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Daily Devotion for November 8, 2015

Three Marys at the Tomb by Jan and/or Hubert van Eyck, ca. 1430. This wonderful early painting shows the account of Mark 16:1, the only of the Gospels that clearly identifies "Three Marys" discovering Jesus’ empty tomb: Mary Magdelene, Mary the mother of James, and Jesus’ disciple Salome, called "Mary Salome". The soldiers, who have been rendered unconscious with fear by seeing the angel, appear only in Matthew 28.
Jerusalem looks very Northern European, as does the central soldier; the others may have been modeled on Saracens from the crusades.



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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.


Today’s “Virtual Sunday Church” comes from The Church of St. John (Epis.) in Detroit. This hymn has been sung less frequently in recent decades, but was always one of my favorites.

Sunday Morning Invocation

God of glory, by the raising of your Son you have broken the chains of death and hell: fill my spirit, and the spirit of all the people of your universal church, with faith and hope; for a new day has dawned, and the way to life stands open in our Saviour Jesus Christ.


Confession of Sins, with a Prayer for Contrition and Pardon.

Most merciful God, whose eyes are too pure to behold iniquity, and who has promised forgiveness to all those who confess and forsake their sins; I come before you in a humble sense of my own unworthiness, confessing my many transgressions of your righteous laws. [* Here make a short pause, to remember and confess the sins and failings of the past week.] But, O gracious Father, who desires not the death of a sinner, look upon me, I beseech you, in mercy, and forgive me for all my transgressions. Make me deeply sensible of the great evil of them; and work in me a hearty repentance; that I may obtain forgiveness at your hands, who is ever ready to receive humble and penitent sinners; for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, my only Saviour and Redeemer.


Old Episcopal Prayer: “For the Whole State of Christ’s Church”

ALMIGHTY and everliving God, who by thy holy Apostle hast taught us to make prayers, and supplications, and to give thanks for all men; Give me first a Spirit of fellowship with all those who pray with me, who I cannot see; and let each of us know that we pray in the unity of Spirit, although we are all separated from one another in body;

We all, and each of us, humbly beseech thee most mercifully to accept our alms and oblations, and to receive these our prayers, which we offer unto thy Divine Majesty; beseeching thee to inspire continually the Universal Church with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord: And grant that all those who do confess thy holy Name may agree in the truth of thy holy Word, and live in unity and godly love.

We beseech thee also, so to direct and dispose the hearts of all Christian Rulers, that they may truly and impartially administer justice, to the punishment of wickedness and vice, and to the maintenance of thy true religion, and virtue.

Give grace, O heavenly Father, to all Bishops and other Ministers, that they may, both by their life and doctrine, set forth thy true and lively Word, and rightly and duly administer thy holy Sacraments.

And to all thy People give thy heavenly grace; and especially to those who pray together in Spirit at this time; that, with meek heart and due reverence, they may hear, and receive thy holy Word; truly serving thee in holiness and righteousness all the days of their life.

And we most humbly beseech thee, of thy goodness, O Lord, to comfort and succour all those who, in this transitory life, are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity.

And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear; beseeching thee to grant them continual growth in thy love and service, and to give us grace so to follow their good examples, that with them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom. Grant this, O Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake, our only Mediator and Advocate,



Now unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.


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.

endless knot

Psalm 2:1-4 (The Voice)

What has provoked the nations to embrace anger and chaos?
Why are the people making plans to pursue their own vacant and empty greatness?

Leaders of nations stand united;
rulers put their heads together,
plotting against the Eternal One and His Anointed King,
trying to figure out
How they can throw off the gentle reign of God’s love,
step out from under the restrictions of His claims to advance their own schemes.

The Power of heaven laughs at their silliness.
The Eternal mocks their ignorant selfishness.

Blue Latin Cross

Isaiah 51:16-19 (NKJV)

Hebrew Poetic Style

Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which has drunk the cup of Jehovah's wrath at his hand. You have drunk the bowl of the cup of staggering, and drained it.

There is nobody to guide her among all the sons she hath brought forth; neither are there any that take her by the hand, among all the sons that she has raised.

These two things are befallen thee, and who shall moan for you? Desolation and destruction, famine and the sword; how can I comfort you?

Your sons have fainted and lie in the streets, like antelopes in a net; they are full of the wrath of Jehovah, the rebuke of your God.

Notes on the Scripture

Isaiah uses a poetic form similar to that used in the Psalms. It consists of a statement followed by a response. Hebrew poets used this one-two rhetorical device in a number of ways. For example:

1) The response is often a restatement, usually with some variation: “There is nobody to guide her” . . . “neither are there any to take her by the hand.”;

2) The response may answer a question posed in the verse;

Isaiah by Lorenzo Monaco

3) The response may explain the verse: “Your sons have fainted” . . . “they are full of the wrath of Jehovah.”;

4) The response may give a second idea that is related to the first. This is common in Proverbs, where there may be a string of responses, e.g. “Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.”

5) The response may give a consequence of the verse, e.g. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”;

6) The response may give an opposite example, e.g. “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”

Often this form is nested, with statement/response verses forming a larger statement/response form between verses. Look at verses 1-2 of Psalm 1:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.

The first verse is a statement, followed by a pair of variation responses (“nor stands .. . nor sits . . .”) The second verse consists of a statement (“but his delight . . .”), then a response that repeats and elaborates the first statement (“and upon his law . . .”). Also, however, the first verse is a statement and the second verse is a response, a positive comparison to the negatively stated first verse. Verse one tells us something a blessed man does not do; the second verse answers with the contrary, showing us how the blessed man does act.

This technique of parallelism is the heart of Hebrew poetry, and skill in its use is the mark of the poet's skill, much like rhyming the final word of a verse and following a specific rhythm (the form most familiar to us) became the sign of skill in English poetry of the 17th-19th centuries. To understand the ancient poetic form gives us an extra dimension of beauty and meaning when we read the Old Testament; instead of finding them odd or even ungainly, we can find the beauty hidden in them.

With this in mind, we can see the gracefulness in today's verses, even though we read them in translation: “There is nobody to guide her among all the sons she hath brought forth; neither are there any that take her by the hand, among all the sons that she has raised.” Isaiah is not trying to bore us by saying the same thing twice. This is a beautiful and skillful song style, and the listener looked forward to the restatement of the theme.

The Prophet Isaiah by Marc Chagall, ca. 1956.
The Prophet Isaiah by Marc Chagall, ca. 1956.

Daily Inspiration

“Victory in New Life”

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Memory Verse

Proverbs 21:2 (ESV): Every way of a man is right in his own eyes.

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