Daily Devotion for January 27, 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 hear the St. Olaf College Chapel Choir in concert.
Than a carol, for to sing
The birth of this our heavenly King?
Awake the voice! Awake the string!
Dark and dull night, fly hence away,
And give the honor to this day,
That sees December turned to May.
Why does the chilling winter's morn
Smile, like a field beset with corn?
Or smell like a meadow newly-shorn,
Thus, on the sudden? Come and see
The cause, why things thus fragrant be:
'Tis He is born, whose quickening birth
Gives life and luster, public mirth,
To heaven, and the under-earth.
We see him come, and know him ours,
Who, with his sunshine and his showers,
Turns all the patient ground to flowers.
The darling of the world is come,
And fit it is, we find a room
To welcome him. The nobler part
Of all the house here, is the heart.
Which we will give him; and bequeath
This holly, and this ivy wreath,
To do him honour, who's our King,
And Lord of all this revelling.
What sweeter music can we bring,
Than a carol for to sing
The birth of this our heavenly King?
Music by John Rutter
Lyrics by Robert Herrick (1591-1674)
Prayer for the Day Ahead
Who can tell what a day might bring? Therefore, gracious God, cause me to live every day as if it were to be my last, for I cannot know not that it not. Help me to live this day as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
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 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 hatred for their neighbors, thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war.
Grant peace to your servants. Implant in them the fear of you and confirm in them love one for another. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement.
I pray, Lord our God, for all those who suffer from acts of war. I pray for your peace and your mercy in the midst of the great suffering that people are now inflicting on each other. Accept the prayers of your Church, so that by your goodness peace may return to all peoples. Hear us and have mercy on us. For you are our peace and to you we ascribe glory: to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages.
Now the God of patience and consolation grant to me, and to all who pray in the name of Christ, to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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.
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Do not trust in princes,
In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.
His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In that very day his thoughts perish.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them —
he remains faithful forever.
The Right to Become the Children of God
He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Notes on the Scripture
The first sentence gives one of the important concepts of Christianity. When Christ was born, God entered the world that He had made, but the world did not know him. It did not recognize him and it did not partake of him. By becoming human, God humbled himself to be one of the creatures he had made. But humanity did not know him and did not receive him.
When John tells us that the world did not receive Christ, there are several simultaneous meanings. The most apparent is in the old-fashioned meaning of "receive", harkening back to the time when people more commonly used the term "receive visitors". When there were no telephones, people would call on each other in person. The friendly thing to do would be to invite them in for conversation and perhaps some refreshment, i.e., receive them. The alternative was to have the butler or maid tell the visitors that the person was "not at home".
But this is a philosophical passage, and John means also that people did not invite Jesus into their hearts and minds. They did not receive him, in the sense that a radio might not receive a signal.
And then, there is that wonderful last sentence. Those humble or smart enough to receive Christ got something more precious than anything else in existence: the right to become the children of God.