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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 15, 2015

<i>The Sin</i> and <i>Two Paths</i>, triptych by Julio Romero de Torres, ca. 1906.
The Sin and Two Paths, triptych by Julio Romero de Torres, ca. 1906. The symbolism of these three panels is complex and fascinating. The top right is a view, at sunset, of a church (Saint Hipólito in Córdoba) in the foreground and a great Spanish castle in the background.



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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.


For a Sense of Wonder at God's Creation

Dear Lord, grant me the grace of wonder. Surprise me, amaze me, awe me in every crevice of your universe. Delight me to see how your Christ plays in ten thousand places, in limbs and eyes not His, to be the father through the features of men's faces. Each day enrapture me with your marvelous things without number. I do not ask to see the reason for it all; I ask only to share the wonder of it all.


Prayer for the Angry

Dear heavenly Father, I pray this day for all angry, hostile people, all those filled with hate for their fellow creatures; for violent criminals who harm the body, for those who hurt their family members, for bullies on playgrounds and sadists in charge of others; and for the many more who, through their angry words, ideas, and grudges, promote discord, misunderstanding and violence, and especially all those who contribute to the great wars that kill and hurt so many.

Dear God, show them the beauty of your peace and grant that they may love others so much that they cannot bear to harm them, both for their own sake and that of those they hurt. And help their many victims, saving them, comforting them, and granting them to know your Son Jesus Christ so well that they can forgive. In whose name I pray,



[God will direct my way to Him.]


Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.


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>La Vierge (the Virgin)</i>, tapestry by “Cathy S.”, contemporary.
La Vierge (the Virgin), tapestry by “Cathy S.”, contemporary.

Psalm 119:89-93 (NKJV)

Forever, O Lord,
Your word is settled in heaven.
Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
You established the earth, and it abides.

They continue this day according to Your ordinances,
For all are Your servants.

Unless Your law had been my delight,
I would then have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget Your precepts,
For by them You have given me life.

Blue Latin Cross

Galatians 4:24-27 (Daily Prayer Bible)

The “Above Jerusalem” (Galatians #52)

24-25 Their births create a natural allegory: the son born to Hagar, a slave, was born into slavery. They represent Mount Sinai, in the desert of Arabia, where the Law was conceived and where Hagar and her son were sent.

26-27 And does Scripture tell us that Hagar’s childbirth was fortunate? To the contrary, it says, “Rejoice, barren woman who does not give birth; break forth and cry out, you who do not have the pain of childbirth; for children of the wilderness number many more than children of she who has a husband.” Hagar and her children, Mount Sinai and the desert, Jerusalem today – all these are emblems of slavery.

27-28 But as freedom is superior to slavery, Sarah was superior to Hagar, and our mother is superior to Jerusalem. Her son Isaac was the child of God’s promise, the promise of conception, just as you are the children of God’s promise, the promise of freedom.

Verbatim Bible

24 These are allegorical, for they represent two covenants: One from Mount Sinai, giving birth into slavery, which is Hagar.

25 And Hagar of Sinai mountain is in Arabia, and aligned with the now Jerusalem, for she is enslaved with the children of her.

26 But the above Jerusalem free is, which is mother of us;

27 for is written, “Rejoice, barren one the not-giving-birth, break out and cry out, the not having-childbirth-pain; for many the children of wilderness more than of the having husband.”

DP Parallel Bible (3-Column) - Galatians 4

About the Daily Prayer BibleThe “Daily Prayer Bible” is a paraphrase translation. This means accuracy to the original text has been sacrificed, to make it more readable and readily understood. This is especially useful in the Epistles of Paul. Verses are often out of order and often explanatory matter is included in the actual translation.

It is part of a larger work, DP 3-Column Bible, a Bible translation with 3 different levels of literal accuracy, which you can access by clicking the link at the bottom of the Scripture section. We call the most readable and least accurate translation the “Daily Prayer Bible”. The middle translation (“The American Bible”) is what is called a “literal” translation, accurate to the original text but using English grammar and idioms.

The third translation is a unique transliterative text, called “Verbatim Bible”, that has an unparalleled degree of accuracy but is not readable except with difficulty. It gives the non-Greek-reading user the ability to see the inaccuracies and ambiguities that become invisible in even the best so-called “literal” translations, such as the NASB or our own American Bible.

Notes on the Scripture

Having defined Hagar and Ishmael as a symbol of the Law, and tying them to “the now Jerusalem,” Paul introduces something called “above Jerusalem” which he ties to “our mother.” He then returns his attention to Hagar, quoting a bit of slightly unsettling Scripture.

The passage is difficult; we have tried to iron it out a bit in the paraphrase “Daily Prayer Bible” version. He differentiates between two Jerusalems, the Jerusalem that is tied to the Law — and thus to Hagar, Ishmael, and the desert — with the attributive adverb “now.” Greek uses adverbs (as does English) as adjectives, which sounds fine with a “verbal” noun. Look at this sentence: “We will give our alms to the badly treated.” “Treated” is a verbal noun, meaning simply that there is a verbal idea in it (and in fact it is the past participle of “to treat”). “Badly” is an adverb, but since it modifies a noun, we have to call it an adjective.

Jerusalem is not a verbal noun, but Paul uses an adverb — “now” — to describe it. Again, we also do this in English when we must, but when we do it, there is always an inherent idea of change. We might “the then-President” and might even say “the now-President”, which are awkward expressions, but they get the point across; the speaker wants to emphasize that things did (or will) change, that the person's presidency is or was temporary.

So when Paul says “the now Jerusalem,” he is undoubtedly anticipating that there will be another Jerusalem, or that the character of Jerusalem will change fundamentally in the future.

Then he throws us a curve ball. Instead of comparing Sarah to the “new”, or “coming”, or “then” (used in the future sense - see 1 Corinthians 13), he uses another adverb, “above”. As in English, the basic meaning of “above” can be extended to an abstract sense of superiority, in almost any way: The rank aboveUsing the preposition “above” instead of the adverb, because it's easier to think of short examples. captain is major; the Joneses acted like they were above eating catfish. So the Jerusalem of Sarah might actually be “above” the Jerusalem of earth: it could exist in heaven; but more strongly, we get a sense that there is a Better Jerusalem than the one we see now.

If you have read Revelation, you might remember that the term New Jerusalem is used for the City of God: “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21:2) And there are theologians who will claim that Christ in heaven already inhabits the New Jerusalem. But Paul is talking more abstractly here than is John the Divine in Revelation. He has drawn an allegory of two worlds, the world of slavery with a very real but also symbolic center in Jerusalem, and the world of freedom, with its center in a place superior to Jerusalem.

We can see Paul's “above-Jerusalem” as an actual place or as an abstract concept — it doesn't matter. What matters is to see that part of the impact Christ had upon us, was that Isaac was ultimately shown to be, not the patriarch of Judaism, but the patriarch of Christianity. While Ishmael, who was the patriarch of a Gentile nation, became in essence one of the enslaved, the same as a Jew who continued to embrace the Law as the means to righteousness. So when Paul said earlier, “In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile,” this is part of his meaning. It is not that Jews and Gentiles have become equivalent and equal; the distinction simply ceased to exist in the eyes of God.

endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“Worshipping God”

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Matthew 28:19-20: 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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