6th Day of Christmas Devotional

12 Days of Christmas Devotion December 30

John Wesley was heavily influenced by the Moravians – a Christian community with their homa base near to Herrenhut, Germany. The Moravian community started over 200 years ago to prepare Old and New Testament texts for every day of the week. Additionally, they choose a watchword for each month and for each year.

This year’s Watchword comes to us from Psalm 34. In our English Bibles it is found in verse 14 b, while German translations provide the identical text in verse 15. The Watchword plainly calls us to, “Seek peace and pursue it.”

What a great word for the upcoming year. We all might just have recovered from some uncomfortable encounters as family members of different convictions joined around the table during the holidays. We were challenged to keep the peace. As the old advice encourages, “Don’t talk religion or politics…” Some of us were probably more successful in that challenge than others. Now we are back in our own four walls. The next encounter of the diverse kind is very likely the family reunion sometime during the summer.

But the encouragement to seek and pursue peace can have many different reasons in our private lives as well. How to raise the children, what channel to watch, what college team to cheer for. Seek peace and pursue it!

Looking at what is in store for the global United Methodist Church and the called General Conference in St. Louis in February I must confess that I found the Moravian Watchword prophetic in character. Please pray for the delegates who come together from all over the world to seek GOD’s will for our denomination.

When you look at the image you will find that there are slivers of scripture that depict individuals – different languages, different colors – they join under the cross of Christ. They seem to be the means by which the Word of Christ is delivered to a city behind them. Over them all you find a simple bow in the sky. Remember GOD’s promise that GOD put His bow into the sky to help us believe and Him remember that GOD would never again destroy all humankind. Instead in CHRIST we find GOD’s “yes” to our existence and GOD’s promise to bringing us closer to him.

It is always well advised to explore the context of Scripture as it is quoted in different texts. Looking up Psalm 34 in my New King James Version I loved the headline the translators gave this psalm. It reads, “The Happiness of Those who Trust in GOD”. It truly is a chapter of encouragement. The Watchword belongs to a paragraph pretty much in the center of the chapter. Please read the verses 11 – 14 carefully, “Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Who is the man who desires life, And loves many days that he may see good?

“Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.”

These are truly words to live by. It is my prayer for our denomination, our church families, and every individual that we will find GOD’s grace to put this advice into action – in 2020 and beyond.

In CHRIST’s Unfailing Love

Pastor J. Paul <><

 

The artistic rendition for this word of encouragement was done by Stefanie Bahlinger, Mössingen, www.verlagambirnbach.de

 
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