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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Daily Devotion for September 29, 2015


<i>Sermon on the Mount,</i> by Henrik Olrik
Sermon on the Mount, by Henrik Olrik ca. 1880. This is a detail from the altarpiece of St. Matthew's Church, Copenhagen.

Prayers

Scripture

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Lord's Prayer

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.

Amen.



Prayer to Use Our Gifts Wisely

Lord, give me each day the wisdom to see which things are important, and which things are not. Show me how best to use the time and talents you have given me. Help me to use all my opportunities wisely, that I may share, through service to others, the good gifts I have received from you.

Amen.

Prayer for the Troubles of the Earth

God of comfort, these times seem so uncertain, so scary. The world seems darker than it has in the past and I am less sure of myself. Maybe that's a good thing; maybe now I am turning to you with a realization that I need you so much more and that my life is not in my own control.

Let me not forget all of those around the world who are frightened at this moment. Help those who are victims of terrorism and war. Be with those who have lost so much in the past year. Hold us all in your loving arms and let us be comforted by the strength and peace you make available to us through the birth of your son, Jesus; and thank you for all the many gifts you offer us, during our life on earth and for all eternity.

Amen.

Meditation

[How may I see which things are important, and which are not?]


Benediction

The blessing of the Lord rest and remain upon all his people, in every land, of every tongue; the Lord meet in mercy all that seek him; the Lord comfort all who suffer and mourn; the Lord hasten his coming, and give us, his people, the blessing of peace, this day and always.

Amen.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.



Christ healing the Paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda (detail) by Bartholome Murillo, ca.
Christ healing the Paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda (detail) by Bartholome Murillo, ca. 1670. (See full-size)

Proverbs 1:24-26

Because I have called and you refused to listen,
have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
because you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,
I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when terror strikes you.


Blue Latin Cross

John 5:1-9 (ESV)

Get Up and Walk

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids — blind, lame, and paralyzed.

One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be healed?"

The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me."

Jesus said to him, "Get up, take up your bed, and walk." And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.



Notes on the Scripture

If you read through the Gospel of John, you notice three things by the time you reach Chapter 5:

St. John Evangelist
St. John
French Bible, 1435
1) The language tends to have different layers of meaning, usually Jesus making comments on a physical event that parallels a spiritual teaching. For example, he spent a long time talking about water from a well with the Samaritan woman, but he was actually teaching about the spirit coming from the old and new covenants;

2) It is not as biographical as the other three Synoptic gospels; rather, it focuses on specific instances, each of which has a specific message; and

3) Jesus' miracles are usually presented more clearly as a "signs", to gain the attention and faith of people who will hear and understand the deeper message.

All three tendencies appear in this lesson. Rather than following Jesus in his travels, John jumps from place to place. If you look at John 4, Jesus is in Samaria. In a single line at the beginning of Chapter 5, we are transported (after an unknown amount of time) back to Jerusalem.

The story presented sounds simple; in a hospice area, where very sick people lie under open roofs hoping to be cured by a pool, Jesus heals a man on the spot. This man complains that he is unable to get to the water. Christ heals him, then, for a specific reason, in order that people will know him and believe in him, so that they can hear his lesson.

The lesson is "get up, take up your bed, and walk". The water, like the water in the story of the woman at the well, is the spirit that comes from the old covenant. But Christ has just told us that living water comes from him, himself, not from the wells and pools of Canaan. Thus, the man does not need to walk to the pool. His implicit request, that Jesus help him to the pool, is rendered unnecessary, because Jesus has brought the new "living water" to the man.

It applies to all of us. We do not need someone to help us and we do not need to go anywhere to receive the full bounty of Christ's grace. If we are spiritually enfeebled, all we need to do is get up and walk. Christ will help us. We have his Word in the Bible (and the meaning of "Word" is deep and full of meaning -- See John 1:1-14). If we have been baptized (or in some denominations, if we have simply received the Word), the Holy Spirit is already with us. All we have to do is stand up!

Christ is speaking directly to us, and His directive to us concerns spiritual, not physical, infirmity. If we are spiritually ill, we can receive a miracle, once we realize that we can "pick up our bed and walk".



endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Hebrews 13:8-9 (ESV): Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings . . . .


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