Daily Devotion for October 14, 2013
Thanksgiving 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.
The first minute of this video is David Foster, who wrote “The Prayer”, discussing it. If this doesn’t interest you, you can skip ahead 60 seconds to Katherine Jenkins and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performing it.
“A Little Prayer”
Let us be thankful, Lord, for little things
The song of birds, the rapture of the rose;
Cloud-dappled skies, the laugh of limpid springs,
Drowned sunbeams and the perfume April blows;
Bronze wheat a-shimmer, purple shade of trees -
Let us be thankful, Lord of Life, for these!
Let us be grateful, God, for health serene,
The hope to do a kindly deed each day;
The faith of fellowship, a conscience clean,
The will to worship and the gift to pray;
For all of worth in us, of You a part,
Let us be grateful, God, with humble heart.
Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Christ Jesus, before ascending into heaven, You promised to send the Holy Spirit to Your apostles and disciples. Grant that the same Spirit may perfect in my life the work of Your grace and love, and that I may bear my cross with You and, with courage, overcome the obstacles that interfere with my salvation; Teach me to be Your faithful disciple and animate me in every way with Your Spirit.
God of love, Father of all, the darkness that covered the earth has given way to the bright dawn of your Word made flesh. Make me and all who confess your holy name people of this light. Make me faithful to your Word that I may bring your life to the waiting world. Grant this through Christ our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
The Bright Light
“Conversion for me was not a Damascus Road experience. I slowly moved into an intellectual acceptance of what my intuition had always known.”
~ Madeleine L’Engle
Matthew 10:11-15 (ESV)
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles 
And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. As you enter the house, greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.
And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.
Matthew 10:11-15 (The Message)
When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don’t welcome you, quietly withdraw.
Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way. You can be sure that on Judgment Day they’ll be mighty sorry — but it’s no concern of yours now.
Notes on the Scripture
There is an oddity people seem to overlook in Christ's instructions to the apostles: the underlying assumption of corporate identity. Jesus speaks of towns as if they have an identity. If no “worthy” person lives in a town, the town is branded collectively as evil. Recall Abraham pleading with God to spare Sodom, if only ten righteous men could be found there. (Genesis 18:20-33) Ten men was the critical number for Jews, because ten men could form a synagogue; Christ seems more lenient, and implies that a single worthy person who will take in an apostle might spare the town from blanket devastation.
Jesus does not want his apostles — or, by extension, us — to argue. Here is a cardinal instruction to us, concerning how we are to spread the Gospel: If someone is not interested, leave him be.
The instruction has its difficulties, for we want to argue by our nature. We want to persuade. We want to persist. But Jesus tells us, “No.” Despite the struggle we might have, in wanting to impose our beliefs on others, there is also a bit of relief in this teaching. We are not expected to undergo the emotional strain of convincing someone who doesn't want to hear the truth.
As a practical illustration, think of Christian groups carrying placards. These instances often bespeak an confrontational approach to spreading the Word, that Christ seems to disapprove. Carrying a sign at a demonstration that says, “Homosexuals Will Burn in Hell”, would appear to contradict this Scripture directly. More Christian would be a sign reading, “If You Are Interested in Salvation, Talk to Me.”
This is a hard teaching, but the world will not be saved. The job of the disciple is to save those who want to be saved. If someone has no interest, we cannot waste time in regret that their soul will perish. If it is God's will that they go to hell, who are we to second-guess Him?
Jesus explicitly tells us, “Shake the dust from your sandals.” This colorful expression means, remove the evidence from your clothing. Or as The Message paraphrases it, “Shrug your shoulders and be on your way.”
Like much of the Bible, the lesson is counter-intuitive. We are told to love our neighbour and, if we love our neighbour, our logic tells us we should do everything we possibly can to save his soul. But the Bible is clear. What we don't do is argue or try to spread the Gospel to hostile or apathetic people. What we don't do is worry about them. What we do do is lead our own lives in such a way that people might be attracted to our humility, etc. and possibly become interested in what we have. (E.g. 2 Timothy 2:24-26)