Daily Devotion for October 25, 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.
Our anthem/hymn for today is a beautiful and simple Anabaptist hymn, sung “Mennonite style” by the Lebanon Valley Youth Chorus.
Hymn Before Prayer
I bending my knee
In the eye of the Father who created me,
In the eye of the Son who purchased me,
In the eye of the Spirit who cleansed me,
In friendship and affection.
Through Thine own Anointed One, O God,
Bestow upon us fullness in our need:
Love towards God,
The affection of God,
The smile of God,
The wisdom of God,
The grace of God,
The fear of God,
And the will of God
To do on the world of the Three,
As angels and saints do in heaven;
Each shade and light,
Each day and night,
Each time in kindness,
Give Thou us Thy Spirit.
For Eternal Life
O Merciful God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Resurrection and the Life; whoever lives and believes in Him, will not die eternally, but have everlasting life. You have taught us, by the holy Apostle Paul, not to be sorry, as men without hope, for those who sleep in him.
I humbly beseech you, O Father, to raise me and all who confess your holy name, from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness; that, when we depart this life, we may rest in Him; and that, at the general Resurrection in the last day, we may be found acceptable in your sight. I pray that you will give us that blessing, which your well-beloved Son will then pronounce to all who love and fear you, saying, Come, you blessed children of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. Grant this, I beseech you, O merciful Father, through Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Redeemer.
Prayer for Christian Unity
O almighty God, who has built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head cornerstone: Grant that all who profess the name of Christ may be joined together in unity of spirit and faith, setting aside all doctrinal quibbling of our fallible human minds, that we may be a holy temple, a royal priesthood, acceptable to you, living in unity and Godly love as you have commanded us to do.
Now to him who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine — to him be glory in the Church through Jesus Christ for ever and ever,
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.
Consolation and Desolation
Consolation is happening when I feel drawn closer to God, to unselfishness and generosity. This might be accompanied by gratitude or peace or new hope, but equally it could be an experience of grief or regret, or sympathy for somebody's suffering. Consolation is the feeling when barriers between myself and God are being broken down, and this can be initially painful.
Desolation is the opposite of all this. It is happening when I feel withdrawn or alienated from God and turned in on myself, when I am determined to 'put my faith in earthly things' or shut God out of some area of my life. Again, this is not always felt as sadness, but may be accompanied by a shallow, self-satisfied kind of happiness.
With time, I can begin to notice the difference.
~ Anonymous Jesuit priest
John 6:52-59 (NCV)
Bread of Life (4)
Then the evil people began to argue among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, you must eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood. Otherwise, you won't have real life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day. My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me, and I live in them. The living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father. So whoever eats me will live because of me. I am not like the bread your ancestors ate. They ate that bread and still died. I am the bread that came down from heaven, and whoever eats this bread will live forever."
Jesus said all these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
Notes on the Scripture
John 6 begins with Jesus feeding the 5,000. He withdraws when they want to make him a king; the disciples cross the stormy Sea of Galilee to escape the crowd, and are getting nervous about the boat sinking when they see Jesus walking on the water. The crowd follows them the next day and catches up with them in Capernaum, on the eastern side. This is where Christ gives the long teaching about his body and blood.
The ties of Jesus to Moses are never more apparent than here, and Jesus actually makes specific reference to Exodus.
Consider that the crowd of Jews have followed Jesus across a great and dangerous body of water in search of salvation. Jesus did not part the waters, and there was no army in pursuit, but the parallel is obvious and intentional. He is not leading them to a new physical life in a geographical Promised Land, as did Moses, but to a new spiritual land. Crossing the physical sea is purely symbolic. He actually leads the Jews out of the old Promised Land — for they leave Canaan — just as He is leading them out of the Old Covenant, into a promised land that exists outside of geography.
And in pursuit, we have not Pharaoh, but Satan himself. The unwitting emissaries of evil are the Pharisees, holy Jews, who represent the inevitable futility of salvation by works. But Christ will not drown them in the sea; instead, He will be the one to die, to show that He has not overcome merely the physical power of the world's pharaohs, but death itself.
So Christ preaches Himself as the fulfillment of the exodus. As God fed the Jews with manna to sustain their physical life, He now feeds them with His own body, to sustain their eternal spiritual life.
We also get another "new testament commandment". There are not many and they all deal with faith, rather than works, but the language sounds mandatory: "You must eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood."
Jesus does not answer the rather shocked question that begins the passage. In fact, He rubs it in; He elaborates and insists that they are going to have to eat His flesh and drink His blood. But the importance of His refusal to calm their fears — that some sort of cannibalism is about to occur — comes clear in the next verses.