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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Daily Devotion for February 16, 2017


<i>Crucifixion (detail)</i> by Egon Schiele, ca. 1890.
Crucifixion (detail) by Egon Schiele, ca. 1890.

Prayers

Scripture

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Lord's Prayer

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.

Amen.



Lord of All Hopefulness

Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy, whose trust, ever child-like, no cares can destroy, be there at my waking, and give me, I pray, your bliss in my heart, Lord, at the break of the day.

Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith, whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe, be there at my labors, and give me, I pray, your strength in my heart, Lord, at the noon of the day.

Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace, your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace, be there at my homing, and give me, I pray, your love in my heart, Lord, at the eve of the day.

Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm, whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm, be there at my sleeping, and give me, I pray, your peace in my heart, Lord, at the end of the day.

Amen.

To Treat Others with Love and Understanding

Heavenly Lord, you have commanded us to love one another, but sometimes even when I am pleasant to another person it is not sincere. Help me, I pray, to be sincere in choosing good over evil. Let my love and concern for others not be a sham. When I work for you, fill me with your Holy Spirit, that I might be committed and enthusiastic in your service. Let me live in your presence, and not get so wrapped up in my life that I forget about you.

And may I be patient when difficulties arise and not give way to frustration and anger, knowing always that the result belongs to you. Let me not take offense at others, let me not be thin-skinned; but shielded by the power of your Spirit, let me not hear insult where none is intended, and shrug off even the most intentional. In Christ's name, I pray this.

Amen.

Dedication

O  God and Father of all, whom the whole heavens adore: Let the whole earth also worship you, all nations obey you, all tongues confess and bless you, and men and women everywhere love you and serve you in peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, I pray,

Amen.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.

Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question

If we confess our sins, how do we know God will forgive them?

Answer: 1 John 1:9
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”



endless knot

Fundamentals

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


Blue Latin Cross

Galatians 6:14 (Daily Prayer Bible)

My Boast (Galatians #96)

And understand: If I boast, it is not about myself. My only boast is in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, upon which I have been crucified to the world, and the world to me. So I have no reason to boast about worldly accomplishments. Perish the thought.


Notes on the Scripture

C

rucifixion is not something that one would associate with boasting. To a Roman subject in 60 A.D., the idea would have seemed ludicrous. It was like a person today bragging about dying in the electric chair. But much of Christianity is topsy-turvy compared to our innate and societal values. Just look at Christ’s first public teaching in the Bible, the Sermon on the Mount. “Blessed are the meek,” He told them, “For they shall inherit the earth.” What?!?

The Sermon on the Mount was a trumpet call, a clarion to an entirely new and outrageous theology. For if there is one thing certain to the natural man, it is this: The strong rule the world.

But now, we understand that God’s power is “made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) And what is the pinnacle of earthly weakness? To be hung on a cross to die. To be executed as a criminal. Not only is one’s life ended, but it is ended in a manner of maximum shame. One is a criminal. We spend our lives seeking the approval of others, and what failure could be greater than having others think so poorly of you as to kill you publicly? All privacy and dignity before men is stripped away. Christ was hung up, elevated and on display so that the crowd could watch Him suffer and die.

The cross is the diametric opposite of wealth, power, success, and good repute among others. It is the absolute bottom of the barrel in every way. But if, as Christ taught us, the kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor and persecuted, the poorest and most persecuted sit at the highest point. And who is poorer or more persecuted than a crucified man?

The symbolism of the cross is central to Paul’s message, and he champions the iconography of the cross repeatedly. One of his greatest speeches is the first chapter of 1 Corinthians: “For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, . . .” (1 Corinthians 1:22-23)

Paul is brash in his language, and he sometimes comes across as a chest-pounding braggart. But we have to believe him when he says that, whatever faults he has as a man, however others may react negatively to his manner, he has only one boast: the perfection of weakness and humiliation that comes from crucifixion. He has no wisdom; he has no miracles. He has, in his innermost heart, only love for the perfectly weak and perfectly sinless man, the Son of God.



<i>The Number of the Beast is 666,</i> by William Blake, ca. 1810
The Number of the Beast is 666, by William Blake, ca. 1810.

Daily Inspiration

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Memory Verse

Proverbs 3:5: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;


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