Evening Devotion for March 17, 2019
Feast of Saint Patrick
Few people realize that Patrick was never formally canonized by the Catholic Church. Moreover, his traditional color is a shade of blue. Irish Nationalists, whose color was green, co-opted him in 1798.
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.
In honor of Irish Christianity, we have a “Gaelic” hymn today from two very talented Christian songwriters, Stuart Townend and Chris Getty.
In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone! - who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.
Music and Lyrics by
Keith Getty and Stuart Townend
Prayer to Know God
O Lord our God, who is always more ready to bestow Your good gifts upon us than we are to seek them, and Who is more willing to give more than we desire or deserve: help me, and those who pray with me, so to seek You that we may truly find You, so to ask that we may joyfully receive, so to knock that the door of Your mercy may be opened for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the day and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.
Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me in the coming day, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.
The Morning “Lorica” (Prayer) of Saint Patrick
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I arise today through the strength of Heaven
the rays of the sun,
the radiance of the moon,
the splendor of fire,
the speed of lightening,
the swiftness of the wind,
the depth of the sea,
the stability of the earth
the firmness of rock.
I arise today through the power of God:
God’s might to comfort me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to lead me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s Heavenly Host to save me
from the snares of the devil,
from temptations to sin,
from all who wish me ill,
from near and afar,
alone and with others.
May Christ shield me today
against poison and fire,
against drowning and wounding,
so that I may fulfill my mission
and bear fruit in abundance.
Christ behind and before me,
Christ behind and above me,
Christ with me and in me,
Christ around and about me,
Christ on my right and on my left,
Christ when I lie down at night,
Christ when I rise in the morning,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone that speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked will I return. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
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 118:24-26 (KJV)
This is the day which the Lord hath made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord:
O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord:
we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.
Colossians 1:3-14 (The Message)
Freedom from the Dark Dungeon
ur prayers for you are always spilling over into thanksgivings. We can’t quit thanking God our Father and Jesus our Messiah for you! We keep getting reports on your steady faith in Christ, our Jesus, and the love you continuously extend to all Christians. The lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope. The Message is as true among you today as when you first heard it. . . .
Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard.
As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.
God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.
Notes on the Scripture
Darkness is used in Scripture to express a great many things. In the Bible, as in most human society, darkness is tied to sorrow; people who have lost a loved one find the nights the hardest time to bear. We talk about a depressed person being in a dark or gloomy state of mind. In our culture, we wear black to express mourning.
But God, in both the old and new covenants, has rescued us from the power of darkness. He has helped us in our worldly problems and struggles and has promised a much greater help in the eternal night of death. We pray every night in gratitude for our daily bread. The mere fact that there is a sun that comes up in the morning is a miracle of deliverance that is repeated every day.
Darkness is even more strongly associated with ignorance. Those who cannot comprehend God’s Word dwell in the dark, unable to see truth. The Gospel of John tells us that the world was darkness, except for the light which was with God, and was God, and which became manifest on earth in the person of Christ. (John 1:5.) One of the fundamental purposes of Christ’s mission was shining his light into the darkness of human ignorance. I thank God that many of us, though we know comparatively little, at least understand that we were born blind, but that we can now see. Through Christ, God has delivered us from the power of darkness.
We can see the work of both the darkness and the light on St. Patrick’s Day. A man who brought the light to Ireland, and freed its people from the dungeon of darkness, is parodied by those blind to his message. Some of the Irish and their descendants build themselves a golden calf painted green, then parade around it in an orgy of drunken nationalism. God help us. May we remember and pray thanks for the poor slave boy, dragged from his home (possibly in Scotland) to a barbaric island, to bring its people the Light of truth.