Daily Devotion for September 13, 2009
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.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
(Words to this are in the right hand column.)
Gospel of Matthew 6:1-4
The Sermon on the Mount [Part 7] - When You Give Alms
Take heed not to do your righteousness before men, to be seen by them: else you will have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before yourself, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory before other men. Truly I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving alms may be secret; and your Father who sees in secret will recompense you.
Notes on the Scripture
There's nothing difficult to understand about Christ's teaching on the giving of alms. You must choose: do it to the glory of God, or do it to the glory of yourself. The cult of celebrity seems to have the opposite rule: Try to take credit for any act of charity, whether you are responsible for it or not.
The Church, being composed of people, is no exception to the temptation of pride. There are preachers and parishioners who court celebrity. But the great mass of Christians, lay and clergy, have read Matthew 6 and try to take it to heart. One of my favorite holidays is All Saints Day, when we think of all the millions of people who gave without earthly credit.
This reminds me of a song I loved as a child:
patient and brave and true,
who toiled and fought and lived and died
for the Lord they loved and knew.
And one was a doctor, and one was a queen,
and one was a shepherdess on the green;
they were all of them saints of God, and I mean,
God helping, to be one too.
They loved their Lord so dear, so dear,
and his love made them strong;
and they followed the right for Jesus' sake
the whole of their good lives long.
And one was a soldier, and one was a priest,
and one was slain by a fierce wild beast;
and there's not any reason, no, not the least,
why I shouldn't be one too.
They lived not only in ages past;
there are hundreds of thousands still.
The world is bright with the joyous saints
who love to do Jesus' will.
You can meet them in school, on the street, in the store,
in church, by the sea, in the house next door;
they are saints of God, whether rich or poor,
and I mean to be one too.