Fall of the Rebel Angels (detail), Pieter Brueghel the Elder ca. 1562
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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.
To Spend this Day in Thankful Reverence
Holy Father, Holy God, I come before you today in reverence and awe; I am filled with humility in the face of your greatness, your majesty, your holiness, and your power. And to acknowledge my sinfulness in the face of your pure and holy presence fills me with fear. Yet I pray boldly, for you have called me and adopted me as your rightful heir, through the sacrifice of your Son, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I give you thanks for your mercy with every ounce of my being, and pray that your Holy Spirit might be with me, that I might do your will in every thought and action this day; and that the work of my hands and the words of my tongue might seek your glory, and not my own.
And I promise, with your help and grace, to be fearless in the world; for if you are with me, who can be against me? Let me not hesitate to call upon you, for your power and love will see me through anything this world can bring against me. All thanks and praise be to you, almighty God.
In the name of Christ, I pray,
Mason Barge 3/16/14
For God’s Protection
O God, who art the author of peace and lover of concord, in knowledge of whom standeth our eternal life, whose service is perfect freedom; Defend us thy humble servants in all assaults of our enemies that we, surely trusting in thy defence, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord.
~ from the 1789 Book of Common Prayer (Anglican)
[Am I definitely and consciously dedicating every detail of my life to God’s service and glory?*]
Dedication to Service
Now, oh heavenly Father, I ask to be called as a witness to your love by the love I extend to others; a precursor of your justice by my unfailing commitment to what is right and good; a lamp set on a hill, reflecting the light of Christ in my forgiveness, mercy and compassion; and a harvester of souls through my humble and dedicated servanthood. In Jesus’ name, I pray,
Proverbs 3:13-15 (NKJV)
Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
And the man who gains understanding;
For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver,
And her gain than fine gold.
She is more precious than rubies,
And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
John 8:12-20 (ESV)
Jesus Defends His Self-Witness
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.
Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.”
They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”
These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
Notes on the Scripture
John 8 and 9 can be difficult to read, and it is tempting just to skim over them. But we have set out to read the entire Gospel, and that means digging into the difficult parts.
he Pharisees, here, give us a foretaste of a Jewish court seeking to establish the truth of Jesus’ claim to divinity, by using Jewish legal principles. Jewish law required that two witnesses swear to a fact, in many cases, in order to prove it true. (See, e.g., Deuteronomy 19:15.) Moreover, in some cases (as far as I can tell) a person may not bear witness as to himself, although in at least some cases he can. But the context of the quoted verses shows that the Pharisees would not accept Jesus’ testimony as to his own divinity—and since the Pharisees were experts, it’s safe to say that two independent witnesses were required.
Jesus’ reply is difficult to follow, but what he says, in essence, is that he is not subject to their rules. He poses a logical quandary; because if he is not the Son of God, he would be subject to their jurisdiction and would not be able to prove that he is the Son of God. But if what he says is true, and he is the Son of God, then they have no right to require him to follow their procedures.
He then spins logic around even further by saying that he does have two witnesses, himself and his Father. When the Pharisees ask him to produce his Father as a witness, he tells them that they cannot know him—and cannot take testimony from him—unless they first accept that he is the Son of God.
This is the logical quandary that we all face in our faith. Once we come to accept Christ, we know God, and we need no “proof.” But if a person does not know Christ, he cannot know God, and God’s existence cannot be proven to him.
The solution to this eternal dilemma is something Jesus says, which we have already read in the Gospel of John. If we truly seek God, and are “poor in spirit” —that is, if we do not fill our minds with our own preconceptions—we will find Christ. To find the kingdom of God, one must first seek it. If a person is skeptical, Jesus cannot be proven to him; but if he seeks God, no proof is necessary, because the person will find Him himself.
St. Michael Archangel by Guido Reni (ca. 1635). The final triumph of light over darkness. Michael, the embodiment of the Church militant, defeats a grotesque Satan in a scene based on the Book of Revelation.
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* The Meditation today, and the next 16, are taken from a little book I was given long ago, In God’s Presence (1929), by an Episcopal priest, Rev. Phillips S. Gilman. He lists 17 meditations to prepare oneself for Holy Communion. The first one is a corker! The following ones, as we will see, become more specific.
Psalm 145:3: Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.
Top score(s) on the Daily Quiz for Jul 17, 2018 were:
Daniel Williams (11) Sylvia Banda (11) Michael Lockhart (11) Norman Daniels (10) randall martin (10) Wayne Mills (10)
Top score(s) on Match-a-Verse:
Kathryn Halfman (9 out of 9) Sylvia Banda (9 out of 9) Norman Daniels (9 out of 9) Allison King (9 out of 9) randall martin (9 out of 9) Pam Carpenter (9 out of 9) Michael Lockhart (9 out of 9)