Daily Devotion for March 27, 2011
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.
Priidite (Come, Let Us Worship) from Rachmaninoff's Vespers, very appropriate for Lent
Prayer for the Morning
Oh God the King eternal, who divides the day from the darkness, and has turned the shadow of death into the light of morning; I pray that this day you will incline my heart to keep your commandments, driving temptation from my mind. Guide my feet into the way of peace; that having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, I may, when the night comes, rejoice in giving you thanks for a day lived in your presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.
Lenten Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian
O Lord and Master of my life, give me not the spirit of laziness, despair, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of sobriety, humility, patience and love to your servant. Yes, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for blessed are you unto ages of ages.
The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.
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.
Proverbs 6:12-15 (ESV)
winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger,
with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord;
therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.
John 12:44-50 (NASB)
I Did Not Come to Judge the World
And Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me.
I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.
If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.
For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me."
Notes on the Scripture
Most of the scripture for today is repetitive of earlier teachings in John. One sentence, which bears some study, is that Christ did not come to judge the world, but to save it.
Of the things we learn from the New Testament, this is one of the easiest to forget, even though it is one of the most basic truths of Christianity.
Christ seems, at many points, to be teaching a new law; in fact, it is impossible to say that he did not at least reinterpret much of the Mosaic law. For example, his message of complete forgiveness differs from the Mosaic law; his attitude towards worldly goods, at the very least, changes the emphasis of religious behavior. Christ does not teach that his followers will be rewarded while on earth, but he preaches a revolutionary doctrine, that the rewards for the faithful will be eternal life.
In short, Christ teaches victory over death rather than victory over the world. In fact, he teaches that the only purpose of the law is that, by telling us what we have to do in order to satisfy God, we will discover that it is impossible. We will not find heaven on earth. He reveals that the law is not and cannot be a means of salvation. Having taught us the difference between right and wrong, we have learned that we are simply incapable of the moral perfection that God demands.
Christ's role on earth was, rather than condemning us for falling short, to forgive us. Thus, for us to condemn others for their "un-Christian" conduct is nonsensical. Christ's emphasis was not to create a new moral code; his lesson was for us to love him and believe in him, to love our fellow man, and to forgive as we have been forgiven.
In loving Christ and forgiving others, our conduct will change itself.