Lord, the world is full of trouble, evil, mischief, violence, pain and suffering. Help me not to be overwhelmed by it all but to know and to be reminded constantly that Jesus is alive despite everything that mitigates against his rule. Help me to live in the joy of his presence and to sing in the darkest night. I ask it in Christ’s name – AMEN.
Lord show me how to live in simplicity, after the manner of Jesus. Help me to be happy, to forget my troubles and complaints, to live today as it comes and to look to the future that is in your hands with calmness and serenity. Let me not be upset by events in the world but trust in you whatever happens. I ask it in Christ’s name – AMEN.
Lord, I look to you today to speak to me in the worship I shall offer. Fill me with love, with faith and with the courage to live a life that is an alternative in the world, renouncing cynicism, refusing despair, and daring to be different. Prompt me to live strongly and to continue to hope in the midst of problems. I ask it in Christ – AMEN.
“Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the Lord say, ‘The Lord will surely exclude me from his people’”.
Isa 56:3 NIV
Today we understand well that God is a “God for all people”. Whilst people of different cultures, languages and traditions sometimes find it difficult to mix together and work together, we know this is what God wants and we endeavour to work towards better harmony in the Christian community.
The exile was, for the Israelites, a devastating experience. But, like defeated sports captains today, some of them “looked for the positives” in the exile. For one thing it exposed the thinking people among them to the humanity of non-Israelite people. It opened their eyes to a wider sphere of people. It also meant that some of the people amongst whom they mingled saw them and were impressed with the high moral standards their faith created in them. Some of those foreigners said, “Teach us about your God”. And they became adherents of the Jewish faith. That is the kind of person to whom Isaiah was referring in this verse.
For Christian disciples the flood doors opened on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit filled them with power and the consuming desire to go out into all the world with the missionary message, “God loves you”. Paul waged a campaign within the Christian community to establish the fundamental principle “The Gentile Christians are equal in God’s love and therefore in their standing in the church with those Christians who came across from Judaism at Pentecost”. The simple truth is that God is inclusive in his love. All Christians need to recognize this and work for its implementation.
Lord, help me to be inclusive in my love too.
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