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Daily Devotion for October 15, 2017
Here, Giotto represents the mystic marriage of St. Francis with Poverty. Hope and Love are the bridesmaids, angels are the witnesses, and Christ himself blesses the union. The bride’s garments are patched, ragged and torn by brambles, children throw stones at her and mock her, and St. Francis looks with love upon his bride.
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.
The picture is a man named Horatio Spafford, a prominent attorney in Chicago married to the love of his life, Anna Larsen. In 1870, their 4-year-old son died of scarlet fever. Six months later, the Great Fire of Chicago destroyed his entire fortune. Two years later, the ship on which his wife and four remaining children were traveling to England sank; only his wife survived. He wrote this hymn while sailing to his wife in England.
The Spaffords lived out the rest of their lives as charity workers in Jerusalem.
To Proclaim the Gospel
Almighty God, who called your Church to bear witness that you were in Christ reconciling the world to yourself: help us to proclaim the good news of your love, that all who hear it may be drawn to you; through him who was lifted up on the cross, and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Sunday Prayer of Praise to God's Glory
Heavenly God, you are the King eternal, immortal and invisible. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God; the same yesterday, today, and forever.
In times long past did you lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands: Yet they will perish, but you will endure; yes, all of them will grow old like a garment, as a coat you will change them, and they will be changed; but you are the same, and your years will have no end.
You alone are God, and do not change; and because of this, we may hope to be preserved. Are you not from eternity, O Lord our God, our Holy One? The everlasting God, even the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, who does not faint nor grow weary? There is no searching out your understanding, mighty Lord, but by our praise we may glorify your Holy Name, now and all our lives.
Almighty Father; I enter your presence confessing the things I try to conceal from you and the things I try to conceal from others. I confess the heartbreak, worry, and sorrow I have caused, that make it difficult for others to forgive me; the times I have made it easy for others to do wrong; and the harm I have done that makes it hard for me to forgive myself. Lord have mercy on me, and forgive me for all my sins against you and against others. And teach the grace to forgive others to all who ask for it, through the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ,
Now all glory to you, mighty God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to you who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time,
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 37:7-8 (GW)
James 2:1-5 (ESV)
Gold Rings and Fine Clothes
My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?
Notes on the Scripture
ften you hear (or say) “cleanliness is next to godliness”, but there is little support for the saying in the Bible. If anything, it is contrary to the teachings of the New Testament. Early Christians, especially the very fervent, often took to the countryside and refused some form of personal hygiene or adornment. St. Francis of Assisi, for example, who was due to inherit considerable worldly goods, renounced all of it, including the clothing; he went barefoot. John the Baptist would have been kicked out of any restaurant in New York. On the other hand, nothing in the Bible forbids bathing, or (in the New Testament) shaving, or any basic hygiene. It is just that such matters are matters of the world and have nothing to do with godliness.
Obsession with personal adornment, on the other hand, is one of the great areas of overlooked sinfulness in modern society. Vanity is a powerful urge, the servant of mighty Pride, king of the deadly sins. The fashion industry is a testament to the power of vanity; even worse, its adherents are ludicrously convinced of its importance. Cosmetic surgery has become a flourishing business.
It is hard to resist. Even if you personally don’t have a great problem with appearances, living in a culture where the importance of fashion and appearance goes unquestioned presents a powerful force to comply. The Amish will tell a woman, “you look very plain today”; they take a lack of personal vanity as a sign of devotion, and the culture supports minimalizing pride in appearance in favor of pursuing rewards of the Spirit.
It is often hard to grasp how very non-Christian society is, even in “Christian” countries. In the matter of dress and appearance, even very sincere Christians will make compromises and rationalize conduct and beliefs that damage their faith. It is a good area of meditation and prayer, when you feel called to examine your sins, to examine your conduct and attitudes about personal appearance.