Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK EIGHT
ORBIT – DAY FORTY
Welcome to day 40 (!) of Orbit. This is the daily devotional from the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate, and whether you have been with us since the start, or you’re joining today for the first time, we hope this will help you in your daily walk with God.
BIBLE READING: Romans 15: 5-6
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I wonder what you immediately think of when you hear the phrase “relationship with God”. It’s probably not a caricature to suggest that for the most part we imagine ourselves and God, walking along the sand, perhaps seeing only one set of footprints behind us at times, as the famous poem goes. Usually when we talk about our relationship with God in the modern church, we are really thinking about our individual connection to the Almighty.
There is definitely some of this idea in the Bible; we haven’t made it up on our own. But it is also probably true that in an individualistic culture, this idea of what a relationship with God is has been given much more of an emphasis than we actually find in Scripture.
The Bible as a whole is the story of God’s relationship with people. He creates humankind, and after the first group of them pulls away from him, he seeks to restore a relationship with them, first through a few individuals (such as Noah and Abraham), and then through a whole nation.
This nation-often referred to as – “a people”- is Israel; God’s chosen family on Earth. This relationship is long and complicated, and eventually goes somewhat sour. At that point, God opens up his offer of relationship to not just one nation, Israel, but to all nations. He does this through Jesus, who then invites us to go out and make disciples of those same nations.
Of course, God has specific relationships with individual people, but the much bigger narrative is about his relationship with people and peoples as a whole. On a global scale, this family is the worldwide, history-spanning church, but God also seems to have a relationship with us as churches – smaller gatherings of that global family, scattered through all of the nations.
And perhaps that is why God cares so much about the way that we relate to each other. Maybe that is why Paul goes to such great lengths to help churches to get over their internal conflicts. God relates to us as groups within his family, and we enjoy a relationship with him together.
Essentially, that is what we are living out in practice, when we meet together for church on a Sunday morning (or at any other time). He wants us to be united, so that he can enjoy a relationship with all of us at the same time. In this passage, Paul’s hope is that “with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He says, you must be united because in unity you relate to God.
One thing Paul doesn’t want is a divided, infighting church. He calls us to encourage one another, and grow closer to each other, because we are part of one family. So next time you find yourself in church, or a small group, or youth group – remember that this is one of the key places that you experience your relationship with God; the creator of the universe comes near to us – not only when we’re alone in a quiet place, but also when we gather in his name.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
Lord God, I thank you for your family here on earth, the church. I thank you for my brothers and sisters all around the globe, and I thank you especially for those in my local church. I ask that you would give us endurance and encouragement, and the same mind towards each other as Jesus has towards us. Bring us closer together Lord, and help us not to be divided. For your sake, Amen
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
Your challenge today is to reconnect with church in a new way. A simple way to do that might be to visit the church’s website, and have a little look and read around. Do you know what the vision of the church is right now? Are you up to speed with its activities at this time? If not, why not take the time to find out. Perhaps even take a moment to send a message to a member of the leadership team to thank them for all they do.
If you want to get in touch, you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit on Monday. Thanks for taking part today!