Daily Devotion for January 6, 2015
Feast of the Epiphany
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.
This song always makes me think of a crocus popping its little head out of a snowbank. Beautifully performed here by the Gloucester Cathedral Choir.
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.
Music by Gustav Holst/Harold Edwin Darke 1909
Lyrics by Christine Rossetti c. 1872
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Lord, you have brought me to the beginning of a new day. As the world is renewed fresh and clean, so I ask you to renew my heart with your strength and purpose. Forgive me the errors of yesterday and bless me to walk closer in your way today. This is the day I begin my life anew; shine through me so that every person I meet may feel your presence in my soul. Take my hand, precious Lord, for I cannot make it by myself. Through Christ I pray and live,
O God, who by a star guided the wise men to the worship of your Son: I pray you to lead to yourself the wise and great of every land; that unto you every knee may bow, and every thought be brought into the captivity of your boundless love and forgiveness. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Thanks to God for Coming to Us
Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace. I bless and thank you for finding me, Lord; may I never more take a breath without a heart filled with your Spirit .
Now unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now 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 100 (NKJV)
Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.
John 7:40-43 (ESV)
Division of People over Jesus
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Some of the people therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, “This certainly is the Prophet.” Others were saying, “This is the Christ.”
Still others were saying, “Surely the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the descendants of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?”
So a division occurred in the crowd because of Him.
Notes on the Scripture
Epiphany is an unusual feast day, because it celebrates a concept: the time when Christ became known among men as the Son of God, when people realized that the physical person of Jesus and the spirit of the Word were the same.
ifferent churches choose to illustrate the Epiphany with different moments in Christ's life. Most commonly, Epiphany is celebrated on January 6, representing the date when the Magi visited the Christ child. Some churches count Christ's baptism by John the Baptist, when the Holy Spirit descended upon him in the form of a dove, as the Epiphany; many Protestant churches celebrate it as a season, extending from the end of Christmas (January 6) to Ash Wednesday.
The event described today is recounted only in the Gospel of John. Christ, who has begun to be hunted by the Pharisees of Judea for arrest, has traveled secretly from Galilee to Judea during a Jewish celebration, the Feast of Booths. (The Festival of Booths, or Festival of Tabernacles, was a sort of Hebrew Thanksgiving in October, a week-long harvest feast. It was one of three annual festivals where families were supposed to travel to Jerusalem to celebrate.) When he begins to teach, he is recognized by the crowd. Some of them marvel at him and come to realize that he is the Christ, while others do not believe.
Christ uses the image of thirst in his teaching. The thirst is spiritual thirst, and Christ promises that those who thirst will not find simply a drink, but a river of living water, by believing in him.
Today as much as then, the world can seem to be a spiritual desert. Millions or billions of people seem to wander around in a daze, confused and lost, not able to quench their thirst for truth and justice, searching fruitlessly for meaning in their lives. They are dying of thirst, and yet they seem unaware that water even exists, right at hand. They reject the one compass that we have, the Bible, that would lead them out of the desert to the clear, pure water of life.
Celebration of they Epiphany is a day of great happiness. Today is the day we rejoice in our own salvation, and in the possibility that others may find the way. Let us give thanks and praise, with light and joyful hearts; today we remember the time in which we and others realized that Christ is God, and found the water of life.