Daily Devotions - Saturday, 11 July 2020

DAILY DEVOTIONS

Saturday, 11 July 2020

(The video version is available by clicking HERE )

Call to Prayer   

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.   (1 John 4 : 7)

Prayer

God of the rich

and God of the poor,

God of the East and God of the West,

You created us all in your image.

Help us now to see you in the world around,

to hear you in your creation

and to still our hearts.

In Jesus’ name we pray.

Amen

Bible Reading : The Shepherds

Introduction

God decided to make a statement about who would receive the good news first. The angel of the Lord was sent to the shepherds. The good news first went to the outcasts of society on the lowest rung of the ladder, out in the fields, rather than to influential people on the top rung of society’s ladder. Yes, this message of good news in the form of a Saviour would be for the privileged of society too. But it started at the bottom and on the margins of life rather than on the top and in the middle of the city’s centre.

The shepherds’ occupation and way of life made it unmanageable for them to meet all the religious ritual requirements leading to ceremonial purity, and so they were not qualified to worship at the temple. However, the fact that they were chosen by God to be the first to receive the good news helps shape from the start this long-awaited message of hope. This Saviour, embodying good news, was meant to include the socially despised, economically depressed and religiously shunned in the world. This good news would extend to all people — nobody gets left out of this joyous news of salvation.

Yet, if the shepherds had not obeyed and instead chose to let fear be their guide, they would not have fulfilled their mission of being the first evangelists who shared the good news of great joy that was for all people. God can and does use all people so listen again to the Word of God.

Luke 2 : 8 – 20

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord.

This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”

So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.

When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.

But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Prayer

God of all humanity,

we give thanks that you see us as we are,

not as lowly shepherds

but as individuals of opportunity.

Help us to hear your call in our lives.

 

God of all humanity,

we pray today for the populations of this world

remembered with the UN World Population Day.

We pray for the staggering toll that COVID-19 has had

on people, communities and economies everywhere.

We pray for the health systems around the world that are struggling to cope.

We pray for the 47 million women in low- and middle-income countries

who are struggling to access contraception due to lockdown.

 

We pray for the rise in gender-based violence around the world due to COVID-19

and the innocent women and children who face the violence.

Grant them peace and guide the world as it responds.

 

God of all humanity,

we pray today for those facing anxiety,

anxiety about their job security,

anxiety about their health,

anxiety about leaving their home.

Help them as they make the first steps

in their future.

Guide them as they seek normality

and help us to reach out in friendship.

 

In the silence, we come with our own prayers for the world and those we know.

 

We offer all of these prayers

in the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

Amen