Daily Devotion for February 24, 2021
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.
The Oslo Gospel Choir, known primarily for pop-sounding Christian worship music, changes gears in this fantastic Kyrie.
NOTE: We have not provided the Norwegian text; what follows is simply the English translation.
Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison, Kyrie Eleison
(Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.)
The wind blows hard against this mountain side
Across the sea into my soul.
It reaches into where I cannot hide,
Setting my feet upon the road.
My heart is old, it holds my memories;
My body burns a gemlike flame.
Somewhere between the soul and soft machine
Is where I find myself again.
Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel,
Kyrie eleison, through the darkness of the night,
Kyrie eleison, where I'm going, will you follow?
Kyrie eleison, on a highway in the light.
When I was young I thought of growing old,
Of what my life would mean to me,
Would I have followed down my chosen road
Or only wished what I could be?
Music and Lyrics Traditional and
by Christian Mayrhofer
For a Steady Mind While at Prayer
O Lord, take from me idleness of spirit, which destroys time; and vanity of thought, which hinders Your presence and distracts my attention to prayer. And if, while in prayer, I turn away from You in my thoughts, help me to return to my purpose; so that I might not avert my heart from You, during the few precious moments I dedicate to talking with You.
And grant me this day, dear Lord, that You may never be completely out of my thoughts. Let me carry you as a voice to guide my every step as I slip down the path of this precious day, that I might always remember Your will, and lighten the world around me. Help me to make every moment of my day, every word from my mouth, a prayer, that I might live in Your presence.
Mighty Lord, there are marvelous things that I do not know, nor can I comprehend: things that happen in my life, and things that happen in my friends’ lives, and things that happen in the world. I pray to be thankful when I hear of all of them, to appreciate everything that comes across my path. So often life hurts, and I get angry or upset; I do not understand, yet you ask me to be thankful for everything, and have faith.
So I thank you now, Lord, for all those occasions when I have forgotten or have been so caught up in emotions that I could not. Help me to be thankful, I pray, when the rains come on the just and the unjust, that you care so much about me, that the rains come to chasten, to build character and godliness in me. And help me to live as a mirror of your Son, so that I might reach others.
“As a moth gnaws a garment, so doth envy consume a man.”
~ St. John Chrysostom (349-407)
May I go in peace, with God and with his other children, and may we love one another as Christ taught us. May I follow the example of good men of old, and may God comfort and help me and all who believe in Him, both in this world and in the world which is to come.
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.
A farmer too lazy to plant in the spring has nothing to harvest in the fall.
~ Proverbs 20:4 (The Message)
Exodus 14: 15-22 (ESV)
The Parting of the Red Sea 
he Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.
Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
Notes on the Scripture
The first line might seem puzzling: Why would God criticize the Hebrews for crying out to Him? The reason is that it shows lack of faith. He has already provided for them. They should have enough faith to break camp and travel towards the pillar of fire and cloud, where God Himself is manifest, as He has already instructed them.
From a human perspective, one can understand the Hebrews’ fear. They appear to be trapped by a mighty army, one they can neither fight nor outrun. They cannot even run, because they are in camp. It would have taken them many hours to pack up for travel. And even if they could run — where to? Into the sea to drown? Into the desert, leaving their possessions behind, to be cut down by chariots in a matter of hours?
But the angel of God, which has been leading them, now changes roles and becomes their protection. It moves behind them, like a great wall blocking the Egyptian advance.
Both the pillar and the wind tie into two enduring Biblical symbols. The pillar lights the Hebrews’ preparations but plunges the Egyptians into a darkness; they cannot go forward, cannot find the Hebrews or even move, because they are blind. This is the darkness of the universe without God, the void, the emptiness and confusion of life when one will not hear God’s truth. Whereas the Hebrews are “enlightened,” both literally and figuratively.
“I AM” (Exodus 3:14)
God does not exist in a place, but just as He sometimes chooses a name or a form by which people can know Him, here he chooses to center his existence to the east, for that is the direction of the promised land of Canaan. The Hebrews travel literally towards Canaan, and figuratively towards God’s power. We have seen an east wind before, during the eighth plague: “So Moses stretched out his staff over Egypt, and the Lord made an east wind blow across the land all that day and all that night. By morning the wind had brought the locusts.” (Exodus 10:13)
And finally, we get the big scene, as Moses raises, not the sword of human might, but the staff of holy might. The sea parts with high walls on either side and, not mud, but “dry ground” beneath the Hebrews’ feet. This is the straight and narrow path, the path of righteousness, the path to salvation.