Daily Devotion for August 20, 2010
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.
Mallotte's setting of the Lord's Prayer, this time by Richard Tucker, a bit more "classical" than the Boccelli version yesterday.
Prayer for the Morning
I call upon you, O Lord. In the morning you hear me; in the morning I offer you my prayer, watching and waiting.
I lift my heart to you, O Lord, to be strengthened for this day. Be with me in all I do, my God; guide me in all my ways.
I will carry some burdens today; some trials will be mine. So I wait for your help, Lord, lest I stumble and fall.
I will do my work, Father, the work begun by your Son. He lives in me and I in him; may his work today be done.
Prayer for Family and Friends
Blessed are You, loving Father, For all your gifts to us. Blessed are You for giving us family and friends To be with us in times of joy and sorrow, To help us in days of need, And to rejoice with us in moments of celebration.
Father, We praise You for Your Son Jesus, Who knew the happiness of family and friends, And in the love of Your Holy Spirit. Blessed are you for ever and ever.
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
The Lord's Prayer (part 5)
For thine is the kingdom . . . .
Notes on the Scripture
It is easy to gloss over the end of the Lord's Prayer will little thought. We mostly pray "forthineisthekingdom andthepower andtheglory" in a half-second just to finish up the prayer, with a general understanding that God is great. Meditation on its meaning, however, will enrich and deepen your understanding every time you pray it. Each of the three attributes — kingdom, power, and glory — describes a particular, separate and important aspect of God.
"For thine is the kingdom." God is the King. It is he who makes the highest laws and we must follow them. When there is a conflict between a law given to us by God, and a law given to us by a nation or a church or any other earthly authority, we must follow God's law.
He is also the judge of how well we have followed the laws, and there is no appeal from his judgment. We must appeal or ask for mercy from God himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, when we are condemned by trangressing God's will.
We may follow the laws of earthly rulers, and in most cases we can do so without offending our God. We may pay our taxes; Christ specifically told us to "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's", because God does not care about money and earthly power. He cares about our conduct and our hearts and souls. Furthermore, at least in most Western countries, the criminal laws are not offensive to our beliefs, because they were largely derived from Judeo-Christian principals. Murder, theft, and false swearing are crimes, and most other laws are designed to implement the teaching "love thy brother as thyself".
Even laws about property resemble the laws of the ancient Hebrews. Exodus 22 is full of property laws that sound familiar to us. For example, Exodus 22:6 says, "If a fire breaks out and spreads into thornbushes so that it burns shocks of grain or standing grain or the whole field, the one who started the fire must make restitution." This is still the law in most states. If you start a fire, and it spreads to your neighbor's land, you will have to pay for the damage he suffers.
Sometimes, however, following the rule that "thine is the kingdom" can cause grave difficulties. As one difficult example, during a war, many people have been faced with a dilemma about serving in the armed forces. I am not saying that it is right or wrong to fight as a soldier; this is very much a matter of individual conscience. It is not for me to judge others. (I personally served in the Vietnam War; however, I worked as a translator and never had to kill anyone. I am most thankful that I was not tested in that way — many people were not so lucky.) But a person who is convinced that serving in a particular war contravenes God's law might well suffer a long prison term or virtual exile.
When you pray "thine is the kingdom", then, it means something very specific and powerful; people have given their lives based on the principal.