Daily Devotion for January 24, 2016
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 “Virtual Sunday Church” this week takes us to St. Oswald’s Catholic School in Manchester, England.
1. Longing for light, we wait in darkness.
Longing for truth, we turn to you.
Make us your own, your holy people,
light for the world to see.
Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.
2. Longing for peace, our world is troubled.
Longing for hope, many despair.
Your word alone has pow’r to save us.
Make us your living voice.
3. Longing for food, many are hungry.
Longing for water, many still thirst.
Make us your bread, broken for others,
shared until all are fed.
4. Longing for shelter, many are homeless.
Longing for warmth, many are cold.
Make us your building, sheltering others,
walls made of living stone.
5. Many the gifts, many the people,
many the hearts that yearn to belong.
Let us be servants to one another,
making your kingdom come.
Music and Lyrics by Bernadette Farrell
For Sunday Morning
Oh heavenly Lord, who decreed that we should take one day of rest, one special day in remembrance of you, today I celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the moment of His glorious victory over death. I add my voice to countless millions of others in thanks, in praise, and in awe of Your sacrifice for us.
Help me, dear Lord, to dedicate these few moments to You completely. You have taught us that we may dwell with you, even while we are caught in this difficult world, and I pray to dwell with you fully now. Guard me against wandering of mind and the intrusion of mundane thought, so that I may be fully present with you, through the power of Your Holy Spirit.
And in the coming week, I pray that my mind may constantly turn to you, so that I may always remember you when I am tempted to anger, to selfishness, to lust for power and the vanities of this world, or any of the myriad temptations that might assail me in the course of life. In the name of Christ and through faith in Him, I pray,
Sunday Hymn (from Psalm 51)
God, be merciful to me;
On Thy grace I rest my plea;
In Thy vast, abounding grace,
My transgressions all erase.
Wash me wholly from my sin;
Cleanse from every ill within.
For my sins before me rise,
Ever present to my eyes.
I have sinned ‘gainst Thee alone.
In Thy sight this evil done;
That Thy judgment may be clear,
And Thy sentence just appear.
Lo, brought forth was I in sin;
When conceived I was unclean.
Lo, Thou dost desire to find
Truth sincere within the mind:
And Thou wilt within my heart
Wisdom unto me impart.
Then with hyssop sprinkle me,
And form sin I clean shall be.
Wash me from its stain, and lo,
I shall whiter be than snow.
Make me hear joy’s cheering voice;
Make my broken bones rejoice.
From my sins hide Thou Thy face;
My iniquities erase.
O my God, renew my heart,
And a spirit right impart.
Cast me not away from Thee,
Nor Thy Spirit take form me.
Give salvation’s’ joy again,
And a willing mind sustain.
Then thy perfect ways I’ll show
That transgressors may them know;
They converted then shall be
Sinners shall be turned to Thee.
Into your hands, O Lord, Jesus Christ, my God, I commend my spirit. Bless me and all those who pray in faith of You this day; save us and grant unto us everlasting life.
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.
Proverbs 22:10 (The Message)
Kick out the troublemakers and things will quiet down;
you need a break from bickering and griping!
Psalm 79:8-13 (ESV)
Do not remember our past iniquities; help us quickly with your tender mercies, for we have been brought very low.
Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name. Deliver us and purge away our sins, for the sake of your name.
Why should the heathen be able to say, Where is their God? Let him be known among the heathen in our sight, by revenging the blood your servants have shed.
Let the groans of the prisoner come before you; preserve those that are appointed to die, in keeping with your great power;
And return to the hearts of our neighbours seven times their scorn, when they turn it against you, O Lord.
We, your people and the sheep of your pasture, will give you thanks forever; we will show forth your praise to all generations.
Notes on the Scripture
Three of the six verses (8, 11, 13) are very much in keeping with the message of Christ and are a beautiful prayer to God, asking for forgiveness. The phrase 'tender mercies' was used as the title for a good movie, 'Tender Mercies', starring Robert Duvall. (In fact, the movie garnered two Academy Awards, Best Actor for Duvall and Best Original Screenplay, and was nominated for several more, including Best Picture.) It concerns a washed-up country singer with a checkered alcohol-soaked history, estranged from his daughter and ex-wife; he meets a widow who runs a humble motel in rural Texas, very much "wind-swept plains" in the middle of nowhere, and finds redemption.
His past iniquities are forgotten and he is able to forgive himself for his past mistakes; he finds salvation and peace, but in a poor ramshackle motel on the edge of nowhere through his love for a widow and her young son, instead of on a glittering stage in Nashville or Houston.
he other verses are peculiarly Hebrew. The Israelites are having problems losing battles to heathens, and they ask God to help them for the sake of His name. This might sound arrogant to the modern ear, but it reflects the way in which God had set up His first covenant with the Hebrews. Their blessed status in God's eye was personal and tribal. They identify themselves so closely with God that they believe, unabashedly, that their success in battle will make God look better.
It was correct for the Hebrews to believe this, because it was God's will for them to have earthly successes as a sign of His covenant with them. The Old Testament is a constant cycle of the Jews forgetting or ignoring their religious duties and beliefs, God punishing them by invasion or famine or captivity, then a new prophet appearing who leads them back to spiritual correctness, and God then rewarding them with sheep, land, and political supremacy.
Although a number of prophets and several other prominent Old Testament figures led ascetic lives, the Christian values of humility, poverty, etc., were not nearly so prominent in the Hebrew theology of the day. Asceticism was practiced more as self-punishment, often as a proxy for the entire nation, than as a theological rejection of earthly wealth.
These verses also reflect the "eye for an eye" philosophy of righteous vengence against heathens. Unlike the message of Christ, God's first covenant with the Hebrews was often vindictive. Remember, this was written in the period before God had reached out to the Gentiles, through Christ.