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Daily Devotion for June 15, 2014
Fathers Day (U.S.)
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” goes very Catholic (i.e. High Mass in Latin) this week, to the ancient (and haunting) chant, Pange Lingua.
Nobis datus, nobis natus
In supremae nocte coenae
Lyrics by St. Thomas Aquinas
For Sunday Morning
Oh heavenly Lord, who decreed that we should take one day of rest, one special day in remembrance of you, today I celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the moment of His glorious victory over death. I add my voice to countless millions of others in thanks, in praise, and in awe of Your sacrifice for us.
Help me, dear Lord, to dedicate these few moments to You completely. You have taught us that we may dwell with you, even while we are caught in this difficult world, and I pray to dwell with you fully now. Guard me against wandering of mind and the intrusion of mundane thought, so that I may be fully present with you, through the power of Your Holy Spirit.
And in the coming week, I pray that my mind may constantly turn to you, so that I may always remember you when I am tempted to anger, to selfishness, to lust for power and the vanities of this world, or any of the myriad temptations that might assail me in the course of life. In the name of Christ and through faith in Him, I pray,
Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the week and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.
Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me today and throughout the coming week, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.
For Those in Need of Strength
I pray, Lord, for all who will need strength and courage in the day ahead: For those who face danger. For those who risk themselves for others. For those who must make an important decision today. For people who are seriously ill. For those facing persecution or torture. I ask you, Lord, to give them the power of your Spirit,
[May the Holy Spirit be with me in the week to come.]
Finally, may I go forth filled with the joy and confidence of your Spirit; and may everything I do this day, in word or deed, be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
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.
1 John 5:7 (KJV)
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
Notes on the Scripture
The difficulty of understanding the Trinity will be a familiar conundrum for most Christians, Not so familiar, however, is a rather startling fact: the Trinity is not a Biblical concept. The only literal support for it comes from the passage of Scripture quoted above, a line from the First Epistle of John. But this single line of solid support was added to the Bible, by translators or copyists, over 1000 years after John died.
1 John 5:7 is so widely discussed that it has its own name: The Comma Johanneum. (“Comma”, in both Latin and Greek, means “part of a sentence”.) It first appeared in the margin of a Greek manuscript — as a comment made by the copyist — in 1000 A.D. It didn't make it into the actual text of a Bible until the 16th century, and it was not in the original Vulgate. Erasmus, who was responsible for creating an authoritative Greek text in the early 16th century, originally omitted it, but the Catholic Church pressured him to include it in the third edition of his NT in 1522. From there, it found its way into later editions of the Latin Vulgate.
What is really odd is that it was included in the King James Bible, a Protestant work, and has since been defended with furious emotion by Protestants as well as Catholics, despite the virtual certainty that it was not written by John and is not part of his original epistle. The KJV's translators used Erasmus' New Testament; if they had known what we know today, there is no way they would have included it (and it is omitted from most modern Protestant translations).
Daily Prayer is non-denominational, and it is therefore impossible to discuss the validity of Trinitarian beliefs, because Catholic doctrine on continuing inspiration is quite different from that of Protestant and Orthodox churches. Strictly speaking, Catholics rightfully accept the Trinity as a doctrine of their faith (but will hopefully find this discussion interesting as an academic matter).
Whereas, the best argument for the concept of the Trinity (for Protestants and Orthodox believers) is actually that there is no harm in it. All Christians must certainly understand Christ as both a pre-existing person of a single God (John 1:1-3) and a separate person from the Father (e.g. Luke 22:39-44; Matthew 24:29-31). All denominations are also certain that God sent a specific divine Spirit to indwell us. (John 14:15-26)
These notes are intended as a (hopefully) interesting commentary on the Bible rather than as an absolute truth about our faith. There is nothing in the Bible that discourages us from praying specifically to the Father, to Jesus, or to the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost), or simply to “God”. God does not require us to understand His nature to receive the full benefit of His unfathomable grace and love.
What is important is to remember that we who confess the name of Christ worship one God, the only God. We can be certain that ours prayers are heard and accepted; no matter whether we worship a specific person of the Trinity or simply “God”, our belief in Christ ensures that He hears us and smiles upon us when we pray and worship. If we have truly given our hearts to Christ, we cannot make a “mistake” in our prayers.