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Daily Devotion for October 4, 2014

Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (Catholic/Orthodox/Anglican)


<i>Tobias and Sara’s Wedding Night</i> by Jan Steen, ca. 1661.
Tobias and Sara’s Wedding Night by Jan Steen, ca. 1661.

Prayers

Scripture

301 people in our community are currently praying with you.

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.

Our selection for Oldies Saturday should bring back a lot of memories. A Night to Remember, unlike later Titanic movies, has the musicians play the British tune (Horbury) that was actually played by the Titanic's musicians, rather than the tune familiar to Americans.




Prayer for the Morning

The night has passed, the sun shines its light upon us, and the day lies open before me. As I rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of your presence fill me with love for you and my fellow man, holy God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Abide with me, I pray, now and forever.

Amen.

Prayer of Clement of Rome

You, Lord, through your works have revealed the everlasting structure of the world. You, Lord, created the earth. You are faithful throughout all generations, righteous in your judgments, marvelous in strength and majesty, wise in creating and prudent in establishing what exists, good in all that is observed and faithful to those who trust in you, merciful and compassionate; forgive me my sins and my injustices, my transgressions and my shortcomings.

Do not take into account every sin of your servant, but cleanse me with the cleansing of your truth, and direct my steps to walk in holiness and righteousness and purity of heart, and to do what is good and pleasing in your sight and in the sight of my rulers. Yes, Lord, let your face shine upon all your servants in peace for our good, that we may be sheltered by your mighty hand and delivered from every sin by your uplifted arm; deliver us as well from those who hate us unjustly.

Give harmony and peace to me and to all who dwell on the earth, just as you did to our fathers when they reverently called upon you in faith and trust, that we may be saved, while we render obedience to your almighty and most excellent name, and give harmony and peace to our rulers and governors on earth.

Amen.

Meditation

[Direct my steps to walk in purity of heart.]


Closing Praise

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.

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.



Illuminated cross

Theology

“All theology, like all fiction, is at its heart autobiography.”

~ Frederick Buechner, from The Sacred Journey


Blue Latin Cross

Tobit 8:1-17 (MB)

The Wedding Night

When dinner was over, they brought Tobias into the wedding chamber. And remembering the words of Raphael, he took the heart and liver of the fish in with him, and put them on the coals of the wedding incense. Smoke poured forth, and the demon Asmodeus was repulsed by the odor and fled to Upper Egypt. And lest he ever return, Raphael pursued him there, and bound him hand and foot.

And after that, the two being shut in together, Tobias rose from the bed and said to Sara, “My love, get up, let us pray to God for our deliverance. ”And they prayed, and Tobias said:

“Blessed are you, O God of our fathers, and blessed is your holy and glorious name for ever; Let the heavens bless you, and all your creatures. You made Adam, and gave him Eve his wife to be his help and support: of them came mankind: you have said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; let us make for him a partner like himself.’ And now, O Lord, I do not take my sister in lust, but in honor; therefore I pray you will ordain that we may become old together. ”

And Sara said with him, “Amen”, and they returned to the bed.

In the meanwhile, Raguel arose, and went and dug a grave, for fear that Tobias would die and they would be ridiculed. When he came back into the house, he sent one of the maids to see to spy into the chamber, so that if Tobias had died they could bury him without anyone knowing about it.

But the maid found them both alive, sleeping. When she told Raguel, he burst into a hymn of thanks: “Blessed are you, O God, with every holy and pure blessing! Let all your chosen ones praise you; let them bless you forever! Blessed are you, who have made me glad, for you have brought my fears to nothing. but have dealt with us according to your great mercy. Blessed are you, for you were merciful toward our only child and the only child of Tobit. Grant them mercy and deliverance, Master, and fill their lives with happiness.”

Then Raguel instructed his servants to fill the grave.

They held a wedding feast for fourteen days, as Raguel had sworn to do if the marriage succeeded. And he swore to give them a full half of his goods, and the rest when he and Edna be dead. [And Tobias swore to stay for the full time of the feast.]


Notes on the Scripture

A

happy outcome! The heart and liver of the fish symbolize the hearts and minds of the Hebrews, which are sacrificed to rededicate the faithful of Israel to Yahweh. (Ancients in the Middle East believed that the human mind resided in the liver!) And the evil demon, representing the gods of the pagans, are driven away from the land where the Hebrews are held captive and also from Canaan, the land of their birthright, all the way to pagan Egypt, where they belong. And they will never return, for God's own messenger binds them there.

Smoke with odors of incense and smoke with odors of roasting meat were pleasing to Yahweh, which might be part of the reason it was so repulsive to the demon. Both types of sacrifice are prescribed in the Mosaic law. On the Day of Atonement, the only day anyone entered the Holy of Holies, the High Priest would carry in a shovel of coals with incense to fill the room with fragrant smoke. (Leviticus 16:12-13)

The fundamental purpose of a burnt offering was to send smoke, fragrant with the odor of roasted meat, up towards God; the Hebrew term translated “burnt offering”, in fact, literally means “goes up in smoke”, and the importance of the fragrance is mentioned at least 40 times in the Old Testament. (E.g. Leviticus 1:8-9) In fact, Paul compares Jesus to a fragrant offering: “Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” (Ephesians 5:2) So we might see the burning of incense and fish organs as a symbolic return to sacrifices ordained by God in the law; and even if it is not directly allegorical, the Hebrew reader would at least get some sense of a proper sacrifice, pleasing to God.

After the scene in the bridal chamber, we once again are treated to some comic relief; and by now, the entire matter of digging graves has without doubt become humorous, especially since this grave will not be filled. Raguel does not want the neighbors to know if Sara's eighth husband should suffer the same fate as the first seven; and we even have a stock character to spy on them.



endless knot

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Matthew 28:20-22: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.



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