Daily Devotion for April 17, 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.
The Taize Community is an ecumenical monastic order that invites people of different Christian faiths to worship together. They are well known for their contemplative hymns in many languages.
Prayer for Maundy Thursday
Gracious God, I strive to follow Jesus in my living and to trust your power in my dying; I bow my head today to reflect upon the life that ended on a cross. I recognize in myself the strengths and weaknesses of Jesus’ disciples: although they loved him, they disappointed and failed him. And yet, gathering with these imperfect friends at this last meal, Jesus washed their feet in service, and then extended the bread and cup to each.
Jesus called them to love one another, and invited them to share in his very life and in his acceptance of the road ahead. I am humbled, honored and inspired by the deep love Christ extended to the world, and I hear with open ears the calling to be a member of the body of Christ. Forgive me when I disappoint and fail you, and guide me back to a place of trust and faithful living. Grant me the vision to see the world as you see it, with love and compassion for each creature and all of your creation.
I ask this in the name of Jesus, who taught us to pray to you for all things,
For Teachers and Students
Almighty God, I pray to you to look with favor upon our universities, colleges, and schools, that knowledge may be increased among us, and sound learning flourish and abound. Bless all who teach and all who learn; and grant that in humility of heart they may ever look to you, the fountain of all true wisdom, and not be led by the devices of their minds into the pride and hollowness that comes from knowledge without truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Joy is a partnership,
Grief weeps alone;
Many guests had Cana,
Gethsemane had one.
~ Frederic Lawrence Knowles
Matthew 26:36-46 (ESV)
Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”
And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.
Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
Notes on the Scripture
Jerusalem, a crowded city on a hilltop in an arid climate, had little room for gardens. Gethsemane might have been what we would call a park, or a private enclosure opened to Jesus by a friend; for he did have friends. It formed a little stage for one of the most touching moments in human history, Jesus' last moments of peace.
If one has not fully appreciated the humanity of Jesus, how much he was one of us, this scene in the dead of night — for this had to be sometime between midnight and dawn, the “dark night of the soulThis expression may sound like Shakespeare, but it was coined in a mystical poem by Saint John of the Cross, a 16th century Spanish priest. ” — readjusts our view of him. He doesn't want to die; he is thirty-three years old and healthy, and he doesn't want to die, and he especially doesn't want to die by torture and crucifixion in a few hours.
Every man dies alone, to paraphrase Paschal, and Jesus' last hours remind us of it. He takes with him his three best friends, his most faithful disciples, Peter, John and James; but they are exhausted and cannot stay awake. And so he awaits his fate alone in prayer as Caiphas, with a squad of Roman soldiers and an arrest warrant, hunts him down.
We see here also his greatest temptation, surely greater than he faced from Satan in the wilderness at the beginning of his ministry. But he does not cross the line from temptation to sin. When he prays that his fate might be changed and he be allowed to walk away, he never becomes disobedient to the Father's will; he does not even hint at that possibility.
Here, Christ is not only our God, but our model. He is often seen as our intermediary, the link between ourselves and the unknowable and invisible Father. Hebrews calls him our “high priest” (Hebrews 4:14) and John calls him our “advocate with the Father” if we sin. (1 John 2:1) We are reminded of the prominence, in the Lord's Prayer, of the phrase “thy will be done,” an overriding desire that must inform every prayer. For the subordination of our will to that of God is a paramount lesson, for any person who would find salvation.
And thus, we get a glimpse into the man Jesus, who must teach us what it means to be obedient unto death. And he was made man for this very reason: that he might fear and suffer just as we do, and yet prevail by his unblemished obedience.