Daily Devotion for May 5, 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.
Today is Easter in the Orthodox Church. We could not resist this charming Serbian Orthodox Hymn, "Christ is Risen, Indeed He Is", even though we couldn’t find a translation for all the lyrics. But if you watch the video closely, the story — a community leaves the city for an Easter egg hunt in a cherry orchard — comes across in ways that words could not do justice.
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.
The Great Prayer of Archimandrite SophroniosO Lord Eternal and Creator of all things,
Who of Thy inscrutable goodness called me to this life;
Who bestowed on me the grace of Baptism and the Seal of the Holy Spirit;
Who imbued me with the desire to seek Thee, the one true God: hear my prayer.
I have no life, no light, no joy or wisdom; no strength except in Thee, O God.
Because of my unrighteousness I dare not raise my eyes to Thee.
But Thou said to Thy disciples, 'Whatsoever you shall ask in prayer believing, you shall receive.'
and 'Whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do.'
Wherefore I dare to invoke Thee.
Purify me from all taint of flesh and spirit.
Teach me to pray aright.
Bless this day which Thee give unto me, Thy unworthy servant.
By the power of Thy blessing enable me at all times to speak and act to Thy glory with a pure spirit, with humility, patience, love, gentleness, peace, courage and wisdom: aware always of Thy presence.
Of Thy immense goodness, O Lord God, show me the path of Thy will,
and grant me to walk in Thy sight without sin.
O Lord, unto Whom all hearts be open,
Thee know what things I have need of.
Thee are acquainted with my blindness and my ignorance,
Thee know my infirmity and my soul's corruption;
but neither are my pain and anguish hid from Thee.
Wherefore I beseech Thee, hear my prayer and by Thy Holy Spirit
teach me the way wherein I should walk;
and when my perverted will would lead me down other paths
spare me not O Lord, but force me back to Thee.
By the power of Thy love, grant me to hold fast to that which is good.
Preserve me from every word or deed that corrupts the soul;
from every impulse unpleasing in Thy sight and hurtful to my brother-man.
Teach me what I should say and how I should speak.
If it be Thy will that I make no answer,
inspire me to keep silent in a spirit of peace
that causes neither sorrow nor hurt to my fellow man.
Establish me in the path of Thy commandments
and to my last breath let me not stray from the light of Thy ordinances,
that Thy commandments may become the sole law
of my being on this earth and all eternity.
Yea, Lord, I pray to Thee, have pity on me.
Spare me in my affliction and my misery
and hide not the way of salvation from me.
In my foolishness, O God, I plead with Thee for many and great things.
Yet am I ever mindful of my wickedness, my baseness, my vileness.
Have mercy upon me.
Cast me not away from your presence because of my presumption.
Do Thee rather increase in me this presumption,
and grant unto me, the worst of men,
to love Thee as Thee have commanded, with all my heart, and with all my soul,
and with all my mind, and with all my strength:
with my whole being.
Yea, O Lord, by Thy Holy Spirit, teach me good judgment and knowledge.
Grant me to know Thy truth before I go down into the grave.
Maintain my life in this world until I may offer unto Thee worthy repentance.
Take me not away in the midst of my days, nor while my mind is still blind.
When Thee shall be pleased to bring my life to an end,
forewarn me that I may prepare my soul to come before Thee.
Be with me, O Lord, at that dread hour and grant me the joy of salvation.
Cleanse me from secret faults, from all iniquity that is hidden in me;
and give me a right answer before Thy judgment-seat.
Yea, Lord, of Thy great mercy and immeasurable love for mankind.
God of mercy, swift to help: as my lips pour forth your praise, fill my heart with the peace you give to those who wait for your salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord.
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.
Psalm 4:8 (ESV)
In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
This is my servant
This is my servant, whom I support, and my chosen, in whom my soul delights: I have put my Spirit upon him, and he will bring justice to the Gentiles.
He will not cry out, nor raise his voice, nor make it heard in the street.
He will not break the weakest reed nor quench a dimly burning candle: he will bring justice through truth.
He will not fail or be discouraged, until he has set justice on the earth: and the islands will wait for his law to come.
Thus said Jehovah, God that created the heavens, and spread them far; he that made the earth and all that comes out of it; he that gives breath to the people upon it, and spirit to those that walk therein:
"I, Jehovah, have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and make a contract with your people, as a light for the Gentiles; to open blind eyes, to free the prisoners from the dungeon, and those that sit in darkness out of their jail.
I am Jehovah, that is my name; I will not give my glory to another, nor praise for my works to graven images.
See now, that the former things have happened, and that I tell you what is to come, before it occurs."
Notes on the Scripture
This section of Isaiah refers to the Messiah. It was Isaiah who primarily predicted the coming of Christ and accurately prophesied many of the main events of his life. Here he emphasizes two aspects of Christ which were not generally anticipated as traits of the Jewish Messiah. First, that he would be peaceful; he would bring justice through truth rather than through force. Second, that he would extend God's covenant to the Gentiles and to "the islands", i.e. throughout the world far from Palestine.
God is quoted by name, which was translated into "Jehovah" by early English translators of the Bible. In Hebrew it is four letters (no vowels), which can be transliterated as YHVH or YHUH. The name more frequently written and pronounced "Yahweh" today, but has had many spellings, such as Yehovah, Yehveh, Yeveh, Jhuh, Javah, etc. The Jews never pronounce it, and the true pronunciation, as it was given in the time of Moses, is (most likely) unknown.
The quote from Jehovah consists of three of the strongest ideas of both Old and New Testaments. First, the use of light as a metaphor for God's word, with associated metaphors such as allowing the blind to see (as everyone is blind in the dark). Second, the image of humanity in a dungeon until freed by a covenant with God. And third, God's commandment that we ascribe glory to Him for His word and His works.