Daily Devotion for July 19, 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.
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.
2. For the beauty of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light;
3. For the joy of ear and eye,
for the heart and mind's delight,
for the mystic harmony,
linking sense to sound and sight;
4. For the joy of human love,
brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild;
5. For thy church, that evermore
lifteth holy hands above,
offering up on every shore
her pure sacrifice of love;
6. For thyself, best Gift Divine,
to the world so freely given,
for that great, great love of thine,
peace on earth, and joy in heaven:
Music by Conrad Kocher
Lyrics by Folliot S. Pierpoint
For the Spirit of Prayer
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord. Let your Holy Spirit guide me in my prayer and in thought, and grant me the grace to listen and hear your Word. Soften my heart, that I may be directed by your truth, and not the devices of my body and mind. In the name of Christ I ask this,
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, let me live this day as the gift it is, for You have truly blessed me to live it. And if I may suffer, I will carry with me the certainty that one day I will see You face to face, a day when all things will become clear and my pain will be made whole through the grace of Christ, my God. Blessed be you, oh Lord my God, and blessed be the day you have given me.
Prayer of Penitence
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against You whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy.
To Heal Divisions
Father, may our human family not become separated from you by building barriers of race, color, class, or beliefs. Inspire us to recognize that we are all made in your image and likeness, so that we may grow in appreciation of all people, and encourage each other to grow in pride in who we are and who we are called to be. May we recognize your Son in our midst, and live truly as brothers and sisters. I pray this in the name of Christ, in remembrance of His love for the Samaritan woman at the well.
God of mercy, swift to help: as my lips pour forth your praise, fill my heart with the peace you give to those who wait for your salvation in 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.
Psalm 8:3-5 (NKJV)
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
John 3:1-8, 16-21
Being Born Again
There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, who came to Jesus one night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."
Jesus answered, "Truly, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother's womb a second time and be born, can he?"
To which Jesus answered, "Truly, I tell you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said 'You must be born again.'
The wind blows where it wishes. You hear it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going; so it is with a person who is born of the Spirit."
Notes on the Scripture
The concept of being "born again", as a tenet of Christian faith, is a touchy subject. The media has trained much of the population to equate it with a very specific faction of Christianity, zealous and outspoken, that not everyone finds appealing. Although it attracts some people, it repels others and actually discourages them from identifying themselves as Christians in public. Remember, however you may feel about it, that "God has many mansions".
When you look at this metaphor at its source — the passage written above — you realize how much it informs the basic theology of all Christians. When we are baptized, the basic act of becoming Christian, we make a beginning. Our life is changed. We take a second step in becoming fully alive (although in a different way than when we are physically born).
God's Holy Spirit comes to us and becomes available to us. It is the one aspect of God who is in direct contact with us during our physical lives, who lives with us in our everyday world, something theologians call the "immanence" of God. Like the wind, we can't see it and don't know exactly where it comes from, but if we pay attention we can see its effects in our lives. However we may feel about the term "born again Christian", so often used as a pejorative in the secular and anti-Christian segments of society, it is important to understand the underlying meaning of Christ's metaphor. Our baptism, with water symbolizing the Holy Spirit, creates a new life within us, a life that is lived in the invisible world of Christ and is ultimately more important then the life we live in the world of flesh.