Daily Devotion for April 2, 2014
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 of the Ancient Christians
I give you thanks Holy Father, for your holy name which you have caused to dwell in my heart, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which you have made known to me through Jesus your servant; to you be the glory forever.
You, almighty Master, created all things for your name's sake, and gave food and drink to men to enjoy, that they might give you thanks; but to me you have graciously given spiritual food and drink, and eternal life through your servant Jesus. Above all I give thanks because you are mighty; to you be the glory forever.
Remember your church, Lord, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in your love; and gather it, the one that has been sanctified, from the four winds into your kingdom, which you have prepared for it; for yours is the glory forever.
May grace come, and may this world pass away. Hosanna to the God of David. If anyone is holy, let him come; if anyone is not, let him repent. Come, oh Lord!
Prayer for True Thought
Heavenly Father, who has given us the gift of your law, so that we might know our sin, and your Son, that we might be forgiven where we fall short. Give me the grace to remember your holy Word, when my surroundings tempt me to confusion and weakness, that I might more nearly approach true obedience to your will. Help me to resist the arguments of the ungodly; let me not be deceived by false beauty; and so guide me, that the clever words of men will never replace the truth which you have put into my heart. Through Christ I pray,
Now to him who is able to keep us from stumbling and to present ourselves blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
~ C. S. Lewis
The Creation of the Plants and Stars
And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.”
And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so.
And God made the two great lights — the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night — and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness.
And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
Notes on the Scripture
Farming is one of the most fundamental miracles of life. We enjoy and appreciate it less and less as the population grows and we are crammed into crowded cities. By day, we no longer witness the miracle of our food growing, for farming has become the job of a very few people and many great machines working hundreds of miles away. And at night, we are blinded by an artificial world of electric light and television. We do not see the miracle of the universe as our ancestors did.
There is benefit to this, of course. Civilization has traditionally advanced by agricultural improvement: the fewer people it takes to grow food, the more people there are to do other tasks. Christianity has given us all the comforts of modern life and society; but modern life has abandoned Christianity.
Winged ox, symbol
We have lost something in our progress, and that something is closeness to God. Dirt farmers and shepherds live in the midst of God's daily miracle, for they know that their food comes directly from God's earth, God's sun, God's rain. They cannot take it for granted. You plant a piece of potato or a grain of corn in the ground, and a few months later a plant filled with potatoes or corn has grown. Grass grows up and feeds the animals. A farmer lives in the middle of a miracle. And seeing this miracle constantly, knowing that your life depends upon is, it is impossible not to thank God for it.
Where does Christianity flourish? In agricultural areas, rural farming communities. As cities grow larger and larger, those in them are increasingly removed from the fundamental miracles of life. Great sinfulness and atheism arise in great cities, where the people become blind and deluded, forgetting that the only reason they live from day to day is the miracle of food.
And at night, in farm country, one sees the sky. The world is dark and the sky is filled with the vastness of black space and uncountable stars. A person's ego is checked by the visible evidence of his insignificance. If we stand in a place far from electric light, we are forced to realize that there are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy, and hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe.
When we stop to give thanks at a meal, or during prayer, it is good to remember what we may not see so clearly anymore: the simple miracle of our food growing in the ground by day, and the utter vastness and mystery of God's creation by night.