Daily Devotion for January 10, 2012
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 old recording of "Church in the Wildwood" by the Chuck Wagon Gang is a window into history, as if we can sit with our great- or great-great-grandparents in church for a moment.
Prayer of Thanks for God's Creation
O Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye. Bless me to remember you this day. When I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through Christ I pray,
For our restful sleep at night,
For the rain and sunshine bright,
For the love that Thou dost send,
For our homes and for each friend,
For the day and all its pleasures,
Grateful thanks I render now.
May our lives pass on the blessings,
None can give to us, but Thou.
The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
But the belly of the wicked suffers want.
Paul's Plan to Visit Rome 
When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you. I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.
I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company.
May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
Notes on the Scripture
This appears to be the original end of the letter. But Paul was a "good talker", and he has a full chapter of afterthoughts yet to come.
The writing of such a long epistle would have limited the amount of editing. Paul was either dictating it, or else writing rough drafts, which Tertius would then transcribe in neat Greek print onto a parchment scroll. Editing would thus have meant tearing up a finished scroll and starting over, a loss of considerable labor. So Paul simply left the first ending and added another one (Chapter 16).
Paul is nearing the end of his third journey. The church at Corinth was one of his greatest successes, as it was large and included numerous well-to-do members. They had been able to give him considerable money to be donated to the church at Jerusalem.
Paul must take these donations in person, because there is no other safe way to transport money; but he has good reason for trepidation. The corrupt high priests of the Sanhedrin continue to wield power in Jerusalem; many of them have ties to the Herod dynasty, and all of them hate him. And as it turns out, they will in fact arrest him and later, when the Roman governor intervenes, try to murder him. His arrest will spoil his plans to travel to Spain. Ironically, however, it will facilitate his visiting Rome; he will be sent there as a prisoner, for trial before the Emperor.
Traditions of the Catholic Church hold that Peter was already in Rome at this time, presiding as the first Pope; and he may have been, but both Catholic and Protestant scholars consider it problematic. Peter was not hated by the high priests nearly so much as Paul and had been able to live in Jerusalem in relative peace. He continued to live under Jewish law and, despite his baptism of Cornelius and acceptance of Gentiles, personally rarely consorted with Gentiles.
Where Paul was identified as the primary missionary to the Gentiles, Peter was the primary missionary to the Jews. In fact, Paul and he had had a great argument, when Paul gave a person named "Cephus", most likely Peter, a dressing-down for refusing to eat with Gentiles. (Galatians 2:11-21)
At any rate, Paul would accomplish two-thirds of the travel plans he outlines in today's passage: trips to Jerusalem and Rome. He probably never reached Spain, though.