Daily Devotion for July 19, 2010
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.
The great Doris Akers doing it right.
"For Each New Morning"For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
I thank thee.
(From a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Father in heaven, creator of all and source of all goodness and love, please look kindly upon me and receive my heartfelt gratitude for all that you have done for me and for those I love. Thank you for all the graces and blessings you have betowed upon us, spiritual and temporal: Our faith and religious heritage; our food and shelter; our health; the love we have for one another; and the lives of our family and friends. Dear Father, in your infinite generosity, please grant us continued grace and blessings during the coming day. This I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, your only son, who has saved us from death.
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made us one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in our earthly pilgrimage we may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know ourselves to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever 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.
Take heed, you senseless ones among the people; you fools, when will you become wise?
Does he who implanted the ear not hear? Does he who formed the eye not see?
Does he who disciplines nations not punish? Does he who teaches man lack knowledge?
and to have thoughts worthy of what I have received;
for he is the guide even of wisdom
and the corrector of the wise.
For both we and our words are in his hand,
as are all understanding and skill in crafts.
For it is he who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists,
to know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements;
the beginning and end and middle of times,
the alternations of the solstices and the changes of the seasons,
the cycles of the year and the constellations of the stars,
the natures of animals and the tempers of wild animals,
the powers of spirits and the thoughts of human beings,
the varieties of plants and the virtues of roots;
I learned both what is secret and what is manifest,
for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me.
There is in her a spirit that is intelligent, holy,
unique, manifold, subtle,
mobile, clear, unpolluted,
distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen,
Notes on the Scripture
The Book of Wisdom is part of the Apocrypha, a collection of 14 books written before the time of Christ but which have been separated from the Old Testament. The authority of the Apocrypha is controversial, and different denominations have different views about it.
The Catholic and Orthodox churches accept the Apocrypha as part of the divinely-inspired Bible; that is, they consider it Scripture in the full sense. Protestant churches generally accept the Apocrypha as acceptable religious reading, but do not consider it "canonical", that is, inspired by God, to be read as part of His holy Word. Certainly the early radical protestant leaders, such as Calvin, Luther and Zwingli were comfortable with the books being included in the Bible. In fact, the Apocrypha was included as part of all Bibles before the 1880's.
I have never seen an official rejection of the Apocrypha by any protestant denomination; they seem to have just dropped it from their literature, beginning with the English Revised Version of 1881 (which was largely copied into the American Standard Version in 1901). More fundamentalist denominations seem to be more likely to reject it outright, whereas more centrist protestant churches will read some or all of the books; although they do not consider it Scriptural per se, they still see it as valuable religious and/or historical.
I should also say that the books of the Apocrypha are not a cohesive work; they are very different from one another. What they share is that they were written before the birth of Christ but were not written in Hebrew and do not claim to be the Word of God. Some of them contain valuable history (such as 1 and 2 Maccabees); some of them are astonishingly beautiful religious poetry (such as Ecclesiasticus); some of them are generally considered fictional and should be read as one would read, say, "Amahl and the Night Visitors".p> I should also point out that there are many, many books claiming to be Scripture in the Judeo-Christian tradition, which are completely rejected by most Jews and/or Christians. One very prominent example would be the collection of books known as the "Gnostic Gospels", which all mainstream Christian churches consider heretical and even evil. The 14 books of the Apocrypha should not be confused with such books; they are not heretical or offensive to Christianity and should be read with respect.
Today's reading is a perfect example of the Apocrypha. It develops a theme not treated in the Old or New Testaments, which might be helpful to many Christians: God gave us our intelligence to understand science and history. We must be careful, however, to be guided by the spirit (which I take to mean the Holy Spirit) and ask in prayer that God guide our thoughts.