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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Daily Devotion for May 27, 2015


<i>Death of the Virgin</i> by Fra Angelico, ca. 1434.
Death of the Virgin by Fra Angelico, ca. 1434.

Prayers

Scripture

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Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

Amen.



For the Presence of God

O  God, be present with me always, dwell within my heart. With thy light and thy Spirit guide my soul, my thoughts, and all my actions, that I may teach thy Word, that thy healing power may be in me and in all the saints of thy church universal.

Amen.

Prayer for One's Home

Peace, unto this house, I pray,
Keep terror and despair away;
Shield it from evil and let sin
Never find lodging room within.
May never in these walls be heard
The hateful or accusing word.

Grant that its warm and mellow light
May be to all a beacon bright,
A flaming symbol that shall stir
The beating pulse of him or her
Who finds this door and seems to say,
“Here end the trials of the day.”

Hold us together, gentle Lord,
Who sit about this humble board;
May we be spared the cruel fate
Of those whom hatreds separate;
Here let love bind us fast, that we
May know the joys of unity.

Lord, this humble house we'd keep
Sweet with play and calm with sleep.
Help us so that we may give
Beauty to the lives we live.
Let Thy love and let Thy grace
Shine upon our dwelling place.

Amen.

Meditation

[May I and others know the joys of unity.]


Benediction

Lord, support me all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and my work is done. Then of Thy mercy, grant me a safe lodging, and a holy rest and a peace at last through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Amen.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.


<i>The Burial</i> by Carl Heinrich Bloch, ca. 1873.
The Burial by Carl Heinrich Bloch, ca. 1873.

The Apostles’ Creed

1 I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

2 And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:

3 Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:

4 Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:

5 The third day he rose again from the dead:

6 He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:

7 From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:

8 I believe in the Holy Ghost:

9 I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:

10 The forgiveness of sins:

11 The resurrection of the body:

12 And the life everlasting. Amen.


Blue Latin Cross

Notes on the Apostles’ Creed

First off, we need to think about what a “creed” is, in the specific context of Christian creeds, and why they exist. A creed is a statement of the core beliefs shared by a community of Christians. It consists of statements they all consider to be correct and that they all consider to be important, or fundamental, to their faith.

The primary purpose of a creed is to tie together all of the people in a church, congregation, or worship service. From the point of view of those who recite it, the creed consists of the fundamental truths that they understand and agree upon, which will make them righteous before God (or declare how they can become righteous before God). In practical terms, there is an educational element to it. Children and newcomers always have gaps in their understanding of the doctrine of their church, and a creed will lead them to ask, “Why am I saying this? What does this mean?”

Before about 1500, when the printing press made books widely available and the ability to read began to become more common, creeds were much more important, for obvious reasons. They summarized the most important teachings of the Bible (as taught by the church using them). They were the sole means of unifying Christian churches and enabled the church leaders — in practical terms, the bishopric — to understand basic Christian theology in the same way.

T

he two creeds we generally hear are the Nicene and Apostles’. The Apostles’ Creed is older and less specific on certain specific issues than the Nicene Creed. The Nicene was adopted formally by the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D.; nobody is quite sure where or when the Apostles’ Creed was created and, although scholars are convinced forms of it were created very early, there is no written copy of it dating before @ 700 A.D. It is called the Apostles’ Creed both because of its early origins, and because of an unlikely legend that each of the apostles contributed one of the 12 divisions.

Most of it seems like pretty basic doctrine that Christians today will not find controversial. The phrase most apt to concern (non-Catholic) Christians is, obviously, “I believe in the holy catholic church.” But “catholic” does not necessarily mean “Roman Catholic.” It means universal — that Christ has one church — and on this point Biblical authority is absolutely clear.

There is one and only one church. People may differ in their opinion of what constitutes this church, but belief in a holy catholic church, instituted by Christ through the Holy Spirit, is soundly supported by the Bible. E.g., “[T]here will be one flock, one shepherd.” (John 10:16) “[W]e, though many, are one body in Christ. ” (Romans 12:5) So we should not hesitate to state our belief in God’s one holy catholic church, no matter what our denomination.

The iffiest part of the creed is, “He descended into hell.” Some people believe, and contend, that this refers to a descent by Jesus into the realm of the dead between his death and resurrection, and to an actual preaching to its occupants, either offering salvation to them or declaring His own triumph over death and judgment upon those who in their earthly life did not respond to God. There is little to support this in the Bible, and a majority of Protestants question it. (Most Catholics feel obligated to follow church doctrine on the issue.) The closest statement in the Bible is 1 Peter 3:18-20.

No matter what a person believes on this issue, however, both Christ and the apostles make one thing perfectly clear: All Christians are commanded to live in love and harmony with one another. Worrying about abstruse issues of systematic theology, like what happened to Christ in the days between His death and the discovery of His resurrection, is not something the Bible commands us to do; loving one another, and living with other Christians in peace and humility, is something the Bible does command us to do, clearly and repeatedly. So shall we make divisions among ourselves about Christ's descent into hell? Could there be anything less relevant to our personal obligations as Christians?



endless knot

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