christ,
By your glory, holiness and love. By your patience in suffering you hallowed earthly pain and gave us an example of obedience and trust in your Father’s will. Be near us in times of stress, uncertainty and pain. Sustain us by your grace that our strength and confidence will not falter. Let us see eternity in small things, beauty in remembering moments of joy. Look upon us with mercy, and forgive my misplaced focus. May your healing hands rest upon the world. May your life-giving powers flow to the depths of our souls, cleansing, purifying and restoring us to wholeness and service to your kingdom. Lord, before you I bring the coronavirus, the health of all in contact with symptoms, the mental stamina of individuals in self-isolation. Having struggled with fatigue over the last weeks, I can only imagine a little of what this must feel. Lord, will you protect caretakers, especially those with children and elderly family members. Will you comfort and protect my family. May they feel and recognise my love for them. Lord, I pray this for families around the world. Lord, I pray that the people in my mind may feel encouraged, rested and represented in response to loneliness. We ask your will, kindness and clarity to be move us to action. Let imagination and science be at the heart of your presence in this place. Amen.