Devotion – Monday 17 August 2020, by Rev Craig Morrison

Good morning, my friends: thanks, Franki

Good morning friends and church family.
The weather is turning cold this week but we are due for a thaw out by Friday again. The really good news for us is that the government has announced a step-down to level 2 of lockdown, and the opening up of many sectors of the economy and social life.

I urge you, however, not to become complacent. The relaxation of the state of disaster regulations is not a license to excess. Remain modest and moderate in your lifestyle. The coronavirus threat hasn’t “gone away”. Stay home as much as possible. Stay safe. Wash your hands whenever possible.

So now on to our devotion and reflection for today:
You know that sometimes the biblical witness can be read in its figurative sense. That is, the secondary and deeper meaning. Much of the bible is poetry, in any event, and the term “poetic license” is relevant to it.

The Bible actually starts with poetry: Genesis 1 and 2 are poems, or more probably ‘songs’ sung to aid memorisation. This is indicated by the format of the text.
Originally written in Paleo-Hebrew, we obviously lose the alliteration, hyperbole, rhyming, acrostics, etc, and other literary devices inherent in the text, once it is translated.

As you know, poetry always has a deeper meaning to it. Psalms too, are poems, or again, songs, sung corporately at specific worship events. We think that the word “selah” is a musical term.

Listen for the word of God.
Psalm 31: 21 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
“I will praise you, Lord,
for showing great kindness
when I was like a city
under attack.”

1. We have been living through the coronavirus pandemic and it has often felt like living under siege.
The original author might have experienced a village siege or he may be imagining what it is like. This latter point is probable given his use of the word ‘like’ in ‘like a city”. It helps us connect the sense of disruption that we have felt during lockdown, like we have been in a city under siege.

2. The psalmist here helps us understand that even when we live through difficult times, we can still experience God’s love. Circumstance and difficulty can’t remove or dull God’s love for us. God is present. God is with us. And we continue to experience God’s love. St. Paul remind us in his letter to the romans 8:38f
“I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love — not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!”


3. In fact, God intends for us to enjoy the wonders of his love during such times. “Love” in this context isn’t a feeling, but a real experience of God’s great providence.

Making a list is often a helpful way to connect with God’s goodness towards us. Somehow, seeing it written in our own handwriting imprints it in our minds. How about making a list of God’s providence towards you right now. You’ll be amazed at how many things you have to be grateful for.

4. During these challenging times, I bless you. Now receive and enjoy God’s love afresh today. Let God take your hand and lead you by green pastures and quiet waters.

Lord, thank you that even when we may feel like ‘a city under siege’, you are ready to demonstrate and show us your love, first-hand. Show me the wonders of your love, how deep and long and wide and high. Amen.
Have a great day.
Rev. Craig

Published by St. Columba's Presbyterian Church Hatfield

St Columba's Presbyterian Church in Hatfield, Pretoria, South Africa is a Christian Church. Our vision is to be a Christ-centred, bible-believing church that calls all to come and experience the love of Christ, in a welcoming and caring body of believers.

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