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Friday, October 28, 2016

Daily Devotion for February 20, 2013

<i>Sermon on the Mount,</i> by Henrik Olrik
Sermon on the Mount, by Henrik Olrik ca. 1880. This is a detail from the altarpiece of St. Matthew's Church, Copenhagen.



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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

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 ineffably moving prayer to the Virgin Mary is in Russian, but the text is familiar and a translation is provided below (click Lyrics).

Prayer of St. Edmund

O  Lord, into your hands and into the hands of your holy angels, this day I entrust my soul, my relatives, my benefactors, my friends and enemies, and all who confess your holy name.

O Lord, by the merits and prayers of your son, Jesus Christ, keep me today from all evil and unruly desires, from all sins and temptations of the devil, from a sudden and unprovided death, and from the pains of hell. Enlighten my heart with the grace of your Holy Spirit. Grant that I may ever be obedient to your commandments. Let me never be separated from you, O God, who lives and reigns forever, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


A Lenten Prayer

Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan; Come quickly to help me, who is assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of myself and all people, let all of your servants find you mighty to save; in Jesus name I pray,


Prayer for Those Who Have Turned Away

Grant, O Lord, peace, love and speedy reconciliation to your people whom You have redeemed with your precious blood. Make your presence known to those who have turned away from You and do not seek You, so that none of them may be lost, but all may be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, so that everyone, in true love and harmony, O long-suffering Lord, may praise your all holy Name.



Finally, let me go forth in thanks for the victory I have been given through our Lord Jesus Christ. May I be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and always remembering that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.

Christ healing the Paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda (detail) by Bartholome Murillo, ca.
Christ healing the Paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda (detail) by Bartholome Murillo, ca. 1670. (See full-size)

Proverbs 1:24-26

Because I have called and you refused to listen,
have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
because you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,
I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when terror strikes you.

Blue Latin Cross

John 5:1-9

Get Up and Walk

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids — blind, lame, and paralyzed.

One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be healed?"

The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me."

Jesus said to him, "Get up, take up your bed, and walk." And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.

Notes on the Scripture

If you read through the Gospel of John, you notice three things by the time you reach Chapter 5:

St. John Evangelist
St. John
French Bible, 1435
1) The language tends to have different layers of meaning, usually Jesus making comments on a physical event that parallels a spiritual teaching. For example, he spent a long time talking about water from a well with the Samaritan woman, but he was actually teaching about the spirit coming from the old and new covenants;

2) It is not as biographical as the other three Synoptic gospels; rather, it focuses on specific instances, each of which has a specific message; and

3) Jesus' miracles are usually presented more clearly as a "signs", to gain the attention and faith of people who will hear and understand the deeper message.

All three tendencies appear in this lesson. Rather than following Jesus in his travels, John jumps from place to place. If you look at John 4, Jesus is in Samaria. In a single line at the beginning of Chapter 5, we are transported (after an unknown amount of time) back to Jerusalem.

The story presented sounds simple; in a hospice area, where very sick people lie under open roofs hoping to be cured by a pool, Jesus heals a man on the spot. This man complains that he is unable to get to the water. Christ heals him, then, for a specific reason, in order that people will know him and believe in him, so that they can hear his lesson.

The lesson is "get up, take up your bed, and walk". The water, like the water in the story of the woman at the well, is the spirit that comes from the old covenant. But Christ has just told us that living water comes from him, himself, not from the wells and pools of Canaan. Thus, the man does not need to walk to the pool. His implicit request, that Jesus help him to the pool, is rendered unnecessary, because Jesus has brought the new "living water" to the man.

It applies to all of us. We do not need someone to help us and we do not need to go anywhere to receive the full bounty of Christ's grace. If we are spiritually enfeebled, all we need to do is get up and walk. Christ will help us. We have his Word in the Bible (and the meaning of "Word" is deep and full of meaning -- See John 1:1-14). If we have been baptized (or in some denominations, if we have simply received the Word), the Holy Spirit is already with us. All we have to do is stand up!

Christ is speaking directly to us, and His directive to us concerns spiritual, not physical, infirmity. If we are spiritually ill, we can receive a miracle, once we realize that we can "pick up our bed and walk".

endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Matthew 5:38: You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your shirt, let him have your cloak as well.

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