Mission Devotional - June 8, 2019

Saturday, June 8, 2019

"Belonging"

Opening Prayer: Lord God, please remind us this day that before we can fruitfully belong to each other, we first must belong to you. That is the only way that true community can ever take place. Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 133:1-3

Journal: What is your level of belonging these days? How does it manifest itself? How do you try to satisfy your need to belong? How is God inviting you to belong more deeply to him? How is God calling you to help others in their quest for belonging? How is your spiritual community helping people belong?

Reflection:For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.” We all have a deep need to belong. It is how we were made. It is woven into our DNA. It is part of what it means to be made in the image of the Triune God. When we truly belong, we experience life the way it was intended to be. And when, for some reason, we feel like we do not belong, it makes us the worst version of ourselves - needy, clingy, demanding, insecure, fearful, etc.

But before we can ever truly belong to one another, we must first belong to God. If our need to belong is not first met in him, then we will angrily move toward one another, demanding from each other what we were never intended to fully give. But if we are able, by God’s grace, to find our sense of belonging first in him, then we can experience the beauty and the blessing of community spoken of in Psalm 133; the kind of community in which God bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

Then we can finally move beyond ourselves and consider how to help make others feel like they belong as well. Then we can start to consider how we can invite them to belong more deeply to Jesus. And how we can invite them to more deeply belong to one another. Then we can dream about how we can create spaces of belonging, both within us and among us, so that people are draw to our community like moths to a flame. For only then will our life together be like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard - fragrant, rich, healing soothing. For only then will our community be like the dew of Hermon falling on Mount Zion. For only then will our community be something worth belonging to.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Global Partner Focus: Africa

Andy and Bev Warren serve with an MTW team that is involved in HIV/AIDS work and church planting through the Ethiopia Aids Care and Treatment (ACT) Project. The project targets slum communities in Addis Ababa which contain the neediest people in the community - large percentages of women with small children. In recent years, the project has served more than 500 AIDS-affected families, reaching more than 1,200 people. Pray today for Jake Smith, the new U.S. Director of Operations for Ethiopia ACT.

Safe Families for Children is an innovative collaboration between area churches, volunteers and child care professionals designed to support at-risk children and parents in need. Pray today for Janet Cockrum and her leadership for this ministry. For more information, contact Janet at jcockrum@bethany.org.

Closing Prayer: Lord God, thank you that, ultimately, I belong to you. And because I belong to you, I can freely belong to others. Help me, O Lord, to be a part of your desire to bring others into the full knowledge of that belonging - first to you and then to each other. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.