Daily Devotion for April 26, 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.
Our Virtual Sunday Church this week is the National Cathedral, in Washington, D.C. We join them for the processional - sing along!
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.
2. O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us still in grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
and free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.
3. All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given;
the Son, and him who reigns
with them in highest heaven;
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.
Music by Johann Crüger (1647)
Lyrics by Martin Rinkart (1663), tr. Catherine Winkworth (1858)
Prayer of St. Chrysostom
Almighty God, Who has given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto thee and does promise that when two or three are gathered together in Thy name you will grant their requests; fulfill now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of your servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the world to come life everlasting,
Prayer of Penitence
Almighty Father; I enter your presence confessing the things I try to conceal from you and the things I try to conceal from others. I confess the heartbreak, worry, and sorrow I have caused, that make it difficult for others to forgive me, the times I have made it easy for others to do wrong, the harm I have done that makes it hard for me to forgive myself. Lord have mercy and forgive me, in the name of my Lord Christ, by your grace and love; and help me to grow in faith, that I might not repeat these sins.
Prayer of St. Denis
You are wisdom, uncreated and eternal,
the supreme first cause, above all being,
sovereign Godhead, sovereign goodness,
watching unseen the God-inspired wisdom of Christian people.
Raise us, we pray, that we may totally respond
to the supreme, unknown, ultimate, and splendid height
of your words, mysterious and inspired.
There all Your secret matters lie covered and hidden
under darkness both profound and brilliant, silent and wise.
You make what is ultimate and beyond brightness
secretly to shine in all that is most dark.
In your way, ever unseen and intangible,
You fill to the full with most beautiful splendor
those souls who close their eyes that they may see.
And I, please, with love that goes on beyond mind
to all that is beyond mind,
seek to gain such for myself through this prayer.
And now let me go forth praising you, O Lord, with all my heart, telling of all your wonders, with my words and in my actions. I will be glad and rejoice in you this day and all the week to come. I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
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 18:1-3 (ESV)
I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.
2 Corinthians 5:14-21
Why Do We Love Christ?
The love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
Notes on the Scripture
"We are convinced that one has died for all." We not only believe, we are convinced — we have made up our mind and taken this fact as an absolute truth — that one person died for everyone else. So, when Christ died, everyone died.
ut the "for all" has a second shade of meaning. Christ did not die because he wanted to. We know that it was horrifically painful and He suffered just like any man. So, why did He do something that He knew was going to be a horrible experience? He died for everyone else, meaning, to bring some benefit to us. It was pure, unadulterated love. It was the most terrible death imaginable, endured only because it was motivated by the greatest love possible.
And the best part is: we know that Christ did not stay dead. He defeated death because God resurrected him, because Christ was God personified. Death was not the end for Him; it was a transformation. And this is the very heart of Christianity, for we can die while our bodies are still alive and enjoy the benefit of a resurrection, a rebirth, a life in the spirit where we are not longer the slaves of sin.
The sin does not disappear, because we cannot be free of sinful urges as long as we wear our bodies. Our faith will waver, our eye will stray to our neighbor's spouse or car, and judgment and anger towards others will still creep into our hearts. But we now have the means to free ourselves of the consequences. In our heart and in our spirit, we do not live to satisfy our appetites or our sinful urges; our goal has shifted, our primary aim in life has changed. We may sin, but we do not love our sin. We love Christ, and we live for Him.
Once we really believe this completely in our hearts, "The love of Christ urges us on." Christ died because he loved us, and once we fully understand and believe this, we love him for it. Such strong love is a powerful force. This love propels us, upholds us; it puts wind in our sails and we walk with new conviction and purpose.
Put another way, Paul tells us that we no longer regard other people from a "human point of view". That is, although we are born with selfishness programmed into us, like an animal, when we die and are reborn in Christ, we become a new and different creation. Our primary outlook on life is transformed. We live by a completely new set of principles and rules, no longer slaves to the law of the jungle.
We have found a new, eternal, and beautiful life, a life of love and obedience to truth. We see other people in a completely different way: not from a human point of view, as objects to be subdued, enslaved, manipulated and controlled, but as fellow souls who share our wonderful gift of God's love.