Daily Devotion for August 6, 2012
Faith Academy, Davao, Philippines, an international Christian school.
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.
This is a soft worship song, despite its title, written and performed by Darlene Zschech
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
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.
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
But the Lord weighs the spirits.
1 Corinthians 7:17-24 (ESV)
Live as You Are Called
Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.
Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called.
Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ.
You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.
Notes on the Scripture
In today's Scripture, Paul celebrates the commonality of Christians who are not otherwise connected. From almost the earliest days, Christianity had to struggle with fundamental differences among people who were the fertile soil of Christ's "Parable of the Sower", people who heard the word, and it took root and flourished. The Middle East has always been a melting pot, an odd point of juncture for Asia, Europe, and Africa where many cultures collided.
The squabbling began as soon as the church started, for Christ and his disciples were all Jews, as insular a society as one could want. They would not even eat a meal with a Gentile or enter his house. Much of Acts and several epistles describe the shock to these people when Gentiles wanted to join their churches and worship Christ. They spoke different languages (Aramaic, Greek, or Latin mostly), they had different moral codes and, most telling, many of them lacked circumcision, the one defining mark to the Jew of a covenant with God.
Paul reminds us today that Christianity is not a nation, a culture, or a social class. Nor is it just some sort of international or cross-cultural friendship club, for it asks much more than that. It asks that we accept that our station in life is, ultimately, trivial. Preparing for our eternal life and living in the light of God's love are so transcendently important, that we disdain earthly station.
In human terms, there is nothing a slave or bondservant wants more deeply than his freedom. And yet Paul tells them not to be concerned about it. For if our mortal life is all there is, whether it is spent in service to a random master or whether we are free men and women is critically important; but it is not. It is a period of preparation and trial.
And so, our brother is not the person who looks like us, speaks our language, dresses like us, votes like us, lives in our country. These matters are trivial. Our kinship is among those who confess Christ as their Lord and Savior and live in the Holy Spirit.
Daily Prayer is based in the United States and the prayers and Bible are in the English tradition. But our community is not American or Commonwealth, or even English-speaking. It is not Anglican or Orthodox or Baptist or Catholic or Coptic. We remember and celebrate today our true community, our brothers and sisters in Christ, wherever they may find themselves in their brief journey on earth.