Daily Devotion for April 27, 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.
Fernando Ortega reconceives this wonderful old hymn, managing to retain the charm of the original.
with grief and shame weighed down,
now scornfully surrounded
with thorns, thine only crown:
how pale thou art with anguish,
with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish
which once was bright as morn!
What thou, my Lord, has suffered
was all for sinners' gain;
mine, mine was the transgression,
but thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
'Tis I deserve thy place;
look on me with thy favor,
vouchsafe to me thy grace.
What language shall I borrow
to thank thee, dearest friend,
for this thy dying sorrow,
thy pity without end?
O make me thine forever;
and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
outlive my love for thee.
Music by Hans Leo Hassler (1600)
Lyrics by J.W. Alexander, 1830
Prayer for the Morning
The night has passed, the sun shines its light upon us, and the day lies open before me. As I rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of your presence fill me with love for you and my fellow man, holy God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Abide with me, I pray, now and forever.
For Renewal of the Holy Spirit
Renew in our own days your miracles like a second Pentecost. Grant that the Church, re-united in prayer, may extend the kingdom of Jesus - a kingdom of truth and justice, of love and peace.
Prayer to Give Witness When Called Upon
Oh my God, I wish I could convert as many sinners as there are grains of sand in the sea and on the earth, as many as there are leaves on the trees, plants in the fields, atoms in the air, stars in the sky, rays in the sun or the moon, creatures on the face of the earth. Loose my tongue Oh God that it may never be still in the face of embarrassment or hostility; put your words upon it, that I might serve you as I want to deep in my heart; let me know what to say, that I may never be at a loss of words when I am called upon to help those who seek you. And let me speak always in love and respect of others, this day and always,
[In what ways would I be better off if I were less assertive?]
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have blessed me with the grace of forgiveness through the sacrifice He made for me and for all people. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
The Sum of a Christian
The person who bears and suffers evils with meekness and silence, is the sum of a Christian man.
~ John Wesley (1763)
Matthew 5:5 (ESV)
The Beatitudes 
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Notes on the Scripture
All of the beatitudes have more than one level of meaning. But always, the most important meaning is also the most obvious one; for Jesus did not make Christianity difficult. The Beatitudes, and the entire Sermon on the Mount, could be summed up in a single short sentence: Jesus said, “Be like me.”
To say that the meaning is obvious and clear is not to say that it is ordinary, or simple to implement. The idea here is astonishing. The received wisdom of modern life is that self-assertiveness is the key to success. Dozens of experts will be glad to sell you a book explaining how to become self-activated, aggressive, ambitious; how to make others look up to you, how to rise to the top of the heap, how to run first in the rat race. For women, there is a special, gender-specific body of self-help work, that begins by teaching them shame at “being a doormat.” Meekness is failure. Attend a Leadership Conference!
Once again, Jesus turns our knowledge topsy-turvy. He tells us that the kitchen maid will some day own the manor house. Preposterous. Yet, his credibility is bolstered by his rare ability to say, “Do as I do, not just as I say,” for Christ was the ultimate servant. And as such, he scored the greatest victory in history: triumph over death.
Merriam-Webster tells us that meek means, not simply gentle and submissive, but specifically “enduring injury with patience and without resentment.” Christ is called the “Lamb of God” for a number of reason, and here is yet another; for a lamb is the meekest of God's creatures.
Judaism adds a level of understanding to inheritance. The passage can be translated, “they shall inherit the land.” To a Jew, the land is Israel. And up until now, one could hardly call the Hebrew method of acquiring the land “meek”. The covenant of Moses was a covenant of violence against the heathen tribes of Canaan. So in essence, Jesus is repudiating a central tenet of the Old Testament. Jewish listeners would have been astounded, hearing this for the first time.
But unlike the Jews who first heard this, we already follow Christ. We trust his word implicitly; thus, meekness is our goal. And you know what? It works out rather well in terms of living our lives on earth. When we manage to control our anger and self-righteousness, we profit by it. Feeling entitled breeds resentment, from which proceeds all kinds of unhappiness.
But being meek is not easy! Nor can we expect perfection. But by prayer and meditation, and using the power or the Spirit, we can wrestle our pride into a small corner; and our lives will know a peace that we might not have thought possible.