Daily Devotion for May 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.
The electrifying Dies Irae (Day of Wrath) from Verdi\'s Requiem — hold onto your hat!
“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.
[The faith of fellowship.]
Prayer for Peace
I thank you, Master and Lover of mankind, King of the ages and giver of all good things, for destroying the dividing wall of enmity and granting peace to those who seek your mercy. I appeal to you to awaken the longing for a peaceful life in all those who are filled with hatred for their neighbors, thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war.
Grant peace to your servants. Implant in them the fear of you and confirm in them love one for another. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement. For you are our peace and to you we ascribe glory: to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages.
I pray, Lord our God, for all those who suffer from acts of war. I pray for your peace and your mercy in the midst of the great suffering that people are now inflicting on each other. Accept the prayers of your Church, so that by your goodness peace may return to all peoples. Hear us and have mercy on us.
All through this day, O Lord, by the power of your quickening Spirit, let me touch the lives of others for good, whether through the word I speak, the prayer I speak, or the life I live.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Psalm 22:21, 27-28 (NKJV)
You have answered Me. . . .
All the ends of the world
Shall remember and turn to the Lord,
And all the families of the nations
Shall worship before You.
For the kingdom is the Lord’s,
And He rules over the nations.
Matthew 27:45-54 (ESV)
The Death of Jesus
Now from the sixth hour [noon] there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.”
And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
Notes on the Scripture
We have read portions of Psalm 22 corresponding to each portion of the crucifixion over the past few days. Just before the moment of death, Jesus cries out the first line of the psalm in Aramaic, the language he and the Jews of the time spoke. It is not a paraphrase, but an exact quote. We have decided that Psalm 22 is a prophecy of the crucifixion, and our confidence level reaches 100% when Christ himself chooses it for his death speech. He does not recite the entire psalm; he is still human and, as crucifixion is technically death by suffocation, he has not the breath for it.
But it is the end of the psalm, not the beginning, we should now hear, for the beginning has been acted out in real time during the previous six hours. We have reached the end of Jesus' mortal life and the end of the psalm. John recounts that Christ's final cry is, “It is finished.” (John 19:30) The English translation does not do justice to the Greek original, for it is a single word in Greek (“tetelestai”) or Aramaic, and is a one-word cry of triumph, not a simple indicative sentence. “It is accomplished” or even “Done!” would be a more accurate translation, although not as poetic. Jesus' death is indeed the end of many things, but it is also the beginning of many things: and the beginning is by far the more important aspect.
You will hear some people claim that God abandoned Jesus, turned His face away from His Son at the time of Jesus' death, because Christ had become filled with sin. This is nonsense. Jesus is God, and we are monotheists. The point of Jesus' reference to Psalm 22 lies in the end of the psalm (quoted at the top of the page).
Christ's death has enormous significance, for it signals a change in the age. The old covenant ends. The curtain of the temple separated the inner temple, where the high priest could enter only once a year, from the Holy of Holies, the chamber containing the Ark of the Covenant, where God dwelled. The curtain tears to symbolize that “God has left the room”. He will no longer have a special physical presence in the Temple. He will soon have a new presence, in the heart of all who believe in Christ, by sending the Holy Spirit to dwell within our very hearts.