Daily Devotion for September 24, 2010
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Mina, an Italian pop singer from the 70s, uses her extraordinary low range and rasping, anguished style to produce a unique Magnificat, set to a beautiful minor-key melody. One can hear the Virgin forseeing the crucifixion. Fabulous.
Magnificat anima mea Magnificat
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae
Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est
(Repeat first verse)
Prayer to do Good
If there be some weaker one,
Give me strength to help him on;
If a blinder soul there be
Let me guide him nearer thee;
Make my mortal dreams come true
With the work I fain would do;
Clothe with life the weak intent,
Let me be the thing I meant;
Let me find in Thy employ,
Peace that dearer is than joy;
Out of self to love be led,
And to Heaven acclimated,
Until all things sweet and good
Seem my natural habitude.
To Heal Divisions
Father, may our human family not become separated from you by building barriers of race, color, class, or beliefs. Inspire us to recognize that we are all made in your image and likeness, so that we may grow in appreciation of all people, and encourage each other to grow in pride in who we are and who we are called to be. May we recognize your Son in our midst, and live truly as brothers and sisters. I pray this in the name of Christ, in remembrance of His love for the Samaritan woman at the well.
[Having the humility to see Christ in other people.]
Oh Heavenly Father, in whom I live and move and have my being, I humbly pray you so to guide and govern me by your Holy Spirit, that in all the joys, occupations, and cares of this day I may never forget you, but remember that I am ever walking in your sight. In Christ's name, I pray,
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Acts 8:3, 9:1-2 (ESV)
Saul ravaged the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.
* * *
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
Galatians 1:13-14 (DP Bible)
Paul’s Early Days (Galatians #7)
13-14 You should realize all of this from my history. I hunted down Christians with more zeal than any other Jew in Judea, outstripping the other young men of my generation. I was making my mark in the world; I seemed destined to become a leader of the Pharisees.
13 For you heard about my way-of-life former in Judaism, how in extreme mFyi, the term used here is a near-transliteration of the English word hyperbole (meaning “overstatement” or “exaggeration”). I used to persecute the church of god and was destroying nOr trying to destroy it. it,
14 And I was progressing oLit. was chopping forward, as if with a machete; Paul evokes an image of ruthless ambition, as we must realize that it is people who are being chopped. in Judaism over many contemporaries in generation of me, even more greater zealot being of the handed-down of me traditions.
Notes on the Scripture
The verses from Acts are actually not the first time we encounter Paul (Saul) in the New Testament. He was present when the first martyr, Stephen, was stoned to death by the Sanhedrin: “Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.” (Acts 7:58) So we know that, at least in the first few months after the Pentecost, Paul was already a young up-and-comer; one might guess that he had a position with the Jewish establishment akin to an internship for the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
aul was an educated Pharisee from Tarsus in Cilicia (southeast Turkey). He was a Roman citizen, so clearly, his father had been a person of note himself; and his Roman connection would have served him well. We know he was gifted at rhetoric and oratory. When we see him in Acts 9, he has moved up the ladder, from cloak-holder in the Sanhedrin to its agent in the field, rounding up Christians and bringing them back to Jerusalem in chains, to face punishment by the Sanhedrin.
In a word, young Saul was a star. His credentials as a Christian-hater were golden. But why does he bring this up? One would think, if he wanted people to trust him as an emissary of Christ, he might want to play down his past. A Christian of the day would be justifiably paranoid: we know that the Pharisees sent spies into churches, posing as believers. (And in fact, the Christians of both Damascus and Jerusalem were suspicious of Paul at first. Acts 9:26.)
His purpose is to convince the Galatians that his conversion was not that of a normal Christian. He was not like everyone else, listening to an evangelist in a synagogue or on the street, asking questions, becoming convinced. There was no period of preparation. He was not converted by an evangelist, or an apostle. He was, with a flick of God's mighty finger, utterly transformed, forced instantly into a 180-degree change of direction by Christ Himself. He was chosen by God, and he was ordained by God.
This is the first plank in his proof that his Gospel is a revelation of Christ and, therefore, the revealed Word of God, in all ways superior to the aberrant theologies the Galatians were hearing. Paul was the “real deal”. His Gospel was not merely better or more truthful; it was divine.