Daily Devotion for September 27, 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.
Our “Virtual Sunday Church” is actually not a church at all, but the Royal Albert Hall, during the Festival of Massed Choirs.
1. Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven, to earth come down;
fix in us thy humble dwelling;
all thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation;
enter every trembling heart.
2. Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit
into every troubled breast!
Let us all in thee inherit;
let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.
3. Come, Almighty to deliver,
let us all thy life receive;
suddenly return and never,
nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.
4. Finish, then, thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee;
changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.
Music “Blaenwern”, William P. Rowlands, 1905
Lyrics by Charles Wesley, 1747
For Diligence at Prayer
O Lord, take from me: idleness of spirit, which destroys time; vanity of thoughts, which hinders Your presence and distracts my attention to prayer. If, while in prayer, I turn away from You in my thoughts, help me; so that this distraction may not be willful, and that - averting my mind - I may not avert my heart from You. I confess to You, O my Lord God, all the sins of my wickedness committed before You, now and in the past. Forgive me for them for the sake of Your Holy Name, and save my soul, which You have redeemed with Your precious Blood. I entrust myself to Your mercy. I submit to Your will. Do with me according to You mercy and not according to my evil and wickedness.
Thanks for God‘s Peace
Lord, You are the source of true peace. In this fallen world, there is so much alienation through hostility, enmity, strife, anger, unforgiveness, impatience, selfishness, envy, slander and malice. And this lack of peace in relationships spreads like a virus to larger social arenas. It produces a world in which there is little real peace. Without You, I would have no hope of a solution, because this lack of peace with ourselves and others stems from a lack of peace with You.
But You have opened the way to reconciliation by bringing peace through the death of Your Son. You did what we could never hope to do by opening up the way of access and acceptance before You. I thank and praise You for Your boundless love, mercy and forgiveness that have transformed me from a condemned criminal to Your beloved child.
For a Sense of Wonder at God's Creation
Dear Lord, grant me the grace of wonder. Surprise me, amaze me, awe me in every crevice of your universe. Delight me to see how your Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not His, to be the father through the features of men's faces. Each day enrapture me with your marvelous things without number. I do not ask to see the reason for it all; I ask only to share the wonder of it all.
[Seeing God both within me and outside of me.]
The blessing of the Lord rest and remain upon all his people, in every land, of every tongue; the Lord meet in mercy all that seek him; the Lord comfort all who suffer and mourn; the Lord hasten his coming, and give us, his people, the blessing of peace, this day and always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Job 38:1-13,31-41 (ESV)
What Do We Know?
Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, saying:
“Who is this that darkens my counsel, using words without knowledge? Gird your loins like a man; for I am going to ask questions, and you are going to answer me.
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you know, who marked off its measurements? Surely you know that! Who stretched the guide string? Where were its foundations fastened, and who laid the cornerstones, while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted with joy?
Who shut up the sea behind doors when it broke forth like a babe from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling, when I set its boundaries and put into place doors and bars to constrain it, when I said, ‘This far you may come, but no farther, and here is where your proud waves will be stayed’?
Have you commanded the morning since your birth, showing dayspring its place, that it might take hold of the edges of the earth and shake the wicked out of it?
Can you hold the beautiful Pleiades in place, or cut the cord that binds Orion? Can you make the constellations appear in their season, bringing out the Great Bear with her cubs? Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you establish God’s dominion over the universe?
Can you shout to the clouds to cover yourself with water? Do you send lightning bolts on their way? Do these report to you, saying, ‘Here we are’?
Who endowed the heart with wisdom and gave understanding to the mind? Who has the wisdom to count the clouds? Who can tip over the heavens’ water jars, when the dust hardens and the earth sticks together in clods?
Do you hunt the lion’s prey, and feed the hungry cubs in their dens, or lie in wait in the thicket? Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God, and they wander for lack of food?”
Notes on the Scripture
his is about half of God’s diatribe against Job’s prideful speech, in response to Job’s espousing his theories of the universe. Job thinks he has things pretty well figured out, but God disagrees. I mostly read this to keep my own thoughts and theories in perspective, but I’m reminded of it every time I read one of those confident headlines in a magazine or newspaper, “How to Fix ____.” One ongoing topic, for example, is “How to Fix Healthcare”, and the diversity of opinion is united only in the confidence every pundit has in his solution. Having a small bit of knowledge seems to engender a disproportionate degree of self-confidence in overall understanding. And it often seems that the more zealous a person is about his solution, the worse it turns out in practice.
Job is probably the earliest written book in the Bible. God began his written advice to mankind with a stern warning about confidence in our understanding and opinions. If it is “Lesson # 1,” our society apparently has not passed the first day of kindergarten.
More a propos to Daily Prayer, of course, is the utter confidence of many Christians’ belief that they understand God, unlike 95% or more of other Christians in the world. We think we know how to “fix” Christianity. How quickly this vanity of the mind divides us from one another, becoming a tool of Satan.
The Bible tells us, simply and clearly: