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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 19, 2015

<i>Wheat Field with a Lark,</i> Vincent Van Gogh ca. 1887. Text Isaiah 40:6.
Wheat Field with a Lark, Vincent Van Gogh ca. 1887. Text Isaiah 40:6.



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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.


Prayer for the Morning

Dear Lord, please give me the patience to make it through this busy day with all the hustle, demands and distractions of modern life. Let me find the quiet time to hear your voice and feel your calming presence. I ask this in your son's name.


Keep Me from Falling

'Mid the discordant noises of the day I hear thee calling;
I stumble as I fare along Earth's way; keep me from falling.

Mine eyes are open but they cannot see for gloom of night:
I can no more than lift my heart to thee for inward light.

The wild and fiery passion of my youth consumes my soul;
In agony I turn to thee for truth and self-control.

For Passion and all the pleasures it can give will die the death;
But this of me eternally must live, thy borrowed breath.

'Mid the discordant noises of the day I hear thee calling;
I stumble as I fare along Earth's way; keep me from falling.



[Making time for “the quiet time.”]

Closing Prayer

And finally, grant me O Lord, I pray, the lamp of charity which never fails, that it may burn in me and shed its light on those around me, and that by its brightness I may share a vision of that holy City, where dwells the true and never-failing Light, Jesus Christ our Lord.


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 Sacramentary, Figeac
Illuminated "T" from the Sacramentary of Figeac (French, 11th century).

Proverbs 28:5-6 (ESV)

Evil men do not understand justice,
but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.

Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity
than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 10:5-10 (ESV)

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles [1]

These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons.

You received without paying; give without pay. Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food.”

Notes on the Scripture

Reading Matthew, we come to understand how little of Jesus we actually know. Considering the general poverty and marginal nature of the early church — they were often, in fact, virtual or even literal fugitives — we are fortunate to have had as much written and preserved as we do. We are especially lucky that Paul's epistles, the earliest-written books in the New Testament, are so voluminous and well-preserved.

The case in point being the lack of detail about the training and missions of the apostles. But perhaps we should count ourselves fortunate for what we do have: a summary of Christ's instructions to them, as he sent them out into a hostile Judea. They were not simply penniless, but intentionally so. By design, they avoided any appearance of preaching for money. The message was to be clear: God is not for sale. Salvation is free.

Philip the Apostle
Philip the Apostle
Albrecht Durer 1505

The five specific components of their mission instruct us. First, and most important, is always the Word. Christ, the only sinless human and therefore the only living person inhabiting the kingdom of God, was alive on earth; the King had come, and the apostles were his heralds.

But talk, although it is the first and most critical part of spreading the Word, is incomplete. Consider how important Christ's body is to the Christian message, for it is his physical suffering, death, and resurrection that redeem us; and the apostles' duties concomitantly involve physical action: their own journey and conduct, of course, but also their affirmative mission: “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons.”

“Heal the sick” only connotes part of the Aramaic/Greek instruction, for the adjective translated as “sick” is much broader in Greek, meaning also “weak”. The apostles were to make physically ill people well, but also, to strengthen them in every sense of the word. For Christianity will flourish, not by force of physical health, but by strength of character and spirit.

Raise the dead has a literal meaning, for such a profound miracle would provide a sign of divine warrant. Again, though, there is a broader implication, for the apostles would guide people from spiritual death to eternal life.

Cleansing of lepers also has a secondary implication. They were ill and simply healing their disease would have been repetitive. But the signal characteristic of lepers were that they were “unclean” by Jewish law, outcast and untouchable. The apostles would bring inclusion to the wretched outcasts of society.

And finally, casting out demons, which had the immediate effect of healing mental illnesses, also signifies a higher spiritual goal. Christ, through his empowered disciples, would end the rule of Satan over the human soul. They would bring to humanity a rebirth in Christ, where the souls of those who would accept their word would rise above original sin. The faithful would no longer be slaves to sin.

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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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