Daily Devotion for May 7, 2012
Wheat Field with Lark, Vincent van Gogh c. 1887
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.
Like many of the popular music figures of the 1960s, Sam Cooke had a second major career singing Gospel music. Here, he performs a song based on the story of Jesus and the woman at the well.
Prayer for the MorningFor the bird who sings outside my window,
For the tree that stands outside my door,
For the neighbor who waves and says "good morning",
I give you thanks dear God, for these and more,
Your blessings every morning know no limit,
Yet I often rush by not seeing them, I fear;
Let me take a moment this and every morning, God, I pray,
To see them all and know that you are here.
Prayer for Life
O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant me so to die daily to sin, that I may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Prayer for Peace
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live together in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now, oh Lord, I pray that you may lift up the light of your countenance upon me, and give me peace; in my going out and in my coming in; in my sitting down and my rising up; in my work and in my play; in my joy and in my sorrow, in my laughter and in my tears; until that day comes which is without dawn and without dark.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
1 Peter 1:22-25 (ESV)
That Which Will Not Perish
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers, and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever."
Notes on the Scripture
This passage begins with another of Peter's long sentences. It looks impenetrable, but what he is saying is, actually, not hard to understand.
We have "purified our souls by obedience to the truth." The souls of all have been corrupted by life. By obeying Christ's teaching, by believing in Him, we have purified our souls of this corruption. Christ's truth includes a teaching that we should love one another with a sincere "brotherly" love.
Since the truth we have followed tells us to share this form of love, it is imperative that we build this love with other Christians. We cannot pretend, either. It must be sincere. We cannot fake it, acting nice to someone we can't stand, smiling while we are boiling inside. We must examine our thoughts, pray where we feel anger or judgment towards another, ask the Holy Spirit to help us.
Why? It is part of our rebirth in the spirit. We are a new person when we are baptized and/or accept Christ fully.
Our old self existed entirely as a perishable body and we made decisions based solely on animal drives and selfishness. But the Word of God is living, not dead. Jesus is alive; He defeated death. And furthermore, Christ and his teachings abide: that is, they have a permanent home with us, inside us, in the person of the Holy Spirit.
Peter calls the source of our bodies "perishable seed", which is easy enough to understand. But when we are reborn, our selves and our souls have another existence created by the imperishable seed of God's word. Our body stays alive for a short while after this transformation — maybe for 100 years, maybe for a day, but a short while in terms of a universe that is 10 billion years old. During this time, our earthly body continues to demand that its needs and desires be met, which can lead us to sin.
Peter elaborates a little on the impermanence of the perishable seed, by quoting a passage from Isaiah. The analogy of human life to grass appears many times in the Bible. It helps us to understand, because the grass of the pastures lives for just one year — think of "grass" as wheat — and we can see the constant death and rebirth of humanity much clearer after watching wheat grow and die for a few years.