Expulsion from the Garden of Eden (detail), by Thomas Cole, ca. 1828. (See Full-size.)
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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
Dear Lord, thank you for this beautiful day. Look after me and protect me throughout the day. Give me the wisdom to see and experience Your world in all its beauty. Let me experience the wonder of your creation.
Protect my family and those closest to me. Let me share with the world today, learning, growing, and contributing, and make the world a better place for all who know me, and for those who don't.
Prayer for Those Who Have Served in War
God of compassion, God of dignity and strength, watch over the veterans of our blessed nation who have served with loyalty and at great sacrifice. Bless them with wholeness and love. Shelter those who are in want, heal those who bear wounds, comfort the hearts of those who have lost friends and family, and bring peace to all who are haunted by the terrible memories of war.
Protect them and their families from loneliness and want. Grant them lives of joy and bounty. And may their dedication and honor, which have shielded us from tyranny, be remembered as a blessing from generation to generation.
[Do I listen to God when I pray?]
Let me not forget my prayers as I go out into the world. Holy Spirit, be with me, and let me praise you and remember you in my every action and thought, for the entire day long. In Christ's name I ask this,
To pray is to listen, to move through my own chattering to God, to that place where I can be silent and listen to what God may have to say.
~ Madeleine L’Engle
1 Corinthians 5:9-13 (ESV)
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people — not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler — not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders?
Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (Deuteronomy 13:5)
Notes on the Scripture
Paul here instructs Christians to expel and even shun people who call themselves “Christians,” but who continue to wallow in sin. Note that he is not referring to people outside the church. Christians certainly have a right, even a duty, to talk to the unsaved and bring them to Christ. Think of Christ and the woman at the well. Rather, he is talking about people whom Christ called “seeds that are sown in weeds and grow to be choked by them.”
Last week, Paul taught a hard lesson about the man who was sleeping with his father’s wife. Now he returns to the subject, and the lesson becomes even harder. Paul’s concept of a church is very different from our modern-day version, and his advice on church administration was, to say the least, stricter in some respects.
Were the Christian churches of Paul’s time rigid, unreasonable, hungry, a home to unreasonable zealotry? Or are the churches of today lax, frivolous, weak, fat, and more concerned with compromise and popularity than with following Christ?
f the Bible is the anchor upon which we found our knowledge of God, then one would have to say, in most cases, the latter. Is there a church today that does not have, in its congregation, greedy or vain people, swindlers, and lechers? And not just the congregation: It would be surprising to think of a major denomination where such activity has not been tolerated among the ministry. “But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning.” (1 Timothy 5:20)
But we are all sinners; how shall we judge? Who am I to accuse so-and-so of fornication or greed? Do we want to turn churches into angry finger-pointing, put members on trial for sin?
Apparently so, although Paul seems to be speaking only about intransigent cases. Elsewhere he speaks of counseling and exhortation for those who have gone astray. His message is primarily one of love and salvation. But, quite apparently, he felt that the church in Corinth needed a wake-up call, a basic lesson that a Christian church is not a place where people should go to mouth a few prayers and then live their lives completely in the flesh, with no regard for their alleged faith.