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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Daily Devotion for September 29, 2014


<i>Sermon on the Mount</i> by Maurice Denis, ca. 1927.
Sermon on the Mount by Maurice Denis, ca. 1927.

Prayers

Scripture

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Lord's Prayer

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.

Amen.

Build an Ark has a lighthearted calypso sound, but a serious message.



For a Christian Life

O  Christ, you came so that we might have life, and have it more abundantly,
grant me, throughout this day, power in my love,
strength in my humility,
purity in my zeal,
kindness in my laughter,
and your peace in my heart at all times.

Amen.

For the Church

O  gracious Father, I humbly pray to you for your holy church, that you would be pleased to fill it with all truth. Where hypocrisy exists, help those who suffer it to see their fault and correct it. Where disputes exist, let them be resolved in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it.

Where it is right, help us to establish and nurture it through your mighty power; where it is in want, provide for it; and where it is divided, reunite it. All this I pray for the sake of him who died and rose again, and ever lives to intercede for our very souls, Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.

Amen.

Meditation

[Help me to discover my hypocrisy.]


Blessing

The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.

Amen.


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.



Angel Raphael and Tobias by Titian, ca. 1511.

Blue Latin Cross

Tobit 5:1-22 (MB) (excerpts)

Tobias Begins a Journey

Tobias said, “Father, I will do as you have said; but how can I get the money, since Gabael does not know me? And I do not even know the roads to Rages, in Media.” But Tobit had a handwritten receipt; he gave this to Tobias and said, “Find someone trustworthy to go with you to Rages, in Media, where Gabael lives. We will pay him a salary.”

So Tobias went looking for someone who knew the roads to Media; he immediately came upon the angel Raphael standing in the street and asked him who he was, and whether he knew the route to Rages. “I am am Israelite,” the man replied, “and yes, I know the way to Rages well, for I have spent much time in Media with our kinsman Gabael.”

Tobias took him to meet Tobit, who said, “Brother, show me what tribe and family you are.”

“I am Azarias, son of Ananias the Great, one of your family,” Raphael replied, which pleased Tobit greatly. Tobit had travelled to Jerusalem with Ananias and his brother to worship, and to offer up firstborn and tenths of the fruits; they had not been seduced by the error of their fellow Israelites.

“What wages will you take?” Tobit asked. “ I will pay you a drachm per day, plus necessities, and if you return safe, a bonus.” And all were well-pleased. When Tobias had prepared all things for the journey, his father told him, “Go with this man, and may God who dwells in heaven prosper your journey, and the angel of God keep you company.” And when Tobias had kissed his mother and father, they departed, and Tobias' dog with them.

Anna was not happy to see him go and began to weep. “Why have you sent away our son?” she wailed. “Is he not the staff of our hand, going in and out before us? Adding money to money is greedy, and it is refuse compared to our child. What the Lord has given us is sufficient.”

Tobit comforted her, saying, “Take no care, my sister; he will return in safety, and your eyes will see him again. For the good angel will keep him company, and his journey will be prosperous, and he will return safe. ” And at his words, she made an end of weeping.


Notes on the Scripture

Chapter 5 of Tobit is a straightforward narrative, not difficult to follow. We see a slice of life, as Tobias' deal with “Azarias” includes a daily wage, expenses, and a completion bonus, just as it would today.

T

here are two interesting Hebrew idioms in the passage. The oft-encountered expression, “my coming out and my going in” (e.g. Deut. 28:6; Psalm 121:8, is given a new twist in relation to the good a son does for his parents, going in and coming out before them. He helps them at home, and helps them deal with the world outside. “Money is garbage compared to our son,” Anna says, a timeless truth for aging parents.

She also informs us that “adding money to money is greedy”; that is, if you have enough money, there is something unsavory about wanting more. We once again see a growing pre-Christian attitude, this time towards wealth, for Anna seems to understand the actual meaning of Matthew 6 better than most modern theologians:

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? (Matthew 6:25)

Underneath the surface narrative, a rather commonplace story about a man sending his son out to retrieve money, runs an odd thread involving Tobit and Raphael. Does it not seem odd that Raphael creates a false identity for himself? Angels are not in the habit of doing this. They might identify themselves, as Gabriel did to Zacharias and Mary, or they might simply say nothing — the three men who visited Abraham come immediately to mind. (Genesis 18) But Raphael assumes a false identity.

Even more remarkable, however, is that Tobit apparently recognizes him for who he is, or at least what he is. In two places he refers to “the angel of God” keeping Tobias company. An ambiguity appears: Is he giving Tobias a generic blessing, or is he hinting that he knows that an angel will literally be with him?

Then we get a second ambiguity with three possibilities. When Tobit comforts Anna, he predicts a safe return in declarative language —“he will return safe.” We might think that this is just a way of speaking comforting words; people often predict positive outcomes with declarative language today, even though it is just wishful thinking, e.g. “he will be all right.” But it is also possible that Tobit says this becase he knows an angel is travelling with Tobias, especially since he says t“he good angel will keep him company.”

And there is a third possibility: Tobias has been given a prophetic vision. Really, this is what his words sound like: prophecy. We must keep in mind that Tobit actually knows that Tobias will return safely. He has all the earmarks of a prophet, from his constant faith in God to his selfless service of others when he buries dead strangers at risk to his life.



endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“Heaven Can Wait”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Proverbs 13:10: Pride breeds nothing but strife, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.


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