‘Christ be near at either hand’. Let me make these simple words my prayer today. Let me know Christ’s presence in my life, Christ’s closeness to me in every moment of this day and let me welcome that presence with an open heart.
St Paul often seems over-confident, but his confidence in God is not something he has created. It was his gift from God at the time of his conversion.
As you read this reading from St Paul’s letter to the Romans, put yourself with Paul in this gesture of faith and availability.
No matter what, we are the Lord’s… Romans 14:7-9 We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
We hear a lot these days about self-help. Bookshops are filled with guides to achieve this or that target. People in the media claim that they are self-made successes. There are countless memes, (a meme is typically a photo or video) about ‘doing it for yourself’. Motivational speakers encourage us to be self-aware, to be filled with self-esteem. Perhaps you have engaged with a self-help programme? Did it satisfy or leave you wanting something more…? Perhaps it left you desiring God to step in… Of course, taking care of yourself is a compassionate, mature, adult thing to do. But self-help is not easy. There is a phrase, ‘you cannot pour from an empty cup’. Have you heard this phrase? What do you think it means for you? Where might you be filled again? As Christians, we are vessels, like those made by Jeremiah’s potter. Gathered and shaped, spoiled and made over by an attentive, loving God. Our life, and our death, are grace filled by the Father’s hands, given over by his Son’s death and resurrection. In all that we are, we are the Lord’s.
Ponder on the Questions asking do they resonate with your own experience.
Keep your thoughts in mind and re-read the reading from Romans 14 again…
In thirty-six years in Ordained Ministry Romans 14:7-9 must be the scripture I have leaned on most. It has been most helpful with the bereaved whether it was used in the funeral service or not. For me personally it gave me confidence simply to know that I belong to the Lord and it has been a comfort and assurance to those I have shared that knowledge with.
Some months ago, In a rare bout of feeling down and struggling with confidence, a number of faithful Christians were a great support and help to me. I was given a book on mindfulness. I would probably say that the visit of the giver was more of a tonic than the book itself. I must say that it’s a good book, and I read it, but it made hard work of regaining confidence. I ought to have remembered that the answer to my problems lay waiting for me in Romans 14. And like the pot in the potter’s hand I needed to be reshaped and refilled with Gods Holy Spirit.
‘Christ be near at either hand’. Let me make these simple words my prayer today. Let me know Christ’s presence in my life,
Christ’s closeness to me in every moment of this day and let me welcome that presence with an open heart.
You alone, O God, are infinite in love. You alone can speak to our condition.
You alone can search the mind and purify the heart. You alone can flow over our darkness with the ocean of eternal light George Fox 1624 -1691
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
KEEP SAFE – KEEP PRAYING Peter