Daily Devotion for October 2, 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.
Fix It Jesus, by The Canton Spirituals, has a hypnotic monotony (reminiscent of James Brown, towards the end); just let the testimony sink in and carry you along.
Song of Praise (based on Psalm 8)
O Lord my God, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, who am I that you are mindful of me, who are any of us that you should guide and protect us?
Yet you have made us in your image, a little lower than the angels, and crowned us with glory and honor we do not deserve. You have given us dominion over the works of your hands and put the earth beneath our feet; you have given us dominion over the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea. O Lord my God, I praise you for your gifts to me. How majestic is your name in all the earth!
Prayer for Family and Friends
Blessed are you, loving Father, for all your gifts to me and those close to me. Blessed are you for giving me family and friends to be with me in times of joy and sorrow, to help me in days of need, and to rejoice with me in moments of celebration.
Father, I praise you for your son Jesus, who knew the happiness of family and friends, and in the love of your Holy Spirit. Blessed are you for ever and ever.
For Those Mired in Crime
O Mighty God, who spares us when we deserve punishment, and in your wrath remembers mercy; I humbly implore you, of your goodness, to comfort and enlighten all who suffer in prison, deserved though their punishment may be. Bring your light into their lives, O Lord, that they may know your only Son and find repentance and forgiveness in his name, leaving aside the guilt of past sins and the yearning for the darkness within which they committed them. And trusting in your truth and mercy, that they not place their hope anywhere except in the holiness, which only you can give them.
And awaken all criminals, whether convicted or free, to the light of conscience and self-knowledge, that they may learn to serve you and their fellow man, and so find their place at your side when they leave this earth. In Christ's name I beseech you on their behalf,
[In what ways am I like a reformed and forgiven criminal?]
Finally, let me go forth in thanks for the victory I have been given through our Lord Jesus Christ. May I be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and always remembering that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
The Open Door
“When one door closes, another opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.”
~ Alexander Graham Bell
Exodus 12:21-28 (ESV)
Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin.
None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.
You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever. And when you come to the land that the Lord will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped.
Then the people of Israel went and did so; as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.
Notes on the Scripture
The Passover 
We are not sure exactly what hyssop was. It was a small aromatic plant used in cleansing, because it covered up foul odors. Marjoram is a common guess. But here, the cleansing becomes ritual, since there was no odor being disguised.
In fact, this section of Scripture is really the beginning of Judeo-Christian ritual worship. The Jews had obligations, but they were not performed under a set of rules (unless men devised them). People would build altars and burn food as a sacrifice, and circumcise their sons, but there was no strictly prescribed way to go about it.
So the magnitude of the event is reflected in the complexity and formalism of the actions the Jews must take to satisfy God. Following the elaborate instructions is obedience for obedience' sake. Does the angel of the Lord need to see lamb's blood on the top and side-posts of the door frame to know that Jews live within? No; but He needs to know that "devout" Jews, Jews dedicated to following the commandments of God, live within.
Moreover, this ritual helps ensure that the relationship with the Lord will continue when the participants are long dead. Part of the instruction is that the exact same ritual be performed every year in exactly the same manner. An archaic form of written Hebrew had probably come into existence — in fact, the Hebrew alphabet originated in form from Egyptian hieroglyphics — but books were not common (especially among slaves) and likely very few Hebrews could read or write.
Besides, Judaism is a religion of families. Strict adherence to the Passover ritual would ensure that the children would be taught, again and again. The miracle of God's rescue from Egypt would never be forgotten. Its importance would not dim with time; and surely, when American slaves sang "Let my people go" over 3000 years later, everybody knew exactly what they were talking about.