Daily Devotion for March 17, 2011
St. Patrick's Day
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.
"Be Thou My Vision", an ancient hymn written by a blind Irish monk, performed by the Belfast Cathedral Youth Choir. It's is very soft so you might need to turn up your volume.
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,
A Lenten Prayer
Almighty God, You know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Irish BlessingDeep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
From A Forest Hymn
Of the great miracle that still goes on,
In silence, round me — the perpetual work
Of thy creation, finished, yet renewed
Forever. Written on thy works I read
The lesson of thy own eternity.
Jesus at the Temple Festival 
Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?"
The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God." Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I said, you are gods'? [Psalms 82:6] If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?
If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father." Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.
He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. And many came to him. And they said, "John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true." And many believed in him there.
Notes on the Scripture
Jesus once again engages his enemies with wordplay, turning their own scripture against them. They can hardly condemn him to death because he has healed and taught; rather they seek to kill him for calling himself the son of God. But he teases them; he cites to them Scripture that calls true believers "gods".
He actually does not say anything that is necessarily blasphemous under Jewish law. Remember, speech is not capitalized; many Bibles affect capitalization to distinguish between the Son of God, meaning Jesus, and the children of God, being all of us. But the distinction does not exist in the spoken word.
Many people in the Jewish Bible (generally speaking, the Old Testament) were consecrated by God and sent by him on some sort of mission. So neither is that outright blasphemy, as defined by the Jews.
Christ also gives them a reasonable alternative: If they do not believe him, believe in his works. There really is no reason they cannot let him live in peace, except for their pride and envy. His only crime is that he threatens the absolute authority claimed by the Pharisees. And even the Roman governor will refuse to find Jesus guilty — and the Romans were by no means hesitant to execute colonial troublemakers.