Daily Devotion for October 7, 2009
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.
Prayer for the Morning
O Lord God of Israel and God of all the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye. Bless me to remember you this day; when I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted.
Prayer for Peace
Through Christ I pray, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live together in justice and peace.
Prayer for All People
O God, the creator and preserver of all humanity, I humbly pray to you for all sorts and conditions of people; that it might please you to make your Word known to them and bring your saving health to all nations. In particular I pray for the entirety of your church, in all of its many forms; that it may be guided and governed by your Holy Spirit, and that all who profess your name and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth. May all of us live in the unity of spirit our faith in Christ provides to us, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life.
Finally, I commend to your fatherly goodness all those who are ill or in distress, in their mind, body, or circumstances. May it please you to comfort and relieve them in accordance with their needs, giving them patience during their suffering, and a fortunate outcome to all of their problems. And this I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, who was so pleased to relieve the suffering of those he encountered.
Community of Prayer
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Gospel of Matthew 11:11-19
Christ Teaches About John the Baptist 
"Among those who are born of women, none is greater than John the Baptist: but anyone who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."
"From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force. For all the prophets and the law gave prophesy prior to John. If you are willing to receive it, this is Elijah, that is to come. He that has ears to hear, let him hear."
"But what can I say about this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplace, who call unto their fellows and say, 'We piped for you, but you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.' For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, 'He is possessed by a demon.' But the Son of man came eating and drinking, they said, 'Look, a glutton and a wine drinker, a friend of publicans and sinners!' ""Wisdom is justified by her works."
Commentary on the Scripture
This is a difficult passage to follow, and so it is not often quoted. Jesus is clearly unhappy at the conduct of the Hebrews towards John and himself. They do not follow the teachings of the prophets, especially Elijah, or else they would understand that John's coming was foretold specifically in Elijah's prophecy. Nevertheless, although John is a great man and an important step in the fulfillment of the prophets, he does not hold the key to the kingdom of heaven. (That is reserved for Christ and his disciples, a point that John would fully agree with.)
The Hebrews (who generally followed one of the two prominent sects, the Pharisees and the Sadducees) reject John because of his fasting, and reject Christ because he does not fast. Instead of hearing and obeying the law, they try to make themselves the givers of law; like bossy children, if they play music they expect others to dance, and so they reject John the Baptist, who is so prone to fasting. On the other hand, if they wail they expect others to mourn, and so they reject Christ, who eats and drinks when they say it is time to fast.
The last line is an eternal truth in all aspects of life. It is repeatedly echoed by secular sayings, e.g.: "You can't tell a book by its cover", "The proof of the pudding is in the tasting", "Beauty is only skin deep". It is especially important in Christ's teachings, as religious figures sought to attract followers by their appearance or the outward form of behavior: fasting and praying in public was a common method. This was unusually effective because worship of the time, including Judaism, involved a great deal of public ritual.