Daily Devotion for July 11, 2012
Front view of the magnificent Ghent Altarpiece by Hubert and Jan van Eyck, 1432.
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.
What a magnificent setting for the feeling we get, when we look up at the sky and suddenly realize how great God's creation truly is.
The heavens are telling the glory of God,
The wonder of his work displays the firmament;
Today that is coming speaks it the day,
The night that is gone to following night.
In all the lands resounds the word,
never unperceived, ever understood.
Music by Josef Haydn
Lyrics translated by Robert Shaw, based on Psalm 19.
Prayer for the Morning (written by Metropolitan Philaret)
Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me.
For the Human Family
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human race, O Lord; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
will dwell among the wise.
Whoever ignores instruction despises himself,
but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.
The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom,
and humility comes before honor.
Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (ESV)
"You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth."
Notes on the Scripture
If you have ever known any Orthodox Jews, the passage from Deuteronomy will ring a bell. It is part of the Mosaic law and is followed literally by them. Small cases called "phylacteries" are worn on the forehead and arm (at least during worship) which contain passages of Scripture written on paper. They literally bind the words on their hand and between their eyes. Similarly, they will keep a "mezuzah", Scripture written on a piece of parchment, attached to the post of their front door.
But Christ released us from literal compliance with the Law. It continues to exist and in fact forms the basis of Christian morality, but we are obliged to follow it in spirit, rather than to the letter, and not because compliance with it is our means to God's grace. Christ "fulfilled" the Law for us. In fact, Jesus himself would contravene Jewish Law when it conflicted with his message of loving one's fellow man. One of the primary catalysts for his execution was that he healed on the Sabbath, thereby breaking the Law interpreting the fourth commandment, concerning the Sabbath.
But, even taken figuratively, this passage delivers a powerful message on how important it is for us to read, absorb, recite and teach the word of God in our daily lives. Once or twice a week is not going to cut it. And even if it seems like a chore, it is a chore like brushing our teeth or taking a shower, for it is an activity that, if done every day, will make us feel better and improve our lives.
How much is enough? Well, "when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise."
The meaning of the passage clearly anticipates that we will learn much of the Scripture by heart and be able to think about it, and consider its meaning, as we go about our daily business. Daily Prayer tries to find important passages, which are printed for ten days at a time, that might be helpful. This week's passage, Christ's words about judgment, are an excellent place to start. If you memorize this and say it four times a day, you will almost certainly find that you have less anger in your life, more acceptance of things you cannot change, and a sense of peace coming from the realization that God, not you, is in charge of how everything turns out.