Saint Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church

1 St. Francis Drive - Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
From The Rector

The Rev.
Tim Backus

 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 

Earlier this week, I found myself in deep contemplation over one of the daily devotionals I often use to begin my morning routine. The morning of August 27, I found myself using one of my favorite devotionals, “Jesus Calling.” If you are not familiar with this resource and are looking for a spiritual practice to begin your day, I highly recommend this daily devotional: “Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence,” by Sarah Young. 

Though not of significant importance, this devotional remains the #1 best seller in ‘Inspiration and Spirituality’ through far. Out of so many wonderful devotionals that come out each year, this devotional, originally published in 2004, continues to be the most widely used. Why? 

I imagine it is not because the focus of the devotion is centered on theological doctrine or meaning from a specific perspective or denomination, but because of the enormous net the author uses to speak to a much larger audience; simply being connected with Christ. Some would consider this approach insignificant. Others would argue that it is too simplistic. While I understand the perspective others may have related to this resource, I challenge by arguing that this resource is masterful because it is simple. Sometimes we tend to take God and turn Christ into something much more than it is. Christ is the most substantial being in connection with God who has ever walked this earth; and Christ’s message was, and is, very simple. We often get caught up in the secondary understanding of Scripture or of Christ to the point that we start examining an individual tree, so to speak, instead of looking at the overall picture of the forest; to use the common analogy. 

My argument is not to say that this devotional by Sarah Young is ‘the greatest devotional ever written,’ because that depends on who you are and what you need. Everyone needs something different depending on where you are on your faith’s journey. My desire is that if you are not using a devotional, if you find yourself longing for something deeper to keep you focused on God’s presence in your daily life and do not know where to begin, begin here. Five minutes a day can have a profound impact on not just your spiritual life, but every aspect of your life. 

As mentioned earlier, this devotional casts a wide net that brings many to the table, and this resource reminds us of one of the most overlooked areas as to what it means to be Christian. Reading the morning devotional on August 27, for me, captures that profound reminder of the joy of being Christian, and what we may tend to overlook by focusing on everything else we are called to do and be as followers of Christ. The morning begins with this simple, yet significant reminder: “Spend time with Me, for the pure pleasure of being in My Company.” 

As we go throughout our daily lives, let us not forget the significance of simply being in the presence of God. This is where we refill our spiritual cup. This is where we, as branches, are called to remain connected to
the vine. Amen. 

                       * (Young, Sarah. “Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence.” Thomas Nelson, 2004).