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Daily Devotion for May 20, 2013
Victoria Day (Canada)
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.
An anabaptist hymn of prayer for strength and protection, written by Leonhart Sommer, who died in prison, December 1573, because of his belief.
In grief and sore duress
Pride counter which disdains Thee
And comfort my distress.
O Lord let me find mercy
In bonds and prison bed
Men would seek to devour me
With guile and controversy
Save me from danger dread!
Thou wilt never forsake me
This firmly I believe
Thy blood Thou hast shed freely
And with it washed me.
Therein my trust is resting
In Christ, God's only Son
On him I am now building
In tribulation trusting
God will me not disown!
To die and to be living
Until my end I see
To Thee my trust I'm giving
Thou wilt my helper be
Soul, body, child companion
Herewith commit I Thee
Come soon, Lord, come and take me
From ruthless men do save me
Be honour ever to Thee.
Music and words by Leonhart Sommer (1570)
Lord of All Hopefulness
Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy, whose trust, ever child-like, no cares can destroy, be there at my waking, and give me, I pray, your bliss in my heart, Lord, at the break of the day.
Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith, whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe, be there at my labors, and give me, I pray, your strength in my heart, Lord, at the noon of the day.
Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace, your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace, be there at my homing, and give me, I pray, your love in my heart, Lord, at the eve of the day.
Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm, whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm, be there at my sleeping, and give me, I pray, your peace in my heart, Lord, at the end of the day.
Prayer of St. Basil the Great
O God and Lord of the Powers, and maker of all creation, who, because of your clemency and incomparable mercy, sent your only-begotten son and our Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind, and with his venerable cross tore asunder the record of our sins, and thereby conquered the rulers and powers of darkness: Receive from me, a sinful person, O merciful Master, these prayers of gratitude and supplication, and deliver me from every destructive and gloomy transgression, and from all visible and invisible enemies who seek to injure me.
Nail down my flesh with fear of you. And do not let not my heart be inclined to words or thoughts of evil, but pierce my soul with your love, that always contemplating you, being enlightened by you, and discerning you, the unapproachable and everlasting Light, I may unceasingly confess my misdoings and show my gratitude to you: The eternal Father, with your only-begotten Son, and with your all-holy, gracious, and life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Finally, may I go forth filled with the joy and confidence of your Spirit; and may everything I do this day, in word or deed, be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
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.
Love and pity and wish well to every soul in the world; dwell in love, and then you dwell in God.
~ William Law
Exodus 22:21 (ESV)
Treatment of Foreign People
Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.
Notes on the Scripture
There is a (slightly cynical) school of thought, which divides denominations, churches and other groupings of Christians according to which parts of the Bible they ignore. While the Ku Klux Klan may seem a rather obvious example of this, that is because the hypocrisy is so clear in their case.
The Klan was neither worse nor better than a thousand other political groups that used murder, terror, violence and intimidation to gain and hold onto power, given the history of the world. The problem for us is that they were very much self-styled "Christians". One cannot spread Christianity by violence.
In fact, one cannot spread Christianity by coercion. When we read the New Testament, we find a Christ who totally eschewed violence, even in self-defense: " When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." (1 Peter 2:23) And among the Epistles, we find repeated entreaties that we be, not only peaceful, but pleasant. (Colossians 4:6-8)
The term "foreigner" means people of other religions. The Jews had no known racial discrimination as the term is now used; for example, they did not think of black Africans in any way different from themselves. But they were very discriminatory towards persons of other religions; as Judaism developed, they could not eat a meal with a Gentile or enter his house. They would sometimes apply laws against lending money for interest only to other Jews.
But they were, and we are, prohibited by the word of God from "oppressing or mistreating" people of other nations, religions, and races.
Bringing the light of Christ to the world has no worse enemy than the hypocrite. Both Peter and Paul tell us to attract others to Christ by our exemplery behavior. In fact, we are not to defend ourselves even when we are insulted. E.g., 1 Peter 3:9, "not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead."
A Christian cannot, therefore, be a racist at all. We are all sinners, and many of us harbor the natural tendencies to feel less of a natural, emotional bond with persons of other races; the victory of Christ comes from living in the Spirit, by which we can overcome this evil in ourselves.