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Daily Devotion for January 20, 2013
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 takes us to the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.
2. O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us still in grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
and free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.
3. All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given;
the Son, and him who reigns
with them in highest heaven;
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.
Music by Johann Crüger (1647)
Lyrics by Martin Rinkart (1663), tr. Catherine Winkworth (1858)
For the Spirit of Prayer
Almighty God, who pours out the spirit of grace and of supplication to all who ask for it; Deliver me, when I draw near to you, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, so that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections, I may worship You in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer for the Morning
The night has passed, and the day lies open before me. As I rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of your presence fill me with love for you and my fellow man, holy God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Abide with me, I pray, now and for ever.
Confession of Sins, with a Prayer for Contrition and Pardon.
Most merciful God, whose eyes are too pure to behold iniquity, and who has promised forgiveness to all those who confess and forsake their sins; I come before you in a humble sense of my own unworthiness, confessing my many transgressions of your righteous laws. [* Here make a short pause, to remember and confess the sins and failings of that day.] But, O gracious Father, who desires not the death of a sinner, look upon me, I beseech you, in mercy, and forgive me for all my transgressions. Make me deeply sensible of the great evil of them; and work in me a hearty repentance; that I may obtain forgiveness at your hands, who is ever ready to receive humble and penitent sinners; for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, my only Savior and Redeemer.
Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Christ Jesus, before ascending into heaven, You promised to send the Holy Spirit to Your apostles and disciples. Grant that the same Spirit may perfect in my life the work of Your grace and love. and that I may bear my cross with You and, with courage, overcome the obstacles that interfere with my salvation; Teach me to be Your faithful disciple and animate me in every way with Your Spirit.
May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord, this day and through the coming week. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions today, and 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.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
The Lord is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
All your works praise you, Lord;
your faithful people extol you.
They tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might,
so that all people may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
John 1:1-5 (NKJV)
In the Beginning
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shined in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Notes on the Scripture
Of the many beautiful passages in the Bible, I think this is my personal favorite. It has certainly appeared the most often as the daily Bible reading.
The test of great poetry is that you cannot say it another way without losing some of the meaning. You cannot describe it in prose and get 100% of the meaning. The full meaning can only be grasped slowly, by reading it repeatedly. You can, however, help yourself (or others) appreciate it and fully understand it by making some of the meaning more literal.
"The Word" refers to Christ before he became human. At the same time, "the Word" refers to God the Creator. John tells us that "in him was life, and the life was the light of men". This is backwards from how we usually think of Christ. We usually think of Christ as the light which brings life to men. But John goes back one step. He tells us that life was in Christ from the beginning of time. This life is then depicted, metaphorically, as light that shined in the darkness.
This is the light of men. It is not the light of plants, the light that gives physical life. If you have not considered it before, all physical life originates from the sun. All food originates from plants, which take the sunshine and use their chlorophyll to combine the sun's energy with chemicals; if this didn't happen, there would be no food at all.
But there is another kind of light, the light of men. Just as there would be no physical food, and everything on earth would die, without the light of the sun, so our souls would die without the light of Christ.
The darkness is life without knowledge of God, or without Christ's grace. It depicts a general absence of everything humanity has learned and obtained by hearing and reading words that originated from God. It also gives us an image of the creation, the darkness of outer space before there were stars.
But the light of the sun and other heavenly bodies (the moon, the stars) is something all humanity understands. Even the blind can feel the sun's warmth. The light that came from life, however, was incomprehensible to mankind. The life that was contained in Christ, from the first moment of creation, was invisible to humanity until it was made manifest by God.