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Sunday Devotion: 19 July 2020, Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Sunday Devotions

Belonging changes everything

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Written by clergy and lay people across our Diocesan community, ‘Sunday Devotions’ is a column of short reflections based on a Lectionary reading of the day, suitable for small group discussion or personal use.

Main Readings: Genesis 28.10-19a; Psalm 139.1-11, 23-24; Romans 8.12-25; Matthew 13.24-30 (31-33), 36-43 [Isaiah 44.6-8; Psalm 86.11-17]

Supplementary Readings: Psalm 80; Matthew 12.43-50; Genesis 29.1-14; Psalm 86.4-13; Romans 9.30-10.4

“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ ” (Romans 8.15)

Years ago, I met a family who were spending large amounts of time and money so their children could compete in state and national level sport. I asked them why. The mum replied, “For belonging. I played sport for Australia for 10 years. I knew I belonged to a team and that knowledge kept me from going off the rails. I want that for my kids.” Belonging is important.

In this passage, we are told those who are led by the Spirit of God are not slaves but are adopted into God’s family. There is a surety that comes from being part of a family that can never be taken away. The passage goes on to remind us that when we suffer, or are glorified, we do so as part of God’s family.

One of the differences between being a child in a family and being a slave is that sense of unconditionally belonging. A child knows they belong to the family. A slave is owned. A slave does things because they are told, with a fear of punishment. A family member is motivated by unconditionally love, to work for the greater good of the family, often without being told.

Belonging changes everything. People make huge sacrifices of money and time so that they can have that sense of belonging, yet we have it for free in Jesus. The gift of belonging to Jesus’ family erases fear. This is a gift worth sharing and a gift our community is looking for.

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