Daily Devotion for February 11, 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.
Martin Luther's Prayer for Morning
I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all danger and harm. I ask you to preserve and keep me, this day also, from all sin and evil, that in all my thoughts, words, and deeds I may serve and please you. Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all that is mine. Let your holy angels have charge of me, that the wicked one have no power over me.
Prayer for the Departed
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend the souls of your servants departed from this life and beseech you to grant them rest in the place of your rest, where all the blessed repose, and where the light of your countenance shines forever.
And I pray also to grant that my present life may be godly, sober, and blameless, that, I too may be made worthy to enter into your heavenly Kingdom with those I love but see no longer: for you are the Resurrection, and the Life, and the Repose of your departed servants, O Christ our God, and unto you I ascribe all glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
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.
But the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
Genesis 17:22-27 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham 
When he had finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham. Then Abraham took Ishmael his son and all those born in his house or bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day, as God had said to him.
Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. That very day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised.
And all the men of his house, those born in the house and those bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.
Notes on the Scripture
It must have been an eventful day in the house of Abraham. Imagine the uproar when hundreds of grown men were told they must cut off part of their penises! But Abraham does not flinch; as soon as God departs, he puts the knife to himself; and then, he successfully convinces every man to do the same, and every mother to stand by while her it is done to her sons.
The promises God has made are enormous; He will give a great land to Abraham and his house forever, and He will be their God. But God wants more than words and burned sheep in return. The one thing we truly own in life is ourselves; and God demands, as part of the contract, some token of faith that cannot be faked and cannot be retracted. He requires commitment.
And what of women? Do they get off the hook while the men suffer? Hardly; for women by their very nature sacrifice their flesh when they bear and deliver children. They will give more to the Hebrew nation than a bit of skin, and it is enough already.
This sacrifice of one's own flesh will find its ultimate expression in Christ and in the martyrs to follow. To give one's body is the ultimate expression of faith; and that is, symbolically, why the rather gross act of circumcision is so important to Judaism and to the theology of early Christianity.
The sacrifice is not required simply of Abraham, or his progeny, but of every male in his household, because it is important to God that the community itself make the sacrifice. The Hebrews will form the most powerful and persistent community in the history of the world and the only one that still exists from before 1000 B.C. A Jew today can speak the same language as the Jews of 3000 years ago. He follows the same basic law, worships the same God — and will still circumcise his male children when they are eight days old.