Daily Devotion for August 20, 2012
A mosaic of Christ enthroned, surrounded by angels, in Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Italy, c.500 AD
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.
You might want to turn your sound up, as this recording is very soft.
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.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
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.
When one door closes, another opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.
~ Alexander Graham Bell
1 Corinthians 11:17-22 (ESV)
The Lord's Supper
But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.
When you come together, it is not the Lord's supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk.
What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.
Notes on the Scripture
We often forget how difficult it is to bring a group of people into reasonable harmony in any undertaking. One can draw a mental picture of a meeting of the church in Corinth. A hodgepodge of uninstructed Greeks, Jews, and others, with different backgrounds, rich, poor, workers and owners, all coming together to celebrate the Lord's Supper — and no Bible, remember, to guide them.
These were people who would not normally have spoken when passing in the street. Eating a meal in the same room would have been uncharted territory for many of them. For Jews, sitting down to eat with the unclean was forbidden. A rich Gentile, although not forbidden from sitting at table with slaves, would hardly be accustomed to it.
So they would all bring their supper after their custom and following their own mind, forming into little self-interested cliques, believing different things. Paul tells us some would get drunk and others would go hungry. In a word, chaos. Nobody really knew what to do or how to act, even if they might be genuinely touched by the Spirit.
Thus, Christ gave Paul both the duty and the authority to do some of the detail work, the scut work as it were, to explain to new Christians how to live and worship in a Godly fashion, both in private and in society.
Some of 1 Corinthians (and other Epistles) seems odd in dealing with comparative minutiae; we have just had a prime example, for why would somebody as busy with important work as Paul be dealing with how people should cut their hair or whether women should wear a veil in church. Clearly, such matters were not a primary concern to him, for he had spent eighteen months in Corinth (Acts 18:1-18) and left without mentioning the subject.
He had clearly underestimated how petty, headstrong, and contentious people can be. Thus, much of the Epistles are concerned with rectifying divisions over what seems to us rather small details of Christian life. But Christianity is a religion of submission and obedience, for its most basic precepts run contrary to our instincts and appetites; and so, people became mostly willing to listen, for they had discovered that by listening they might find both wisdom and salvation.