Daily Devotion for November 5, 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.
Wow. That is all you can say about the “Ave Maria” scene from The Passion of the Christ, just, wow.
Prayer to Address God with My Heart (inspired by Jane Austen)
Give me grace Almighty Father, so to pray, as to deserve to be heard, to address you with my heart, as with my lips. You are everywhere present, from you no secret can be hidden. May the knowledge of this, teach me to fix my thoughts on you, with reverence and devotion, that I may not pray in vain.
May I now, and on each return of morning, consider how I will spend the day ahead; what thoughts will prevail in my mind? What words will I speak? Will my actions reflect your will, or my own? How far can I acquit myself of evil, and live in the goodness and beauty of my Lord Christ?
Will I think irreverently of you? Will I disobey your commandments? Will I neglect and make excuses for any known duty, or willingly given pain to any human being? Incline me to ask my heart these questions oh! God, throughout the day, to save me from deceiving myself by pride or vanity.
And give me always a thankful sense of the blessings in which I live, of the many comforts of my lot; that I may not deserve to lose them by discontent or indifference. Hear me almighty God, for his sake who has redeemed me, and taught me thus to pray.
Holy God, from whom all thoughts of truth and love and peace proceed, and whose Son is rightly called the Prince of Peace; kindle in the hearts of all men the fire of longing for peaceful existence so powerful that they may never long to do violence against another. Guide with pure wisdom those who guide the nations of the earth and the many factions who may find disagreement, that your kingdom may go forward in tranquility and goodness, free of hatred and hostility, until the earth is filled with knowledge of your love. In the name of Christ, I pray,
[Jesus as the Prince of Peace.]
Oh Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your apostles, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you”; I pray that I and your whole church, the body of all faithful people, will know your peace, and live in harmony and unity, one with another, in accordance with your wishes. This I pray to you, who lives and reigns forever.
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.
Ephesians 2:4-8 (ESV)
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, . . .
Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lacked any thing.
A guest, I answered, worthy to be here:
Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?
Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.
~ by George Herbert, ca. 1630.
Notes on the Scripture
We have a change of pace today. The commentary on the Scripture is a poem, and our commentary is on the poem. Love (III) is probably George Herbert’s crowning achievement.
The work is a dialogue between Love, transparently representing Christ, and the poet, with some internal, first-person narrative. Love actually speaks the first line offstage, welcoming the poet. But his soul will not enter because it is ashamed of dust, i.e. the poet's human side, and his sin. But Love has noticed his reticence since it first saw him, and beckons him closer, asking if there is anything he lacks.
The poet lacks a guest worthy to be in Love's chamber; that is, he tells Love that he is not sufficient to be a guest in this place and what is lacking is someone better to be a guest. Love tells him that he is the guest. The poet demures a second time; he cannot even look at Love because of his unkindness and ingratitude. But Love takes his hand and, contradicting his assertion that he is unworthy to look, points out that since Love made the poet's eyes, He is the one to judge whether they are good enough to look.
In the third stanza, the poet replies that although his eyes were made perfect, he has ruined them, and Love should let his shame at ruining his perfect eye go where he deserves, i.e., to hell. Love then asks him if he does not know that someone has already borne the blame, i.e. paid the price; and since apparently the poet does not know this, well, Love himself will serve. Serve has a double meaning; Love will serve him the meal. But more broadly, Love will be the servant of mankind. “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
Love finally convinces him to sit down and taste his meat, and he is convinced; he sits down and eats. This last couplet refers to the Lords Supper or Holy Communion, whatever you call it.
The poem is a beautiful song of praise to God for the grace of Christ, freely given to the sinner. I hope you enjoyed it!