Daily Devotion for May 7, 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.
Fix It Jesus by The Canton Spirituals has a hypnotic monotony reminiscent of James Brown; just let the testimony sink in and carry you along.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, I give you a million thanks that I have woken up alive this morning, once again to witness the magnificence, the glory of your creation. Even on the dreariest of days, when the weather doesn't suit me, let me rejoice in the taste of heaven you give us on earth. For the hottest, muggiest day; the coldest and most bitter weather; the clouds, the rain, the wind and snow, the lightning and thunder — these are all your creations, oh Lord, and all of them have a great beauty if I just take the time to see it.
Should I be blind, what would I give to see the cloudy rainy day that I complain about? Should I be deaf, how much I would long to hear your thunder! When I lie dying, how sweet it will seem to have been bundled up against a chill wind, or to be soaked in sweat as I work in the heat and humidity.
Let me be always filled with gratitude for the world you have given me, great God, Father and creator of all that is.
[Remembering how remarkable it is to have this day of life.]
Prayer for Purity of Thought
Almighty God, who alone gave me the breath of life, and alone can keep alive in me the holy desires your Spirit brings; I pray to you, in the name of your infinite compassion, to sanctify my thoughts and endeavors this day; that I may not begin to act without a pure intention or continue it without your blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of my mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, I may in heart be inspired by your wisdom, and in work be upheld by your strength, and in the end be accepted by you as your faithful servant; through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Dedication (from St. Teresa of Avila)
May it please you, my good Lord, that there may come a day when I can repay a little of my great debt to you. O Jesus, strengthen my soul, you who are good above all good; and since you have inclined my soul in this way, show me how I may act for you, whatever it may cost, O Lord. Here is my life, my honor and my will; I have given them all to you and they are yours: use me to do whatever you want.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
God's Pet Project
Jesus's resurrection is the beginning of God's new project — not to snatch people away from earth to heaven, but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord's Prayer is about.
~ N. T. Wright
Luke 24:36-43 (ESV)
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.
Notes on the Scripture
Because the earlier gospels, Matthew and MarkThe original Gospel of Mark probably had nothing at all about the post-resurrection appearances; it seems to have ended with the angel talking to three women (Mary Magdelene, the other Mary, and Salome) at the tomb., give little emphasis to the activities of Christ after the resurrection, this passage from Luke might help flesh out the meaning of the Resurrection to us.
Like the early evangelists, most churches concentrate heavily on the crucifixion, the teachings of Christ, and the post-Ascension coming of the Holy Spirit. These are all critical concepts; Christ had to die on the cross, that we might be forgiven for our sins. But — the Resurrection of Christ in the flesh is equally important, and receives less study than it deserves. For the crucifixion teaches us the love of God; but the resurrection teaches us the power of God.
Jesus famously told Nicodemus that we must be born again to see the kingdom of God. (John 3:21) We die to sin, surely. But the equation has a second half with an earth-shattering implication: When we are reborn in the Spirit, we share in the resurrection of Christ while we are still on earth. Notice the line, “They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.” Jesus is not in heaven, and He is not a spirit. John's Gospel tells us that Thomas put his finger into the actual wound in Jesus's side. He reappears in flesh and blood, to show us the transforming power of God's love, that we may live in our bodies having undergone spiritual rebirth. When we die to sin, we cast off our sinful past, the mistakes we have made and the evil we have committed, and it is gone from us even while our flesh lives!
Yet people do not take advantage of the living resurrection, the true fruit of being born again spiritually; once we see ourselves in the resurrected Christ, we realize the power that God will give to us for the asking. Are we brainless zombies who, having been removed from the evils of our past, must wander aimlessly back to them simply from habit? No! With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can make new habits, think new thoughts, find an entirely new and better life — while we still live on earth.
This possibility informs much of the later epistles' teachings, and it is there we should turn for inspiration and guidance in this regard. Romans and Hebrews are the great theological epistles; for hints on leading the resurrected life, one might well start with James or Philippians, and look to the shorter books. Above all, remember Paul's advice to Timothy: “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called . . . .” (1 Timothy 6:12)