Daily Devotion for April 27, 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.
Our “Virtual Sunday Church” this week takes us to the Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus in Cleveland for some top-notch music. Hard to believe there are only 17 people in the choir!
Prayer for Sunday Worship
O God, you make me glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious resurrection of your Son my Lord: Give me the peace to worship you with my whole heart and mind, forgetting the cares of the world, and dwelling with you for a short moment with my entire being. And give me this day such blessing through my worship of you, that the week to come may be spent in living knowledge of your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
A Prayer of Abandonment to the Holy Spirit:
Holy Spirit, God of Love, be present to me; accept the offering of myself which I make to you. Receive these hands, these feet, these eyes, this tongue, and all my senses. Receive my memory, my will, my understanding, my desires, my sighs, the longings and the aspirations of my soul. Receive my every hour, my every moment, and all the happenings of my life. Holy Spirit, God of Love, knit my soul to you. Let your love possess my whole being - my senses, my powers, my affections, my very life. Let your love rule my labor and my rest, my going and my staying, and move me as it pleases. Let your love disquiet or comfort me, humble or exalt me, and burn away all my faults.
Holy Spirit, God of Love, draw me to yourself. Do with me what you will. Nothing will cause me fear if only your love enfolds me. I ask confidently because your desire to give is greater than mine to receive. Transform me into yourself, so that I may no longer know myself, nor find myself, except in you.
Blessing of Mark
O Sovereign and almighty Lord, bless all your people, and all your flock. Give your peace, your help, and your love unto us your servants, the sheep of your fold, that we may be united in the bond of peace and love, one body and one spirit, in one hope of our calling, in your divine and boundless love.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Ecclesiastes 1:13-14 (NKJV)
I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.
Colossians 2:8 (ESV)
The Vanity of Philosophy
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
Notes on the Scripture
One of the greatest puzzles of life is how strongly a person will believe that some philosophy or way of life is absolutely and universally correct, simply because it makes sense to him or her. People kill each other by the millions, absolutely convinced about the universal truth of communism, or monarchy, or a religion they think should be imposed on others, or for that matter, democracy.
In this short passage, Paul warns us about becoming captive to human ideas. Nothing in the Bible forbids us from believing that democracy or socialism is a better form of government, or that slow drivers should stay to the right. We must live in the world. But “belief” has two meanings. “I believe in Christ” differs in the most fundamental way from “I believe in the flat tax” or “I believe in universal health care.”
Consider how today's Scripture relates to two other passages: First, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” We go astray from God when we start thinking that the rules by which we live life in this world are important. They are, in the words of Ecclesiastes, “vanity”. We do not find salvation in politics, philosophy, education or tax reform.
Even more important: “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” (1 Cor. 1:10) When we take some earthly issue — say politics — seriously, to the point where we become alienated from other Christians, Satan laughs with glee. Our primary duty is Christian unity. It is a commandment of God. The platforms of the Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, or any other political party are not commandments of God; they are at best a distraction and at worst, inimical to the clear commandment of Christian love.
“Love thy neighbor as thyself” is a rule that most Christians would agree is a universal, God-given truth. Yet, how often will we ignore such an actual truth, and become angry because someone holds a “hollow and deceptive philosophy” that disagrees with our own?