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Friday, October 28, 2016

Daily Devotion for March 20, 2013

<i>Christ and Sinner</i> by Henryk Siemiradzki ca. 1875
Christ and Sinner by Henryk Siemiradzki ca. 1875. This depiction of Christ meeting Mary Magdelene uses both light and color to symbolize good and evil. Blues, the color of the heavens, appear to the left, from where Christ and His followers come, whereas the browns of earth dominate to the right. The brothel is in deep shadow; and notice that Mary’s head and shoulders are shadowed, even though she has come outside into the light and is on the verge of epiphany. (Full-size)



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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.


A song of dedication by the contemporary Christian group, Hillsong.

Celtic Prayer for the Morning

I  will kindle my fire this morning in the presence of the holy angels of heaven; Without malice, without jealousy, without envy, without fear; without terror of any one under the sun, but the Holy Son of God to shield me.

God, kindle thou in my heart within a flame of love to my neighbour, to my foe, to my friend, to my kindred all; To the brave, to the coward, to the man in the street, O Son of the loveliest Mary, from the lowliest thing that lives to the Name that is highest of all. In the name of Christ, I pray.


Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;

That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.



Holy God, I pray to be filled with your Holy Spirit for the rest of this day. Let me go forth, walking with your Spirit in my heart, that I may be filled with the joy and energy and praise for your entire creation, thankful in the many gifts you have given me, and showing forth your light in my every word and deed. This I pray in Christ's name,


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

Devotional painting of
Saint Peter as Pope, Peter Paul Rubens ca. 1610. (Full-size)

Psalm 148:1-5

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.

Blue Latin Cross

John 6:60-71 (NKJV)

Many Disciples Turn Away

Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it?"

When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, "Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe."

For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father."

From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?" He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.

Notes on the Scripture

The reference in the first sentence is to Christ stating that his disciples would "eat his flesh" and "drink his blood" and that, like manna, He had come down from heaven. (John 6:25-59) This drives away many of his disciples. ("Disciples" is used here in the broader sense, to indicate the people who had followed Him across the Sea of Galilee from the place where He fed the 5,000. The twelves apostles are unfazed, and Peter speaks for them.)

Indeed, you can see how sorely such statements would be difficult to accept. People think He is talking nonsense. He dropped down from heaven? And we are supposed to eat him? Only those who had completely abandoned themselves to belief in Him were able to accept, on faith, that it would all come clear somehow.

He is splitting the sheep from the goats, so to speak: those who cannot see beyond the things of the earth, and those who can. Remember, the mass of disciples that followed Him did so because He had made food appear for 5,000 people. This was a miracle of power over the earth. Here was a rich man, a man who was able to manipulate reality, a man with powers that could bring wealth and political dominance.

No doubt, these followers were at least somewhat sincere, for they had heard and accepted the Sermon on the Mount, a radical message of peace, humility, and forgiveness. The could accept the philosophical message and were ready to become part of a movement.

But the radical spiritual message was too much for them to swallow. Christ was to be tortured and killed in a bloody, noisy debacle, "eaten" in a sense by the sin that lives in each of us. His followers would eventually have to accept the physical death through the symbolic act of communion, profiting from Christ's execution. He would feed them spiritually so that they, like He, could have eternal life. But to fully accept this, they also had to understand that He had come from heaven and that His primary reality was spiritual; for His flesh, like all flesh, would profit nothing.

endless knot

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Memory Verse

Romans 1:18: The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness.

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