Daily Devotion for October 19, 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.
For our “Virtual Sunday Church” this week, we join a chapel service at St. Oswald’s Catholic School in England.
1. Longing for light, we wait in darkness.
Longing for truth, we turn to you.
Make us your own, your holy people,
light for the world to see.
Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.
2. Longing for peace, our world is troubled.
Longing for hope, many despair.
Your word alone has pow’r to save us.
Make us your living voice.
3. Longing for food, many are hungry.
Longing for water, many still thirst.
Make us your bread, broken for others,
shared until all are fed.
4. Longing for shelter, many are homeless.
Longing for warmth, many are cold.
Make us your building, sheltering others,
walls made of living stone.
5. Many the gifts, many the people,
many the hearts that yearn to belong.
Let us be servants to one another,
making your kingdom come.
Music and Lyrics by Bernadette Farrell
For the Spirit of Prayer
Almighty God, who pours out the spirit of grace and of supplication to all who ask for it; Deliver me, when I draw near to you, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, so that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections, I may worship You in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
A General Intercession
O Lord Jesus Christ our God, who in your mercy and all-loving kindness regards the prayers of all who call upon you with their whole heart, incline your ear and hear my prayer, now humbly offered unto you:
Be mindful, O Lord, of the church of all who believe and confess the name of Jesus Christ; confirm and strengthen it, increase it and keep it in peace, and preserve it unconquerable forever. Be mindful, O Lord, of all priests, ministers, pastors, deacons, bishops, and others known by whatever title, who work as Christian leaders, for you have established them to feed the flock of the Word. And by their prayers, have mercy upon me and save me, a sinner.
Be mindful, O Lord, of all civil authorities, of our Armed Forces, of this city in which I dwell, and of every city and land; grant us peaceful times, that we may lead a calm and tranquil life in all godliness and sanctity.
Be mindful, O Lord, of my parents, my brothers and sisters, my relatives and friends, and all who are near and dear to me, (name those who you wish to remember), and grant them mercy, life, peace, health, salvation and visitation, and pardon and remission of sins; that they may evermore praise and glorify your holy Name.
Be mindful, O Lord, of those who travel by land, and sea, and air; of the young and the old; orphans and widows; the sick and the suffering; the sorrowing and the afflicted, all captives, and the needy poor; upon them all send forth your mercies, for you are the Giver of all good things.
Be mindful, O Lord, of me, your humble servant; grant me your grace, that I may be diligent and faithful; that I may avoid evil company and influence, and resist all temptation; that I may lead a godly and righteous life, blameless and peaceful, ever serving you, that I may be accounted worthy at the last to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Be mindful, O Lord, of all those who have fallen asleep in the hope of resurrection unto life eternal, especially (name those you wish to remember); pardon all their transgressions both voluntary and involuntary, whether in word, or deed, or thought. Shelter them in a place of verdure, a place of repose, whence all sickness, sorrow and sighing have fled away, and where the sight of your countenance rejoices all your Saints from all the ages. Grant them your heavenly Kingdom, and a portion in your ineffable and eternal blessings, and the enjoyment of your unending Life.
Hear my prayer, O Lord, for you are merciful and compassionate, and love mankind, and to you are due all glory, honor, and worship: to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
A Prayer of Thanksgiving
O God, who is near us always, I thank you for all the good gifts with which you have filled my life; for love that makes life beautiful, for all thoughts that uplift and gladden, for faith to believe and strength to attain, for every experience which humbles and teaches the need of you. Let me never doubt that, having led me thus far, you will lead me to the end. I wish to serve you; show me how I can do it best. Graciously look upon me and use me as you will. And grant that I may employ all of your gifts to the end of setting forth of your glory; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have blessed me with the grace of forgiveness through the sacrifice He made for me and for all people. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord.
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 15:1-3 (NKJV)
Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
Who may dwell in Your holy hill?
He who walks uprightly,
And works righteousness,
And speaks the truth in his heart;
He who does not backbite with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend.
Exodus 19:10-11 (ESV)
Israel at Sinai
When Moses told the words of the people to the Lord, the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.
Notes on the Scripture
As we saw last Wednesday, God did not simply impose His covenant on the Jews; they had the power to exercise their free will and opt out of it, but they formally accepted the covenant, each of them. It was a contract. Moses acts like an ambassador in a peace negotiation, climbing back up the mountain to give their answer to God.
In their journey, the Israelites have seen distant manifestations of Yahweh, for He Himself marked their route as a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, in the direction they were to go. But only Moses has heard His voice.
Now, however, at this momentous occasion, God is going to manifest Himself and speak to the people directly. But He does not want to be confused with the idols that had served as “gods” during the Israelites formative years, for their temptation to revert to the confusion of their upbringing must have been strong. They cannot touch Him, cuddle Him, paint Him, or put Him on a pedestal to look at while they pray. This is a hard thing for them (or anyone) to learn.
But one must infer that God wanted the Israelites to witness His reality directly. For one thing, it stopped any accusation that Moses was a fraud — that he is simply going up the mountain and making stuff up — or even that he was insane. God is going to show Himself and speak directly to the people, but only once. For He is seeking, not to become a corporeal king, but an object of faith.
One of the great divisions in Christianity is raised by the events in Exodus 19: the belief in mystical communion with God through the intermediation of a priest, versus the belief in direct communication. At one extreme, Catholic and Orthodox churches believe that a priest is ordained by God and holds a special place, the ability to perform sacramental rituals.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are the pure Protestant churches, which reject the concept of sacrament completely. As a moderate example, most Baptists hold spectacular baptisms by total immersion, but they do not believe that the Holy Spirit is conferred by the ritual; rather, it is a demonstration to the world that the person has accepted Christ and has been blessed by the Holy Spirit. And there are “liturgical” Protestant churches (such as Anglicans and Lutherans) that fall somewhere in-between.
There is much to be said, both practically and Biblically, for both points of view. Daily Prayer very strongly believes that both are completely correct! Judaism would undergo the same differentiation; by the time of Christ, there was a great struggle in Judaism between the Sadducees, the very priest-oriented and more ritualistic sect, and the Pharisees, the sect that emphasized law and teaching, personal prayer, and a priesthood of all faithful Jews.
But in Exodus, we see both. By and large, God only speaks to the people through a prophet and priest: Moses and Aaron. And yet, here He is, preparing to speak directly to every Jew camped at the foot of Mount Sinai.
One thing is not at all in question: The frequent enmity between liturgical and evangelical worshipers is itself anti-Christian. To hate someone, who has sincerely confessed Christ as his Lord and Savior, is to hate Christ. (E.g., 1 John 4:20)