Daily Devotion for August 25, 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.
(Note: Composers frequently repeat, omit, or put phrases out of order.)
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
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.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
But the Lord directs his steps
1 Corinthians 12:12-20 (ESV)
One Body with Many Members 
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.
If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be?
As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
Notes on the Scripture
The Scriptural passage from yesterday began a discussion about the diversity of the experience and expression of the Holy Spirit in different people; for both cover a wide range. The analogy is easy enough to grasp; like a person, or even a complex machine, the means by which we show God's glory to the world has a lot of dissimilar moving parts.
The danger Paul seeks to meet is the individual feeling unimportant in the great scheme of religious expression, for we are torn between two equally misguided characteristics of human nature: our tendency to place ourselves at the center of the universe, and our tendency to organize into hierarchical groups. Raw lust for power — the untempered need to be seen as "important" — tend to rise in a hierarchy. Nietzsche, the great German philosopher so beloved by the Nazis, understood this better than anyone, and wrote at great length about the "will to power".
If you wonder why political systems, or even corporations, are so beset by mediocrity and a lack of honesty, the importance of will to power explains it. Ambition is inimical to integrity and, if we are not careful, will overcome it. And the opposite also obtains, for there is also a tendency of those with less ambition to want to focus glory on a leader, who crave someone in the flesh to personify God.
The church today sees less of this than most institutions. As history shows, this has not always been true, but still, truly pious servants often find their way up the ladder of church hierarchies, and many in the congregation are able to accept that the Holy Spirit was sent by God so that our need for a leader might be satisfied by looking to God Himself, once Christ had left us.
But this is not the natural state of human organizations, and apparently was a struggle faced by the church in Corinth; it had even gone so far that some charismatic leaders had splintered groups off into sects, who identified their belief primarily with the leader, rather than with Christ.
It is critical to our worship that we feel our place as equals before God, for we all fall short of His glory. In Righteousness 101, we all get the same grade: F. Does Christ judge a president higher than a beggar? No, and in fact, the humble found His message easier to hear and accept.
All of us should use our gifts fully and not embarrassed if we are put in positions of leadership, nor ashamed if we serve unnoticed; this is the essence of Paul's message.