Daily Devotion for November 3, 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
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. 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, 16:21-28
The Transfiguration of Christ
Six days later, Jesus took Peter and James, and John his brother, up a high, isolated mountain. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun, and his clothing became as white as light. And then they saw Moses and Elijah talking with him.
Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, we feel blessed to be here. If you will agree, I will make three tabernacles here: one for you, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was speaking, a bright cloud formed above them. And they heard a voice coming from the cloud, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear him."
When the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces, and were terrified. But Jesus touched them and said, "Arise, and do not be afraid." Lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus.
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, "Do not tell what you have seen to anyone, until the Son of man has risen from the dead."
Comment on the Scripture
Moses and Elijah were the chief prophets of Judaism. Moses had given the law, the basis of the Hebrews' covenant with God. Elijah was more of a spiritual leader, who foretold the coming of Christ and ascended into heaven in a chario. Christ represents a coming together of these two themes: the prophet who tells the people God's word and acts as an earthly leader, and the man who embodies God's promise that the righteous would be resurrected to join him in heaven.
God the Father spoke directly to the Hebrews from time to time (as he does in this passage, to affirm Jesus' divinity beyond any doubt). This direct form of address mostly ends with Christ's resurrection. With his ascension, Christ's dominion over the earth was fully established; it was no longer necessary for the Father to address his believers.
Books have been written on why such clear miracles occurred in the Bible, but are no longer seen today. Of course, some people say they do still occur. Some people say that, with the coming of Christ's dominion, they were no longer necessary. Some people just say that God's will is a mystery. Some people say that Biblical miracles are superstitious nonsense. One famous book claimed that the two sides of the human brain were organized differently in earlier generations, causing thoughts to appear as hallucinations. And so on.
I simply don't care. It's a big enough miracle to me that the sun comes up in the morning. A lot of people seem to think science is inimical to faith, but I'm just the opposite. The more I learn about how the universe functions, the more overwhelmed I am at the wonder of it all. In my meager mind, there is absolutely nothing contradictory between respect and even love of science, and complete faith in God and the Bible.