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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Daily Devotion for June 30, 2013

<i>Angelus</i> by Jean-François MilletMillet
Angelus by Jean-François Millet, ca. 1859



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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.


Our "Virtual Sunday Church" this week takes us to King’s Chapel at Cambridge. This anthem from the Tudor Masses is so quiet, you might want to play it while you pray.

This is the Benedictus and Agnus Dei from Christopher Tye’s “West Wind” Mass (1550 A.D.). The lyrics are unfortunately not available except in the sheet music.

Prayer for Purity of Worship

Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires are known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of my heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that I may perfectly love you and worthily praise your holy name. Through Christ I pray,


Prayer for Guidance

Lord, teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain wisdom of heart. Help me do today the things that matter, not to waste the time I have.

The moments I have are precious, Lord, see that I count them dear. Teach me to number my days aright. Fill me this day and all this coming week with your kindness, that I may be glad and rejoice all the days of my life. Through 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.



Now the God of patience and consolation grant to me, and to all who pray in the name of Christ, to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.


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

Devotional painting of
Ruth and Naomi by Ari Scheffer ca. 1870. Ruth was the very embodiment of humility and service.

Psalm 119:1-3 (Aleph) (NKJV)

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.
Blessed are they that keep His testimonies and that seek Him with the whole heart.
They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways.

Blue Latin Cross

Mark 10:35-45 (NIV)


James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to Jesus and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." And he said to them, "What is it you want me to do for you?" And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory."

Then Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared."

When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, "You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many."

Notes on the Scripture

The world is dominated by pride. People will lie, cheat, steal, and spend their time and their fortune in its service, to buy mammoth houses and unneeded corporate jets for unconscionable prices, to gain power in a corporation or government. It causes divorces and murder. World War 1, where millions died miserably, was largely the result of the egos of a few monarchs.

Christ advises us to avoid pride and seek humility, time after time. He goes even further: “The meek will inherit the earth.” Yet, the lesson is so contrary to nature that even His disciples struggle with it.

Today we see that pride does not miraculously disappear among those who give their lives to Christ. James and John want to sit in the positions of the most honor, at the left and right hand of Christ Himself. The other ten apostles are immediately filled with jealousy. There is a power struggle among the apostles!

If pride infects the very apostles, what chance do we have? In fact, this phenomenon occurs, or at least threatens to occur, in every church. Priests and ministers want to be bishops. Pastors want their church to have more members. Parishoners want to sit on the vestry or become elders. Monks want to become abbots. We all want to sit at the head of the table, and the urge does not disappear simply because the setting is God's church.

But if we live long enough, and pray and examine our motives assiduously, it is impossible not to see the eventual emptiness of vanity; whatever we have that inflates us with pride, we will eventually lose. But it is a daily struggle, for the enemy's attack is relentless. Humility must be practiced every day.

Sometimes life will deal our pride a blow; we might lose our money, or our beauty, or talent. In fact, whatever earthly benefits we have, we are bound to lose eventually. The issue is not how to keep them, for they will eventually be lost no matter what we do. The issue is: How will we react? Will we see this as God's love for us, to correct our pride? Or will we spend our days bemoaning our fate, trying to cover it up, trying to regain it? Pride is such a powerful temptation that it often remains even when the source disappears.

Pride distorts both our relationship with ourselves and our relationship with God, and we can know neither until we see through appearances. The way to happiness, the way to Christ, is to understand the power of humility and seek it as a prize. Pride is a strong instinct and often reinforced by society. But humility is a treasure; if we try, and pray, we can taste it during our lives.

endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

John 13:34: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

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