I just received a brief thank you note for a devotional I wrote for 6th May. I sometimes wonder if the stuff I write makes any difference, so you can imagine how much that note encouraged me. A little sugar goes a long way.
The devotion, Grace upon Grace, is reproduced below, and I commend to you the URC’s daily devotions, available by email or podcast. Click here to read my devotion on the URC’s website. Click here to see the latest devotions or to subscribe.
You also have the liturgy selection based on this week’s passages from the RCL, but first a lovely craft illustrating the tree of life from Revelation, useful for many times and situations.
You will need:
- green printer paper (2 or 3 sheets per tree)
- PDF of Tree and leaves – Click here
- Brown pens or crayons
- Glue stick
- Optional: mini pegs if you want to use this as a prayer tree.
What to do:
- Print out the tree and leaves PDF onto green paper. Each sheet has two trees on. You will need 4 or 6 (2 or 3 sheets) for each finished tree.
- If you want to make a larger tree you can use the original image file (click thumbnail) and print onto A4 or A3 card.
- Cut around the trees and leaves
- Colour the trunks brown and fold the trees in half along the dotted line.
- Glue half of one tree to half of another, and repeat until all the trees are joined.
- On the leaves you can either write the verse from Revelation 22:2 “The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations”, or you can write prayers on the leaves, or names of countries or people who need healing.
- Glue or peg the leaves to the tree.
Liturgy for the Sixth Sunday in Easter
Psalm 67, Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5, John 14:23-29
Confession and Absolution
Hear the words of Jesus:
“Those who love me will keep my word.”
we confess that we have not kept your word.
We have tried and failed,
or we have forgotten to try,
or trying seemed too hard.
But in our heart of hearts we want to please you
and we are saddened when our actions don’t match our aim.
Forgive us, we pray.
Lord, forgive us.
May our Lord Jesus,
finder of lost sheep,
restorer of the broken and hurt
raise us from despair to hope,
and fill us with new life in Christ.
Hear the words of Jesus:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
Blessing and Dismissal
May God be gracious to us and bless us.
May God make his face to shine upon us.
May God continue to bless us
and let all the ends of the earth revere him.
May the Father who gives us the water of life, reveal to us his face.
May the Lamb who is our light, guide our steps.
May the Spirit whom the Father sends, send us
to live for God’s praise and glory.
URC Daily Devotion 6th May 2022
St John 1: 6 – 18
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
Grace Upon Grace. Doesn’t that conjure a lovely picture of God’s goodness and generosity? We receive grace heaped upon grace, pressed down, shaken together and running over.
Such a contrast to the Old Testament, where we only had the fusty law of Moses. We can throw all that old stuff away, now that we have grace and truth through Jesus.
Many modern translations give that impression, saying “one blessing after another” or “grace after grace” in contrast with the (presumably not gracious) law given through Moses.
But that’s not what it means. Jesus and Moses are not opposites, one with grace and one without, but examples of two types of grace.
The Greek word is ‘anti’ – grace anti grace. But anti does not mean ‘opposing’ or ‘against’, like it does in English. It’s not saying that Jesus is the opposite of Moses, or that there’s grace now and there wasn’t before. As if God were not gracious before Jesus.
No. God always has been gracious and always will be gracious. So what does ‘grace anti grace’ mean?
The word means ‘in exchange for’, or ‘following as a result of’. So the grace of Jesus is as a result of the grace of Moses, in exchange for the grace of Moses. The NIV helpfully has “grace in place of grace already given.”
That’s all well and lovely, but what does it mean for my discipleship today?
It means I can expand my view of how God blesses, and through whom he blesses. God blessed through Moses, through law and prophets, through foreign kings, slave girls, disaster and abundance, nature (even a donkey!) and ultimately, through Jesus. All are God’s grace after grace.
So I can see God working and speaking today through all sorts of unlikely channels – they don’t have to be Christian for God to use them. Where will I see God’s grace today? And where will I show it?
God of grace upon grace,
thank you for the blessings you have lavished upon me unseen,
the goodness I have not recognised,
the grace unnoticed.
And most of all, for Jesus:
the Word made flesh,
the one who dwells among us,
the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Fay Rowland, graduate researcher at Wesley House, Cambridge, worshipping at Christ the King.