Daily Devotion for February 28, 2015
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.
We have some light humor today as well as a terrific, pick-me-up convention-style gospel song. If you just want to hear the music, move the timer (red line at the bottom of the screen) to 5:15.
prayer for morning (e. e. cummings)
i thank God for most this
day; for the leaping greenly
spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;
and for everything
which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes
A Lenten Prayer
Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Prayer for Goodness (based on Psalm 1)
Heavenly Father, who has given us the gift of your law, so that we might know our sin, and your Son, that we might be forgiven where we fall short: Give me the grace to remember your holy Word, when my surroundings tempt me to confusion and weakness, that I might more nearly approach true obedience to your will. Help me to resist the arguments of the ungodly; let me not be deceived by false beauty; and let me never replace the truth which you have put into my heart with the clever words of men. Through Christ I pray,
[Only God can bring into order the affections of sinners.]
Blessing for the Day
Oh God, hold me in the palm of your hand. I pray that you will mold me into what you want me to be. May I joyfully fill the role you have given to me and feel your peace deep in my soul, today and always,
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.
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
John 6:53, 60-71 (NKJV)
Many Disciples Turn Away
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.
* * *
Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”
When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.”
For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”
From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.
Notes on the Scripture
The reference in the first sentence is to Christ stating that his disciples would “eat his flesh” and “drink his blood” and that, like manna, He had come down from heaven. (John 6:25-59) This drives away many of his disciples. (“Disciples” is used here in the broader sense, to indicate the people who had followed Him across the Sea of Galilee from the place where He fed the 5,000. The twelves apostles are unfazed, and Peter speaks for them.)
Indeed, you can see how sorely such statements would be difficult to accept. People think He is talking nonsense. He dropped down from heaven? And we are supposed to eat him? Only those who had completely abandoned themselves to belief in Him were able to accept, on faith, that it would all come clear somehow.
He is splitting the sheep from the goats, so to speak: those who cannot see beyond the things of the earth, and those who can. Remember, the mass of disciples that followed Him did so because He had made food appear for 5,000 people. This was a miracle of power over the earth. Here was a rich man, a man who was able to manipulate reality, a man with powers that could bring wealth and political dominance.
No doubt, these followers were at least somewhat sincere, for they had heard and accepted the Sermon on the Mount, a radical message of peace, humility, and forgiveness. The could accept the philosophical message and were ready to become part of a movement.
But the radical spiritual message was too much for them to swallow. Christ was to be tortured and killed in a bloody, noisy debacle, “eaten” in a sense by the sin that lives in each of us. His followers would eventually have to accept the physical death through the symbolic act of communion, profiting from Christ's execution. He would feed them spiritually so that they, like He, could have eternal life. But to fully accept this, they also had to understand that He had come from heaven and that His primary reality was spiritual; for His flesh, like all flesh, would profit nothing.