Daily Devotion for September 8, 2015
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.
Here is a good thought for the entire week, interpreted by the Joyful Noise Rockin’ Gospel Choir.
The illustrations are from a children’s book by E. B. Lewis. It is morning when the book opens, and readers are greeted by a smiling boy. Throughout the day, he spreads his own special brand of joy wherever he goes.
Prayer of Saint Clement of Rome
You, Lord, through your works have revealed the everlasting structure of the world. You, Lord, created the earth. You are faithful throughout all generations, righteous in your judgments, marvelous in strength and majesty, wise in creating and prudent in establishing what exists, good in all that is observed and faithful to those who trust in you, merciful and compassionate; forgive us our sins and our injustices, our transgressions and our shortcomings.
Do not take into account every sin of your servants, but cleanse us with the cleansing of your truth, and “direct our steps to walk in holiness and righteousness and purity of heart,” and “to do what is good and pleasing in your sight” and in the sight of our rulers. Yes, Lord, “let your face shine upon us” in peace “for our good,” that we may be sheltered “by your mighty hand” and delivered from every sin “by your uplifted arm”; deliver us as well from those who hate us unjustly.
Give harmony and peace to us and to all who dwell on the earth throughout the day to come, just as you did to our fathers when they reverently “called upon you in faith and trust,” that we may be saved, while we render obedience to your almighty and most excellent name, and give harmony and peace to our rulers and governors on earth.
For the Departed
We give back to you, O God, those whom you gave to us. You did not lose them when you gave them to us, and we do not lose them by their return to you. Your dear Son has taught us that life is eternal and love cannot die. So death is only an horizon, and an horizon is only the limit of our sight.
Open our eyes to see more clearly, and draw us closer to you that we may know that we are nearer to our loved ones, who are with you. You have told us that you are preparing a place for us; prepare us also for that happy place, that where you are we may also be always, O dear Lord of life and death.
[A life without prayer is infinitely foolish.]
Community of Prayer
I pray to you, dearest Jesus, for all the graces I need to know you, to love you and serve you faithfully unto death, and to save my soul. Give me a tender and fervent devotion to your sacred passion by which I was redeemed, venerating you each day in prayer, and teach me how to unite sorrows and sufferings of my life with your own.
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.
Life Without Prayer
If man is man and God is God, to live without prayer is not merely an awful thing: it is an infinitely foolish thing.
~ Phillips Brooks
Exodus 6:1-9 (NKJV)
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.”
And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Jehovah I was not known to them. I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant.
Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the Lord.’”
So Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage.
Notes on the Scripture
The Name of God
God does not have a name. But when He manifests Himself to us, He sometimes gives us a name by which we may call Him. God knows our limitations. He knows we cannot know Him as He is and our minds cannot grasp Him as He is. He must adopt some kind of form to communicate with us, a "face" or "incarnation", and He will sometimes give us a name by which we can call the incarnation.
"I AM" (Exodus 3:14)
In today's Scripture, God makes it clear that although He is the God of Abraham, the face He presents to Moses and the Hebrews is different from that shown to Abraham. Abraham was a righteous man and God came to him in the form of a man, sitting down at his table and sometimes engaging him in conversation like a friend. But the face of God seen by Moses and the Hebrews is quite different. First, where Abraham was proven faithful and righteous, even to the point of sacrificing Isaac, Moses and the Hebrews are not. God is angry with them, for their idolatry and lack of concern.
Second, the God of Abraham intended to form a covenant with him, to make promises to him, to show him love. He did destroy Sodom and Gomorrah quite terribly, but this was not the face that Abraham saw. (And, in fact, the only one of his family who saw it was turned into a pillar of salt.)
In Exodus, though, God manifests Himself very differently, for although His ultimate purpose is to save the Hebrews, they are a sinful and idolatrous people who must learn to respect and worship Him. He will also, ultimately, lead them into a period of tremendous violence.
And so, He uses a different name from the name by which Abraham knew Him. Still, the Hebrews, who are still weak in faith, cannot fully appreciate the nature of Jehovah, for they are completely immersed in their (considerable) difficulties of their day-to-day life. God will save them, but He will require severe atonement from them for their lack of faith.
(There are insurmountable textual difficulties concerning the "name of God" in Exodus. If this interests you at all, see the Extended Notes in today's Community News.