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May the peace of God reign in this place
and the love of God forever hold you tight,
May the Spirit of God flow through your life
and the joy of God uphold you day and night.


Daily Devotion for May 3, 2014


<i>Corpse of Christ</i> by Annibale Carracci, ca. 1585.
Corpse of Christ by Annibale Carracci, ca. 1585.

Prayers

Scripture

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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

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.

Amen.



Prayer for the Day Ahead (from an old Prayer Book)

Almighty God, my heavenly Father, who declares your glory and shows forth your creation in the heavens and in the earth; Deliver me, I pray, in whatever work my hand may find today, from the service of mammon; and assist me, that I may do the work which you have given me to do, in truth, in beauty, and in righteousness, with singleness of heart as your servant, and to the benefit of my fellow men; for the sake of him who came among us, humbling himself to serve all who came to him and received him, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Meditation

[Let me not serving mammon.]


Prayer for Those in Their Final Days

Heavenly Father, I know that all men will die, for this is the nature of life and the cost of sin. I pray for those who are in their last days. Those with cancer, or heart disease, or kidney disease, or malnutrition, or who are grieved by any of the countless diseases and traumas that bring us to our final rest. I know your sympathy for us, for through your Son, you have agonized exactly as we do; by his willing sacrifice, he gave us eternal assurance that you understand our fear and pain.

Bless those in fear of death this day, I pray. Send your Holy Spirit to console and comfort them and those who love them. Let them know the assurance of the wonderful eternity we will know, and bring them peace in their final days. In the name of the limitless love of Christ, I pray,

Amen.

Dedication

God of mercy, swift to help: as my lips pour forth your praise, fill my heart with the peace you give to those who wait for your salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

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.



<i>White Crucifixion</i> by Marc Chagall, ca. 1938.
White Crucifixion by Marc Chagall, ca. 1938.

Isaiah 53:7, 9 (ESV)

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;

like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth. . . .

And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.


Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 27:57-66 (ESV)

Jesus Is Buried

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him.

And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.”

Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.


Notes on the Scripture

The four gospels contain great narrative detail about Jesus' burial. All four recount that a man name Joseph of Arimathea, who held some position in the Jewish religious establishment, claimed Jesus' body and buried it in a tomb cut into rock; John adds another Jewish official, NicodemusSee John 3:1-21 for more about Nicodemus., who brought myrrh and aloe to prepare the body. (John 19:38-42) He was wrapped in a linen shroud made of multiple cloths; John, who gives us the most detail, adds that his head was wrapped in a separate “napkin” or face cloth. (John 20:5-7)

Shroud of Turin

(Side note: Remember the Shroud of Turin? Anyone who has read John 20 must wonder how even the most gullible Christian could believe it was Jesus' burial shroud. The Shroud is a single cloth with the imprint of a face and body, but John tells us, in plain clear language, that Jesus' head was separately wrapped; and all gospels except Matthew tell us it was made of multiple parts.)

Someone who has spent time reading the Gospels will eventually notice an oddity: the degree of physical detail given here is missing in almost every other aspect of Jesus' life. Matthew has been following Jesus for three years, without once recording details of his clothing. Yet, he describes the cloth in which He was buried. In fact, the details of the burial are not particularly important in themselves; the critical point of the story is that He was buried. He was a human being, and he was dead. Matthew (and all the gospels) seek to give credibility to the fact of his burial by reciting details, for a detailed story is more credible than a cursory statement.

Christ's burial proves that He actually died. Opponents would fabricate any possible hypothesis to discredit Christ's divinity, and one forseeable attempt to discredit the Resurrection was (and still is) that the crucifixion did not actually kill Jesus. His Jewish enemies claimed that He was taken from the cross, unconscious but alive, and that his subsequent appearances were no miracle, but a fraud.

Hence such details as a guard of Roman soldiers who seal the tomb. Even if one believed He was alive when He was taken down from the cross, He would hardly have survived his burial. It also, as the Scripture states, forestalled fabrications of his body having disappeared by theft.

His burial is also important symbolically, for it realizes prophecy, both of the Old Testament and of Christ himself: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 13:40)



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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Luke 9:49: John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.”



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