Daily Devotion for July 30, 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.
Our “Virtual Sunday Church” this week takes us to Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City
Quia respéxit humilitátem ancíllae suae:
Et misericórdia eius in progénies et progénies timéntibus eum.
Fécit poténtiam in bráchio suo: dispérsit supérbos mente cordis sui.
Esuriéntes implévit bonis: et dívites dimísit inánes.
Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto,
Call to Sunday Worship
O Lord, I beseech you mercifully to hear my prayers, and the prayers of all your people who call upon you; and grant that we may both perceive and know what things we ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill them; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Saint Francis’ Prayer of Praise
You are holy, Lord, the only God,
and your deeds are wonderful.
You are strong;
You are great.
You are the Most High,
You are almighty,
You, holy Father, are
King of heaven and earth.
You are Three and One,
Lord God, all good.
You are Good, all Good, supreme Good,
Lord God, living and true.
You are love,
You are wisdom,
You are humility,
You are endurance.
You are rest,
You are peace.
You are joy and gladness.
You are justice and moderation.
You are all our riches,
And you suffice for us.
You are beauty,
You are gentleness.
You are our protector,
You are our guardian and defender,
You are courage.
You are our haven and our hope.
You are our faith,
Our great consolation.
You are our eternal life,
Great and wonderful Lord,
[Diligence in my duties.]
All through this week, O Lord, by the power of your quickening Spirit, let me touch the lives of others for good, whether through the word I speak, the prayer I speak, or the life I live.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 37:10-11 (NKJV)
For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more.
But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
Revelation 7:9-17 (ESV)
After this I, John, looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from? ”I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them. They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Notes on the Scripture
The Revelation of St. John the Divine, known simply as Revelation or Book of Revelation, is perhaps the most difficult book in the Bible for many Christians. Comparatively few people read it, and probably most Christians are wary of it, because of the elaborate weird imagery describing the Second Coming of Christ.
To say that Revelation is an “apocalypse” just adds to the confusion, because few people understand what the word actually means. Apocalypse means “revelation” — the lifting of a veil or curtain, so that something previously unseen can be seen. It usually refers to a prediction of the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.
he narrow meaning of “apocalypse” that most people have — a violent and frightening end of the world — really originated from the Book of Revelation itself! But one could as easily call Daniel apocalyptic, or even the more prosaic works of someone like Marshall McLuhan, the man who coined terms like “the global village” and “the information age” to describe the great changes in society we have been seeing in the past 50 years.
Today’s Bible passage describes heaven. It depicts the relationship of everyone who has been saved by Jesus Christ to God, after the Day of Judgment. It was likely much more popular in ancient times, when people wanted a literal, concrete description of what eternity would be like. In places, metaphors from the teachings of Christ become concrete images, such as the “springs of the water of life”.
One particularly helpful image is John’s description of “the blood of the Lamb”. This rather gory concept is often embraced by very fervent Christians but somewhat disturbing to others; John actually tones the imagery down, by showing us that this blood is just a figurative expression for the sacrifice made by Christ and that washing a robe in it, rather than being gory, is a process that will turn the robe white. Figuratively, the “blood” is a bleach, one that is so powerful it removes the stain of sin entirely.
So those who have been saved by their belief in Christ, a countless multitude from every nation, are dressed in perfect white robes. This is a visual metaphor for the grace of Christ, which removes the wages of sin from our souls and leaves us in perfect innocence — represented by a perfect, snowy white robe — so that we will be acceptable to stand before God.
In the final paragraph, John gives us a lovely bit of poetry, words of comfort and peace to describe how a time awaits us, when all our suffering will end. This too is apocalypse, even though a marked change from the mass of terrifying imagery that characterizes Revelation. For a curtain is lifted to show us that all will change; pain will end, and God will give us perfect happiness.