Daily Devotion for June 19, 2014
Feast of Corpus Christi (Catholic, Anglican, Western Orthodox)
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.
An excellent contemporary song with a fairly hard rock sound. Does the lead singer’s voice remind anyone else of Cat Stevens?
Well, late one night, she started to cry and thought, "He ain't coming home."
She was tired of the lies, tired of the fight, but she didn't want to see him go.
She fell on her knees and said, "I haven't prayed since I was young,
But Lord above, I need a miracle."
Well no matter who you are and no matter what you've done,
There will come a time when you can't make it on your own.
And in your hour of desperation,
Know you're not the only one,
Prayin', "Lord above, I need a miracle."
He lost his job and all he had in the fall of '09; Now he feared the worst, that he would lose his children and his wife. So he drove down deep into the woods and thought he'd end it all, And prayed, "Lord above, I need a miracle."
He turned on the radio to hear a song for the last time,
He didn't know what he was looking for, or even what he'd find.
The song he heard gave him hope and strength to carry on.
And on that night they found a miracle.
And in your hour of desperation,
Know you're not the only one
Prayin', "Lord above, I need a miracle."
Music and Lyrics by Mac Powell, Tai Anderson,
David Carr, and Mark Lee.
A Child's Prayer
For Morn, my dome of blue,
For Meadows, green and gay,
And Birds who love the twilight of the leaves,
Let Jesus keep me joyful when I pray.
For the big Bees that hum
And hide in bells of flowers;
For the winding roads that come
To Evening’s holy door,
May Jesus bring me grateful to his arms,
And guard my innocence for evermore.
Prayer for Those Who Have Turned Away
Grant, O Lord, peace, love and speedy reconciliation to your people whom You have redeemed with your precious blood. Make your presence known to those who have turned away from You and do not seek You, so that none of them may be lost, but all may be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, so that everyone, in true love and harmony, O long-suffering Lord, may praise your all holy Name.
[Help me to know what to say to those who do not believe.]
God of love, Father of all, the darkness that covered the earth has given way to the bright dawn of your Word made flesh. Make me and all who confess your holy name people of this light. Make me faithful to your Word that I may bring your life to the waiting world. Grant this through Christ our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 103:15-22 (NKJV)
The Love of God (Part 2)
(The italicized verses are from yesterday.)
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord executes righteousness
And justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the children of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more,
And its place acknowledges it no longer.
But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
To those who keep His covenant
And remember His precepts to do them.
The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.
Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word!
Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
Bless the Lord, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Notes on the Scripture
King David, from
Macclesfield Psalter (c.1320)
We have reprinted the entirety of the psalm here, so that we can look at the overall structure of it. Once the entire psalm has been read in detail, and we understand what the verses say, it is time to step back and look at the psalm as a whole. The first thing one might notice is that the first and last lines are identical. This is a clue! The second line is a developments of the first (“. . . and forget not all His benefits”), and the lines before the last line are also variations on the opening/closing line.
Look at the section, “But the lovingkindness of the Lord . . . .” The theme is God’s faithful and eternal love for us, if we keep His word and live in awe and respect of Him. This is a treatment of the same general theme as the third section: “The Lord executes righteousness, And justice for all who are oppressed. . . .” The theme and tone of the second and next-to-last sections are similar, just as the first and last lines are identical.
Like the device of parallelism in pairs of lines, the psalmist has created an overall arrangement of ideas. If we divide the psalm into five parts, the first and last parts are similar; the second and fourth are similar, etc. The structure of Psalm 103 is either A-B-C-B-A or A-B-C-D-C-B-A, depending on how you want to look at it. “A” is a single identical line, “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” “B” is a description of the Lord’s power and “C” develops the idea of how He uses this great power in his love for us. The correspondence is not exact, but the structure is clear enough for us to appreciate that it is intentional and meaningful.
The middle of the psalm consists of four wonderful and well-known lines beginning, “As for man, his days are like grass;” Thus, the psalm moves continuously downward from praise of an eternal God, through intermediate stages describing God's eternal might, His love for humanity, ending in a description of the temporary and futile nature of earthly life. It then reverses direction and moves back through the same stages until we end where we began, praising the eternal God.
The structure has a technical name: chiasm. It was common in early epic poetry, and the Bible is full of it. It is very easy to see sometimes, as in Isaiah 6:10 — “Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts.”
The chiasm in Psalm 103 is more than a clever rhetorical device; it actually gives the psalm its primary meaning, because it encompassed the relationship of God and man, both in time and in holiness. It is a synopsis of the entire Bible. In the beginning was the Word (A); God created Adam as a holy being in His image (B), and loved him (C), but Adam sinned and death overtook him (D). Yet the Lord loved his creation still (C), and sent Christ to redeem him, reversing the process by remaking a man in His image (B); and the world will end in the holiness of God, just as it began (A).
Seeing this, we can truly appreciate how the psalmist uses structure to give the psalm not only beauty, but also enormous power.