Daily Devotion for August 8, 2020
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.
Patricia Neway was the original Mother Superior in the Sound of Music, and she won a Tony Award for her performance. I believe she was the last person to both act and sing the part in the original stage and movie productions (other actresses having used dubbed voices).
This 1960 clip from the Ed Sullivan has her singing the inspirational “Climb Every Mountain”.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, I thank you this morning for all that I have. Even if I have problems with my health, I am alive today. If I have money problems, I will eat today. I have clothes to wear, a roof to protect me, and air to breathe.
Let me never take for granted these gifts of life, oh Lord, but always remember that they come from you; without you, no man could make the sun shine or the tree bear its fruit. I pray to live this day in joy and thankfulness for what I have, remembering always who made me and who keeps me. In the name of Christ I pray,
Holy Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that You died on the cross for my sins and rose from the grave to give me life. I know You are the only way to God so now I want to quit disobeying You and start living for You. Please forgive me, change my life and show me how to know You.
Benediction (from the Epistle of Jude)
Now all glory to you, great God, who is able to keep us from falling away and will bring us with great joy into your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to you who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time!
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What do we learn in John 14:6?
Now these persons about whom I have been speaking have found the secret of touching hearts; as they are no longer on the lookout for their own advantage, they do not even know whether they are doing good.
In a certain sense, they do not even desire to do good; rather they have only one desire: to follow the impulse of the Holy Spirit. As to good or poor success, they calmly leave that to God… Let us call on the Spirit, therefore, so that she call fill us with her gifts.
~ Madeleine Sophie (Barat), 1827,
speaking about the teachers at her school
1 Thessalonians 5:23-28 (DP)
nd now, may the God of Peace Himself sanctify you completely, preserving your spirit and soul and body without flaw for the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Know that He will do this, for our God is a faithful God.
Pray for us. Greet your fellow saints with a holy kiss. And I charge you before God, make sure this epistle is read to everyone in the church.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
23 Himself the god of peace may he sanctify you perfect [r]Or complete. Do not read “perfect” as an adverb; “sanctify” has a double direct object (called an object-complement). Read “sanctify you to be perfect,” i.e. “so that you are perfect.” , and flawless [s]Or complete (predicate adjective of preserve). of you the spirit and the soul and the body blamelessly in the coming of the lord of us Jesus Christ preserve.
24 Faithful is the one calling you, which also he will do.
25 Brothers, pray also concerning us.
26 Greet the brothers all with kiss holy.
27 I adjure you the lord [t]Idiomatic double direct object of persons, peculiar to oaths: I adjure you by the Lord. to be read the epistle to all the brothers.
28 The grace of lord of us Jesus Christ with you.
v. 23 – [r] or complete; [s] or complete (predicate adjective of preserve).
v. 27 – [t] Idiomatic double direct object of persons, peculiar to oaths: I adjure you by the Lord.
Notes on the Scripture
As with the introduction, the concluding words signal the theme of the letter. It comes as no surprise that Paul returns to sanctification, an issue very much on his mind in regards to the church of Thessalonica. Although it is short, by comparison to many of his later epistles, 1 Thess. contains some of Paul’s best writing on Christian holiness; what is expected of us, and what we should expect.
He certainly lets us know that our growth in sanctification lies, at least partially, in our own hands. And it should have not come as a surprise to the church at Thessalonica, for at several points he has used terms like “just as you are doing.” Many or most of them understand the nature of the great gift they have received. The tone of the letter is encouraging rather than corrective, as many of the later letters will be.
Why does Paul say, “Pray for us,” and why does he mention so often his prayers for them? When thinking of sanctification, one might be tempted to reason: Why bother praying for the holiness of my brother or sister, when the resurrection will certainly consummate the person’s sanctification? Especially given Paul’s emphasis on the Day of Judgment in 1 Thess., one might not see much sense in it.
There is more than one area, however, where we follow God’s instructions whether or not we understand them. There is a modicum of mystery in Christianity. We must always keep in mind that Paul is not simply a talented and dedicated evangelist, but an apostle of Christ. Paul is Christ’s agent; his words carry the weight of the Deity.
If we want a reason, we might infer that holiness comes to us, in part, by the active participation of other believers in our lives. Our participation by prayer in the holiness of our brothers and sisters is God’s; perhaps it might somehow assist them. Looking at the letter as a whole, one gets a sense that we are each personally accountable for the faith of other Christians. A church appears to be something more than the sum of its parts.
All One in Christ
The conclusion carries a famous line that flummoxes many a Christian: “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” The usual rationale for not following this teaching literally might sound familiar: Paul simply intended that they use the accepted greeting of good friends within the society of the time. So today, a handshake is the same thing. But there is a real problem with this rationale: It was not the habit of Macedonians in the 1st century, and was definitely not the habit of Jews, to kiss people outside their family! They were in some ways less likely to do so than we, for husbands did not even kiss their wives in public.
This teaching caused as much consternation in the early church as it does today, but for a different reason. They were most uncomfortable with a woman kissing someone other than her husband. And by the time of Augustine, holy kisses were shared only by people of the same gender. We, on the other hand, might find it easy enough to kiss someone else’s spouse (chastely), but generally balk the most at men kissing one another.
It says what it says. If we test the matter against the Gospel, we should be greeting each other with a “holy kiss.”