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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Daily Devotion for March 4, 2015


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood

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 all of us who are tempted to feel sorry for ourselves, here's the sure cure: A shot of Nick.



A Prayer of Entreaty by Jane Austen

Compassionate Lord, give me a thankful sense of the Blessings in which I live, of the many comforts of my lot; that I may not deserve to lose them by Discontent or Indifference.

Be gracious to my Necessities, and guard me, and all I love, from Evil this day. May the sick and afflicted, be now, and ever thy care; and heartily do I pray for the safety of all that travel by Land or by Sea, for the comfort & protection of the Orphan and Widow and that thy pity may be shewn upon all Captives and Prisoners.

Above all other blessings Oh! God, for myself, and my fellow-creatures, I implore Thee to quicken our sense of thy Mercy in the redemption of the World, of the Value of that Holy Religion in which we have been brought up, that we may not, by our own neglect, throw away the salvation thou hast given us, nor be Christians only in name. Hear me Almighty God, for His sake who has redeemed me, and taught me thus to pray.

Amen.

Epitaph of Winifred Holtby

God give me work
Till my life shall end
And life
Till my work is done.

Amen.

Meditation

[God give me work.]


Closing

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked will I return. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Amen.


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


<i>John the Baptist</i> by Antonio Mancini ca. 1885.
John the Baptist by Antonio Mancini ca. 1885.

Colossians 3:17 (ESV)

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


Blue Latin Cross

The Road Not Taken

And Now, for Something Completely Different
T

wo roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~ Robert Frost, 1916


Notes on the Scripture

To keep us from getting in a rut, we do something different every Wednesday, and today we are reading The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.

Summary

The speaker thinks back to a time he was standing in the woods, considering a fork in the road. Both ways were equally worn and equally overlaid with untrodden leaves. The speaker chose one, telling himself that he would take the other another day. Yet he knew, even then, that it was unlikely that he would have the opportunity to do so, for “way leads onto way”, and we tend to keep following the twists and turns of the path we are on, not to go back and start over. He realizes that he might have taken the other road with a sigh — there is something about it he regrets — but he took the road that fewer people take, and it completely changed how his life went.

F



irst off, we have to understand that the meaning of the poem is complex. You cannot simply say, “the poet took the less-traveled road of creativity rather than joining a majority of conformists, and it made his life something wonderful and different.” He says that one of the roads “was grassy and wanted wear” — the grass had not been worn down by as many people walking on it. But then, in the next line he tells us, “Though as for that, the passing there/ Had worn them really about the same.” In other words, people walking had actually worn them down by the same amount. The statements seem totally contradictory.

Also, when he thinks about discussing, at some point in the future, how he took the road “less traveled by”, he does it with a sigh. There is an element of regret: but what does he regret? Is he lying about his road being less traveled (as some recent critics would tell us), making himself out to be some sort of special case when he is actually not?

There is a point, obvious when noticed but usually overlooked (by Scott Peck and many others), that serves as a starting point to understanding it. The title of the poem is “The Road Not Taken”, not “The Road Less Traveled”. The poem is primarily about the other road. Perhaps one might sum up the primary theme like this: “Even if you choose the best path in life, it will not be perfect; and by the nature of life, there will be things you missed that you might have done or had, if you had chosen another path.”

And in this is a wonderful message for Christians. We know that we have chosen the right path, because our path leads to perfection, to salvation, to eternal life and joy. But we will never quite be able to grasp God's perfection and joy in our lifetime; as much as we die to our flesh, our flesh does not die. We hold a life in contradiction just like the speaker in Frost's poem. Because we are human, we will have some sort of regret. Not a burning deep bitterness, not a wish that we had never found Christ; not by any means. The poet sighs; he doesn't wail.

Did Paul or Mother Theresa even have a wistful moment, wishing they had married and had children? It is certainly possible. Using this as our example, on the other hand, are there devout Catholics who wished that they had taken vows of celibacy and not married, so that they might have served as priests or nuns? Absolutely. But this doesn't mean that either the nun or the mother would change the path they took.

We know that we have taken the right road, and would lose everything else before we would give up Christ. He is our Alpha and Omega. He is so much the core of our identity that we say we live in Him. So we must not be perturbed about these bittersweet moments, thinking about what might have been. We sigh a bit, is all.



endless knot

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