Evening Devotion for December 2, 2019
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.
What have I ever done
To deserve even one
Of the pleasures I've known?
Tell me Lord, what did I ever do
That was worth loving You
Or the kindness You've shown?
Lord help me Jesus, I've wasted it so
Help me Jesus I know what I am.
Now that I know that I've needed You so
Help me Jesus, my soul's in your hand.
Tell me Lord, if you think there's a way
I can try to repay
All I've taken from you.
Maybe Lord, I can show someone else
What I've been through myself On my way back to you.
Words and Music by Kris Kristofferson
Prayer for the End of the Day
Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
Your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace,
Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
Your love in our hearts, 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 our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
Your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.
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.
Prayer for the Holy Spirit's Guidance
Send your Holy Spirit to deepen my worship life.
Open my heart to the gifts and cultures which surround my church.
Open my heart to the people who are different from me.
In Jesus' name, I pray.
Now unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.
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.
Preach the gospel every day; if necessary, use words.
~ (St.) Francis of Assisi
Matthew 23:37-39 (ESV)
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate.
For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
Matthew 24:1-2 (ESV)
Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
Notes on the Scripture
lthough it may seem odd to look at one of the last chapters of Matthew during Advent, it is important to understand fully the “why” of Christ’s birth in terms of the old covenant with the Jews, the covenant of Moses. So let us jump forward to the time just before the crucifixion.
In the section just before today’s passage, Matthew 23:29-36, Christ condemned the Pharisees, holding them guilty for the murder of God’s prophets centuries before, calling them “snakes and vipers,” and asking how they expect to escape hell. Their covenant with God has failed. It has ended with God’s judgment of them for their sins.
Yet we know that “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:17) Despite the Jews’ horrific sinfulness, Christ cannot help but let His love for them show. He does not want anyone to go to hell for their sins, even the worst of sinners: the Pharisees and their colleagues, who had spilled the blood of the prophets, who had killed God’s very messengers and would soon kill Christ himself.
The metaphor of a hen gathering chicks under her wings is first seen in the writings of Ezra, in 2 Esdras 1:30-33: “I gathered you as a hen gathers her brood under her wings. But now, what shall I do to you? I will cast you out from my presence. . . . I sent to you my servants the prophets, but you have taken and slain them . . . . Your house is desolate.”
The underlying message in this teaching is that the covenant with the Jews is fulfilled and replaced by God’s final covenant with humanity, the covenant of forgiveness in Christ. Indeed, Christ seems to be speaking as God the Father in the first paragraph, for He is announcing that physical Jerusalem (what Paul calls “Jerusalem . . . in slavery”) will no longer be a holy city. Jerusalem will be left to the Pharisees desolate; God will be gone from it. (And, in fact, the Temple building will be physically destroyed by the Romans 35 years later, never to rise again.) Mighty Jerusalem fails them; they (and we) are saved by humble Bethlehem.
Christ follows “your house is left to you desolate” with the words for “you will not see me again until . . . .” This can only mean one thing. He is the new Temple. God's “temple,” the place where the salvation of humanity dwells, has relocated from a building in Jerusalem to the body of Jesus Christ. Both of them will be “torn down,” but Christ's body will rise again. And the Jews — like everyone else — will not see the Temple again until Christ's second coming.