Daily Devotion for April 2, 2011
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.
This is my very favorite setting of the Kyrie Eleison ("Lord Have Mercy"), sung here in monastic style by an a cappella Greek Orthodox male choir. (I will try to find another version, sung by a mixed choir with organ; this Kyrie used to be sung in Catholic and Anglican/Episcopal churches.)
Prayer for the Morning
I call upon you, O Lord. In the morning you hear me; in the morning I offer you my prayer, watching and waiting.
I lift my heart to you, O Lord, to be strengthened for this day. Be with me in all I do, my God; guide me in all my ways.
I will carry some burdens today; some trials will be mine. So I wait for your help, Lord, lest I stumble and fall.
I will do my work, Father, the work begun by your Son. He lives in me and I in him; may his work today be done.
Prayer for Freedom from Fear
O Lord, I beseech you to deliver me, and all of your children, from the fear of the unknown future; from fear of failure; from fear of poverty; from fear of bereavement; from fear of loneliness; from fear of sickness and pain; from fear of age; from fear of death. Help us, O Father, by your grace to love and fear only you, and fill our hearts with cheerful courage and loving trust in you; through our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.
A Lenten Prayer of St. Basil the Great
I bless you, O God most high and Lord of mercies, who forever works great and mysterious deeds for me, glorious, wonderful, and numberless; who provides me with sleep as a rest from my infirmities and as a repose for my body tired by labor. I thank you that you have not destroyed me in my transgressions, but in your love toward mankind you have raised me up, as I lay in despair, that I may glorify your majesty.
I entreat your infinite goodness, enlighten the eyes of my understanding and raise up my mind from the heavy sleep of indolence; open my mouth and fill it with your praise, that I may unceasingly sing and confess you, who is God glorified in all and by all, the eternal Father, the only-begotten Son, and the all-holy and good and life-giving Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
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.
Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?
So is he who sleeps with another manís wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished.
John 14:15-24 (ESV)
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit [Part 1]
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."
Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?"
Jesus answered him, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Fatherís who sent me."
Notes on the Scripture
Today's verses, and those of the next few days, deal with one of the most puzzling aspects of Christianity: The Holy Spirit. With the exception of people who worship in Pentecostal or Charismatic denominations, the Holy Spirit takes a distant third place to the Father and Son in most worship. People may pray to the Holy Spirit, and recognize that he is a part of the Trinity, but still — the Holy Spirit is harder to understand than the Father or Jesus.
In today's lesson, Christ really begins to speak in earnest about how his followers will live after his death. They will have difficulties. One of the benefits of Christ was that people could see him. He was right there in front of them, a regular man, preaching a wonderful message of hope and performing miraculous deeds.
His loss, like the death or disappearance of any great leader, would create an enormous difficulty in continuing his work. It is human nature. People rally around a leader.
So Christ promises that, even though he will go where nobody can follow him (for a while) and nobody can see him, he will give them a Helper. Christ will "manifest himself" in those who love him.