Daily Devotion for January 27, 2017
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.
If you listen to this short hymn — “Ach Herr” from Bach’s Passion of St. John — and follow along with the translation, you will be rewarded.
Den Leib in seim Schlafkammerlein
Alsdenn vom Tod erwecke mich,
Herr Jesu Christ, erhoere mich,
Music by Johann Sebastian Bach
Lyrics by Martin Schalling (1571)
Prayer for God's Gifts
Oh Lord and Master of my life, take away from me the spirit of laziness, cowardliness, lust for power, and malicious and idle speech. But rather give me, throughout the day to come, an ample spirit of vitality and force in your service, to the benefit of your glory and the good of my fellow man. Let me act in humility, patience, and decency at all times, seeing my own error and overlooking the faults of others; and let me always know the presence of your Holy Spirit, to remind me of what I have asked, in the name of my savior Jesus Christ,
To Find God in His Creation
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.
For this is love and nothing else is love,
To which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends he will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.
Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
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.
Psalm 55:22 (KJV)
Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee:
he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
Galatians 6:2 (American Bible)
Sharing Burdens (Galatians #86)
2 Carry each other’s burdens, thereby fulfilling Christ’s commandment.
Notes on the Scripture
ome of the ideas in Chapter 6 of Galatians are a bit jumbled up, but reading through the verses in order and then piecing together the parts that belong together makes his meaning clear. Verse 2, by itself, is not difficult to parse. It seems to relate to verse 1 and to amplify it.
Verse 1, remember, tells us to “restore” a brother or sister who has fallen into sin, gently, carefully, and with humility. Verse 2 relates both the duty towards others, to help them if their faith wavers, and also to the humility we must grasp while helping them. We must generally carry each others’s burdens. If you are walking with someone and they stumble and are headed for a painful fall, you naturally reach out a hand to keep them from landing on the ground.
But we are walking with others. Walking is a very common analogy to living in the spirit; we speak of “our walk with Christ.” If we are not walking with others, we should be! If we are alone in our faith, we need to take action and find others who share our belief, for Christ never meant us to walk alone. He was sorely pained to ascend to heaven, leaving us without Him to help us along and physically walk at our side. When He spoke of the Holy Spirit, He spoke of something or someone that would take His place as our companion, someone to be with us in His absence. (E.g. John 14:16-18.)
But while we have a perfect Spirit to be our companion, we also need other people. They may be imperfect, but they are physical. They are, like Jesus, corporeal. Paul tells us to carry each other’s burdens; how can we carry each other’s burdens in solitude?
Also, remember what Christ told us about prayer: “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” (Matthew 18:20)
There is an ambiguity in the second verb of verse 2, “fulfill”; this can be read as imperative (for the imperative here is identical in form to the indicative) giving it an even stronger sense of obligation. The law that this fulfills is Christ’s admonition to love one’s neighbor. Love is not a sentimental emotion, but action. To love another human is most profoundly to carry his burden; and carrying another’s burden can range from the tiniest act of charity to allowing oneself to be killed by crucifixion.