St. Mary’s Wavendon
St. Mary’s Wavendon

Daily Inspiration

The following extracts from James Bryan Smith’s ‘Hidden in Christ’ are published with permission – our grateful thanks to Prof. Smith for generously allowing us to share these free of charge. He is one of the world’s best Christian writers and I can’t recommend his books highly enough, they have benefitted me hugely.  He also publishes a podcast ‘Things Above’ which you can access here.

These devotional reflections are based on Colossians 3:1-17 – one of the great passages of scripture.  Each takes a single word for our daily inspiration.  And if you miss one, check the ‘archive’ tabs for previous days!

Day 2 - 'With'

One of Jesus’ names is Immanuel, which means “God with us”.  We have a choice between two ways to live: with God or without God.  The first way is like mowing with a self-propelled engine: the second is like mowing without it.

 

My greatest regret as a Christian is that for many years, I thought faith amounted to keeping a set of rules.  My greatest source of frustration came from the fact that I tried, for many years, to live the Christian life by my own strength.  I became part of organised Christianity, but the problem was that I didn’t live up to the standards I professed to live by: I assumed God was frustrated with me and I was miserable.

 

The solution came when I learned about my identity in Christ and the power of the kingdom of God.  It turns out I was missing two essential ideas in Christianity: Christians are indwelt and empowered by Jesus, and we have access to a life with God (the kingdom of God) every moment of our lives.  All those years I had it wrong.  I cannot make myself a Christian by obeying all the rules.

 

St Paul writes in Colossians 1:1, “So if you have been raised with Christ...”  Notice the language: “you have been.”  It is a reality, a truth, a completed act. This is who I really am, not because of what I do, but because of what God has done.  I really died with Jesus and I really rose with him, and he really lives in me.  When I walk in the Spirit I find a strength I never knew I had access to, wisdom I never found in my own small brain and a joy I never imagined.  I can do all of this because God is with me.

 

And God is within you, calling you to live the Christian life not out of your own willpower, which will always fail, but by the power of Christ, through whom you can do all things, even more than you can ask or imagine.

Day 1 - 'Raised'

As Christians we put a lot of focus on the cross.  It is at the centre of most churches and the subject of most sermons.  We even wear it on necklaces.  In contrast, much less attention is paid to the resurrection.  Without the resurrection, evil would have won.  The resurrection is God’s great ‘YES’ to the world.

 

Death is the great enemy, but it has been defeated. Sin is the great destroyer, but it too has been defeated.  Both of these menaces have been defeated by the greatest event the world has ever witnessed: the resurrection of Jesus.

 

And it is all a gift from God. I did nothing to deserve it. He did not merely die to get me into heaven, but to get heaven into me.  His life – pure and powerful – now lives in me.  I am in Christ, and Christ is in me.  St. Paul begins Colossians with “Since you have been raised with Christ,” because that is the fundamental truth about who I am.  Whatever we face, we do not face it alone, but with the one who now rules and reigns in the heavens, prays for us and will see to it that in the end we will laugh until it hurts, because the beauty of God is overwhelming.

 

Jesus is the King of the Universe, the ruler of all. You and I have been raised with him, alive to the world above, where he is.  And since Jesus is now in the position of authority as the resurrected Lamb and Lion, nothing, absolutely nothing, can prevent our access to God and his glorious realm.

 

God gets the last word. And God is good.  And it is going to be well.  All manner of things will be well.

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Sunday Services

1st Sunday

9.30am Family Communion with Childrens' Church
  

2nd Sunday

8.30 am Traditional Communion using the Book of Common Prayer

9.30 am Cafe Church

 

3rd Sunday

9.30 am Family Communion with Childrens' Church

 

4th Sunday

9.30 am Morning Worship

 

5th Sundays (when appropriate)

9.30 am Family Communion with Childrens' Church

 

To get full details about what's going on in St. Mary's for this month, please click here.