Daily Devotion for July 22, 2012
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.
Our "Virtual Sunday Church" this week brings us to the Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus in Cleveland, Ohio, for an anthem by Mozart.
(Note: Composers frequently repeat, omit, or put phrases out of order.)
Ave, verum corpus
Cujus latus perforatum
O Iesu dulcis,
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,
Prayer for Peace
I thank you, master and lover of mankind, King of the ages and giver of all good things, for destroying the dividing wall of enmity and granting peace to those who seek your mercy. I appeal to you to awaken the longing for a peaceful life in all those who are filled with hate for their neighbors, thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war.
Grant peace to your servants. Implant in us the fear of you and confirm in us love for one another. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement. For you are our peace and to you we ascribe glory: to the Father and the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages.
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.
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.
Psalm 90:1-2 (NKJV)
Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
1 Corinthians 1:10-17 (ESV)
The Wise and the Foolish
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Notes on the Scripture
Paul's message today recalls the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, the "beatitudes", in which Christ urges his audience to start their search for God with humility. Unlike most fields of endeavor, finding God does not hinge upon how rich you are, how smart you are, how popular or "successful" you are. Nor, for that matter, do poverty, failure and stupidity guarantee one's salvation. (As Tevye, the poor dairyman in Fiddler on the Roof, put it: "There's no shame in being poor. But it's no great honor, either!")
It is not worldly success that comes between us and our relationship with God, but rather, out attachment to it. Paul calls this boasting, but we might also call it arrogance or egotism. It can blind us to the utterly obvious fact that we did not have a hand in creating ourselves. The sun, the water and soil that keep us alive, the air we breathe: none of this have we made. For us to brag about our achievements or intelligence is like the captain of the Titanic bragging about how fast he can sail.
Thus, Paul says, God chose what is weak and foolish to shame what is wise and strong. Christ was a simple carpenter and his disciples, by and large, poor working men and women. For those who have little other than the air they breathe, water to drink, and must witness God's hand in raising food, see more clearly who it is that is keeping them alive.
Thus, God chose simple folk to bring salvation to the world, that we might understand that the successes or gifts of this life have no connection to our salvation, no standing in the eyes of God. He chose the weak to shame the strong, to show all that the attachment of a powerful person to his power was meaningless vanity.
A child will boast about his parents. So we should boast about our Father, for it is He who has done all these wonderful things. And, He loves us without question. Whatever we may own or accomplish is miniscule in comparison to His works, for we are one of His works, and anything we might do derives from God.