Daily Devotion for November 30, 2014
First Sunday in Advent
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 Church this Sunday is another favorite for Thanksgiving season, sung in St. John’s Episcopal Church, Detroit, Michigan.
1 We plough the fields and scatter
the good seed on the land,
but it is fed and watered
by God's almighty hand;
he sends the snow in winter,
the warmth to swell the grain,
the breezes and the sunshine,
and soft refreshing rain.
All good gifts around us
are sent from heaven above;
then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord
for all his love.
2 He only is the Maker
of all things near and far;
he paints the wayside flower,
he lights the evening star;
the wind and waves obey him,
by him the birds are fed;
much more to us, his children,
he gives our daily bread.
3 We thank thee, then, O Father,
for all things bright and good,
the seed-time and the harvest,
our life, our health, our food.
Accept the gifts we offer
for all your love imparts,
with what we know you long for:
our humble, thankful hearts.
Text: Matthias Claudius, 1782; tr. Jane Montgomery Campbell, 1861
Music: Johann Schulz, 1800
Sunday Morning Invocation
God of glory, by the raising of your Son you have broken the chains of death and hell: fill my spirit, and the spirit of all the people of your universal church, with faith and hope; for a new day has dawned, and the way to life stands open in our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Prayer of Penitence
Almighty Father; I enter your presence confessing the things I try to conceal from you and the things I try to conceal from others. I confess the heartbreak, worry, and sorrow I have caused, that make it difficult for others to forgive me, the times I have made it easy for others to do wrong, the harm I have done that makes it hard for me to forgive myself. Lord have mercy and forgive me, in the name of my Lord Christ, by your grace and love; and help me to grow in faith, that I might not repeat these sins.
Old Episcopal Prayer: “For the Whole State of Christ’s Church”
ALMIGHTY and everliving God, who by thy holy Apostle hast taught us to make prayers, and supplications, and to give thanks for all men; Give me first a Spirit of fellowship with all those who pray with me, who I cannot see; and let each of us know that we pray in the unity of Spirit, although we are all separated from one another in body;
We all, and each of us, humbly beseech thee most mercifully to accept our alms and oblations, and to receive these our prayers, which we offer unto thy Divine Majesty; beseeching thee to inspire continually the Universal Church with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord: And grant that all those who do confess thy holy Name may agree in the truth of thy holy Word, and live in unity and godly love.
We beseech thee also, so to direct and dispose the hearts of all Christian Rulers, that they may truly and impartially administer justice, to the punishment of wickedness and vice, and to the maintenance of thy true religion, and virtue.
Give grace, O heavenly Father, to all Bishops and other Ministers, that they may, both by their life and doctrine, set forth thy true and lively Word, and rightly and duly administer thy holy Sacraments.
And to all thy People give thy heavenly grace; and especially to those who pray together in Spirit at this time; that, with meek heart and due reverence, they may hear, and receive thy holy Word; truly serving thee in holiness and righteousness all the days of their life.
And we most humbly beseech thee, of thy goodness, O Lord, to comfort and succour all those who, in this transitory life, are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity.
And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear; beseeching thee to grant them continual growth in thy love and service, and to give us grace so to follow their good examples, that with them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom. Grant this, O Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake, our only Mediator and Advocate,
May the God of hope fill me and all of us with the joy and peace that comes from believing, so that we may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
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.
I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
Luke 15:18-19 (KJV)
Isaiah 11:1-9 (ESV)
The Branch From Jesse
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him — the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord — and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra's den, the young child will put its hand into the viper's nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Notes on the Scripture
Today is the first Sunday in Advent — 23 days until Christmas! Our Scripture is a beautiful passage from Isaiah; much of Isaiah foretells the coming of the Messiah.
Advent is Latin for “coming” and we call the days before Christmas “Advent” because we celebrate the coming birth of Christ. He was born as an historical man, a real flesh-and-blood person, to enable us to be born in the Spirit. So in a sense, we celebrate the birth of mankind. For although people were human before, and had souls, the coming of Christ was the fulfillment of our original purpose: to be made in the image of God.
We prepare to welcome the arrival of a unique King into the world, as had been prophesied in Isaiah. We celebrate that the Word will become flesh, in order to give us the hope of salvation, the deliverance from sin. This period is one of excitement and preparation, for we have come to know Christ and what He has accomplished for us.
He is coming to dwell among us, God is coming to walk with us as a man, a simple man, a carpenter, to whom human beings could talk and worship and with whom they could eat. He was born as a humble little baby and the people alive in that time would have seen him, just like any newborn. And we know that He will come again and all who believe in Him will see him in the full glory of His Kingdom.
Note: Dr. Boa will resume his exposition of the Epistle of James after Christmas.