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Daily Devotion for June 25, 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.
There is a singular charm to the sincerity with which the Mennonites sing this old hymn, just as it was sung 100 years ago.
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.
[Save me from its guilt and power.]
Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.
While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.
Music by Thomas Hastings, 1830
Lyrics by Augustus M. Toplady, 1776
Prayer of Submission
Dear Lord, I give you my hands to do your work; I give you my feet to go your way; I give you my eyes to see as you see; I give you my tongue to speak your words; I give you my mind that you may think in me; I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me. I give you my whole self, Lord, that you may grow in me, so that it is you who lives, works and prays in me.
To Appreciate God's Creation
Lord God, may all of your creation - from the vastness of mighty planets and stars to the lowliness of the smallest living creature I can see - remind me to live in wonder and appreciation of all that is around me.
For the Forgotten
O merciful God, take pity on those souls who live this day alone, without friends or family, forgotten by all. Bring the comfort of your Spirit to them, I pray, and let them know the most blessed company of all. Grant them to find the consolation of friendship in this life, and bring them into the light of your word, so that when they pass from this life, they may find eternal joy.
Community of Prayer
I pray to you, dearest Jesus, for all the graces I need to know you, to love you and serve you faithfully unto death, and to save my soul. Give me a tender and fervent devotion to your sacred passion by which I was redeemed, venerating you each day in prayer, and teach me how to unite sorrows and sufferings of my life with your own.
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.
We have never preached violence, except the violence of love, which left Christ nailed to a cross, the violence that we must each do to ourselves to overcome our selfishness and such cruel inequalities among us. The violence we preach is not the violence of the sword, the violence of hatred. It is the violence of love, of brotherhood, the violence that wills to beat weapons into sickles for work.
~ Oscar A. Romero
Revelation 21:1-5 (ESV)
The New World
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
Notes on the Scripture
What will the universe be like in ten thousand or a million years? Or a billion years? We live in a tiny sliver of time, our reality and daily expectations just a miniscule chapter, compared to all that has been and will be. John the Divine here tells us that, at some time after the earth has died, humanity will still exist on a planet (or at least in a place) with no sea, with no sun or moon and no day or night, and that God Himself will come to live among men. And there will be no mourning, or crying, or pain.
John's view of the existence of the faithful after Judgment Day — his view of life in “heaven” — is different from most people's vague concept of living in an amorphous spiritual plane. It is more like a return to the Garden of Eden. God might well create a new and different universe, changing the laws of physics. It is interesting to speculate on it, but the one thing we do know is that John’s divinely inspired vision has us living in a concrete environment with a city, the New Jerusalem, rather than floating around in space. He also speaks of a heaven as still existing, which would seem to be a sky, as we would call it.
Here, at the very end of the Bible, just as at the very beginning of Genesis, words such as “the waters” and “the heavens” have a meaning that we might not fully understand. The word “heaven” we use to signify the resting place of saved souls is very different from the word “heavens” used in Genesis and Revelation, and causes enormous confusion.
What many people conceive as “heaven” — a place existing somewhere in the heavens where our spirit will go after our death — would seem to be incorrect. God will create a new place for us after Judgment Day with some similarity to the earth as it now exists.
How much good it does us, to know all this, is hard to say; but it is comforting beyond measure to know that God's plan includes a world without pain. However one might interpret the Book of Revelation, certainly God made this world, and just as certainly, He will make a new one for us to live in. All of us suffer, and other people have problems and pains as bad as our own; but there will come a day when all of this passes and God will wipe our tears and pain away.