Daily Devotion for December 4, 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.
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the Source, the Ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see
Evermore and evermore.
Oh, that birth forever blessed
When the Virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bare the Savior of our race,
And the Babe, the world's Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face
Evermore and evermore.
O ye heights of heaven, adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him
And extol our God and King.
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert ring
Evermore and evermore.
Rise up, oh children of light, and let us give glory to the Lord, who alone can save our souls. O Lord, as you withdraw sleep from the eyes of my body, grant me wakefulness of mind so that I may stand before you in awe and sing your praises worthily, all of this day.
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
[Where there is hatred, let me sow love.]
Lord, pour your love into my heart, that I may love you above all things, and my neighbors as myself. Through Christ our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.
~ Dave Barry
Revelation 22:12-17 (ESV)
Alpha and Omega
Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
Notes on the Scripture
Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and Omega is the last letter. Saying that “I am the Alpha and Omega” is a poetic way of restating that God is the very beginning of all things and will be the very end. There was nothing before Him, and there can be nothing after Him, because He is eternal.
The beautiful hymn highlighted in our devotional today, which prominently includes the phrase “He is Alpha and Omega”, is a remarkable work. The tune is recognizable as Gregorian chant and was actually written at least 1,000 years ago: The first written copy of the tune has been dated to the 11th Century. It was titled Divinum Mysterium (divine mystery) and it really does have a beautiful, mysterious, and spiritual effect on the listener.
The first verse is sung here exactly as it might have been sung a thousand years ago, by an a capella male choir. There is some (very nice) modern harmonization starting in the middle of verse 2, but much of the performance is sung in ancient monastic style (developed long before the musical revolutions of renaissance and baroque stying): in unison, in unison with a drone note, or in eerie sounding parallel fifths.
Just as remarkable, the words of the hymn are 1,600 years old! Of course it was originally written in Latin by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, probably around 390 A.D. The first line in Latin is “Corde natus ex parentis ante mundi exordium”. The superb translation into English which we currently use was done by John Mason Neale in 1854, and improved by Sir Henry Williams Baker in 1859
Alpha and Omega became a common Christian symbol in the early days of the church; like the fish, it was often used by Christians in areas where they were persecuted, and the authorities would immediately recognize a cross and investigate to identify Christians in order to arrest them. The painting below shows Christ holding a book in His hand, with the Greek letter alpha on one page and omega on the other.