Daily Devotion for March 3, 2013
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.
Our "Virtual Sunday Church" takes us today to the Catholic Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia. The monestary has rooms, where people of any denomination may stay, who want a quiet Christian retreat.
For the Spirit of Prayer
Almighty God, who pours out the spirit of grace and of supplication to all who ask for it; Deliver me, when I draw near to you, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, so that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections, I may worship You in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer at Daybreak (by Archimandrite Sophronios)
O Lord Eternal and Creator of all things, who with your unknowable goodness called me to this life; I have no life, no light, no joy or wisdom, no strength except in you, O God. I entreat you, teach me to pray aright. Purify me from all taint of flesh and spirit. Bless this day which you give to me, your unworthy servant.
By the power of your blessing enable me, throughout this day, to speak and act to your glory with a pure spirit, with humility, patience, love, gentleness, peace, courage and wisdom. Let me be always aware of your presence. By the power of your love, grant me to hold fast to that which is good. Preserve me from every word or deed that corrupts the soul; from every impulse unpleasing in your sight and hurtful to my fellow man, my brothers and sisters.
This in Christ's name, I pray,
A Prayer of Repentance
O Lord our God, good and merciful, I acknowledge all my sins which I have committed every day of my life, in thought, word and deed; in body and soul alike. I am heartily sorry that I have ever offended you, and I sincerely repent; with tears I humbly pray to you, O Lord: of your mercy forgive me all my past transgressions and absolve me from them. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to amend my way of life and to sin no more; that I may walk in the way of the righteous and offer praise and glory to the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
May the God of peace, who declared victory over death by the resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, make me perfect in every thought and act through His grace, that my life might be pleasing in his sight and that I might share the perfect peace that is only possible through Him, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Psalm 51:10-13 (NKJV)
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.
John 6:1-14 (ESV)
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples.
Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?" He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.
Philip answered him, "Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little." One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?" Jesus said, "Have the people sit down."
Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.
And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, "Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost." So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, "This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!"
Notes on the Scripture
Uncharacterisic of John's Gospel, the feeding of the 5000 is also recorded in the synoptic Gospels; in fact, it appears in all four Gospels and is certainly one of the most famous stories from Jesus' life. (Note that this is apparently a different incident than the feeding of the 4,000, related in Mark 8:1-10.) The miracle is understated, because the 5,000 counted were all men. If women and children had been included, the number could easily have exceeded 10,000.
In some respects this miracle is more typical of John than the Synoptics, because it seems to be allegorical. It occurs at the time of the Passover; it thus brings to mind God's freeing the Jews from slavery and feeding them with manna in the wilderness, where they were lost.
The people of Israel were still lost when Christ came, but in a spiritual sense, for they had been unable to maintain the laws of Moses. Jesus gives them miraculous bread, but it is not just bread made from grain, which gives life to body, but allegorical "bread" that will give life to the soul. To strengthen the tie between Jesus and the early Jews, the disciples gather up 12 baskets of scraps. Although He has one purpose and one accomplishment, the salvation of humanity, still there is a special relationship between Jesus and the 12 tribes of Israel. It is as if he is showing a willingness to save the Jews twice -- either as the savior of the world, or as the Messiah prophesied throughout the Old Testament.
More broadly, Jesus shows that His resources are unlimited. Andrew and James provide a foil for the miracle. They remind us that we should always have faith in God's power and love. When we are troubled or our lives seem filled with problems, that is the time to think of all that God has done for us in the past.