Daily Devotion for September 4, 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
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
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 3:13-17
John the Baptist Baptizes Jesus
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan, to John, to be baptized by him. But John was reluctant, saying, "I need to be baptized by you. Why do you come to me?"
But Jesus answered, "Allow it now: for in this manner we will fulfil all righteousness." And so John baptized him.
And Jesus, when he had been baptized, got out of the water right away. And the heavens were opened above him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending in the form of a dove, which landed on him; and then, a voice sounded out of the heavens, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased".
The Servant of the Lord"Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him
and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
He will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his law the islands will put their hope."
Notes on the Scripture
Here, Jesus begins his adult ministry. He asks John the Baptist to baptize him, which puzzles and amazes John. John asks him "why?" and Christ answers only that it will fulfill "all righteousness", which isn't much in the way of an explanation. Perhaps the simplest answer is that Christ, having humbled himself to be born human, wanted to show that he was one of us.
Equally important, this event brings the Holy Spirit to dwell with a living human, beginning the time of God's second covenant with humanity. The savior is anointed not with a bolt of lightning and a sword in his hand, but with a spirit in the form of a peaceful dove. This recalls the great prophecy of Isaiah: a servant will come to establish justice to the entire earth, and he will do it in peace, without so much as breaking a twig or raising his voice in the street.