Daily Devotion for September 11, 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.
We are trying something new today. Since a majority of the people who come to Daily Prayer on Sunday have not been able to get to church, we are going to take our music from an actual church service. The music and video is likely to be a bit more amateurish, but it gives a better "you are there" experience -- the fumbling around, the lady in the next pew who sings too loud, etc.
Today's service is from a small Episcopal church. We will visit different denominations every week. The words of the hymn are printed below the video, so that you can sing along. Let us know how you like it!
1. Crown him with many crowns, the Lamb upon his throne, Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own. Awake, my soul, and sing of him who died for thee, and hail him as thy matchless King through all eternity.
2. Crown him the Lord of life, who triumphed o'er the grave, and rose victorious in the strife for those he came to save. His glories now we sing, who died, and rose on high, who died, eternal life to bring, and lives that death may die.
3. Crown him the Lord of peace, whose power a scepter sways from pole to pole, that wars may cease, and all be prayer and praise. His reign shall know no end, and round his pierced feet fair flowers of paradise extend their fragrance ever sweet.
4. Crown him the Lord of love; behold his hands and side, those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified. All hail, Redeemer, hail! For thou hast died for me; thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.
"For Each New Morning"For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
I thank thee.
Prayer for Peace
We thank you, master and lover of mankind, King of the ages and giver of all good things, for destroying the dividing wall of enmity and granting peace to those who seek your mercy. We appeal to you to awaken the longing for a peaceful life in all those who are filled with hate for their neighbors, thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war.
Grant peace to your servants. Implant in them the fear of you and confirm in them love for one another. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement. For you are our peace and to you we ascribe glory: to the Father and the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages.
Prayer for Renewal
Lord, I am one of your people, the sheep of your flock. I pray for you to heal those who are wounded; touch those who are in pain; clean those who are soiled; warm those who are cold; help me to know the Father's love through Jesus the shepherd, and through the Spirit.
Help me to lift up that love, and show it all over this land. Help me to build love on justice and justice on love. Help me to believe mightily, hope joyfully, and love divinely. Renew me that I may help renew the face of the earth.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret — it only causes harm.
Genesis 1:1-3 (ESV)
Does God Exist?
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
Notes on the Scripture
Most scientists would agree that, in the beginning, the "earth was without form and void, and there was darkness everywhere". It is generally accepted that the universe had a beginning and, before that beginning — well, nobody really knows, exactly. Scientists make important-sounding guesses, but they don't actually know. As far as anyone knows, neither energy, nor matter, nor time, nor space as we know it even existed.
Human beings have a terrible habit of acting like they know things when they really don't. Just a few hundred years ago, a reknown physician would tell you, with utter assurance, that your illness was caused by an imbalance of humours, and should be treated by sticking leeches on you to remove excess blood. Scientists, like every other kind of expert, sometimes have a hard time saying "I don't really know".
Stephen Hawking, the famous physicist, recently declared that God does not exist. Because of his popularity and status as a famous scientist, an expert on the beginning of the universe, people seemed to think he has some sort of special insight into the issue. But he doesn't.
He does not actually understand his own area of expertise; he doesn't know whether there was a "Big Bang". Even within the language of science, it is only a theory. And neither Hawking nor any other physicist even attempts a coherent proof of what existed before the Big Bang, or how or why it happened. Hawking's own explanation is that, well, the universe just popped into existence!
This isn't a diatribe against science, or all the wonderful things done by all the brilliant and hard-working people that have improved our lives so much. The point is: Steven Hawking's opinion on the existence of God has no more validity than that of a washerwoman.
What we Christians understand, that Hawking does not, is that God cannot be known simply with the mind. Spiritual knowledge cannot be found by mathematics. We can only find God with our heart and our spirit, and with the innocence of a child.