A Devotional

(Jesus said) For where two or three are in my name, am I among them. Matthew 18:20

We go to church to hear God’s word and share in his supper; also, to be in community with our fellow Christians in order to support one another through peace, sadness, and joy.

In his celebrated commencement address (over fifteen million views on YouTube), former Navy SEAL Admiral William H. McRaven offered ten lessons to the University of Texas at Austin graduating class—lessons he learned training to be a SEAL (SEALs, an acronym that stands for, Air, and Land– the three theaters of the Navy commandos’ operations). The second of the ten lessons is about the group.  He is talking about changing the world. From a Christian point of view, that would be evangelism.

“If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle. ” Are we changing “my” world or “our” world? Humans tend to stuff together. Getting along with each other takes time and patience and perseverance but in the long run, it’s worth it.  So paddle away and ask for some companionship. The more paddles the better!

Our Christian community not only supports each other, but as a group it reaches out to the community in the name of Christ. For example, Bethany’s monthly food distribution models Jesus feeding the five thousand   (Mark 6:30-44)—our faith expressed by what we do.    

John Donne (1572-1631, rhymes with “sun”) was an English poet, who later became a cleric in the Church of England. He is noted for his religious verse and treatises and for his sermons, which rank among the best of the 17th century. One of his devotions contains two quotes that are widely known. The first, “No man is an island,” speaks about community; the second, “For whom the bell tolls” points out a common feature of life we all share.

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. (From Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, and Several Steps in my Sickness published in 1624).


Lloyd Shupp