The Golden Calf, depiction in fabric by Lee Porter, ca. 1999.
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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.
To Be Purified
Oh loving God, who laid the foundations of the earth amid the singing of the morning stars and the joyous shouts of the sons of God: Lift my little life into your gladness. Out of you, as out of an overflowing fountain of love, wells forth eternally a stream of blessing upon every creature you have made.
Oh, then, help me to glorify you by striving to be like you. Make me as pure and good as you are. May I be a partaker of the Divine Nature, so that all that is truly human within me may be deepened, purified, and strengthened. And so may I be a witness for you, a light of the world, reflecting your radiance to all I meet.
Mason Barge 1/27/2017 adapted from In God's Presence, 1929
Almighty God, bestow upon me, and upon all of us who pray together, the meaning of words, the light of understanding, the nobility of diction and the faith of the true nature. And grant that what we believe we may also speak.
St. Hilary, 345 A.D.
God of love, my prayer is simple: Your son, Jesus, suffered and died for me. I know only that I cannot have real strength
unless I rely on you. I cannot feel protected from my many weaknesses until I turn to you for forgiveness and your unalterable love.
Help me to share this strength, protection and love with others.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
~ C.S. Lewis
And now let me go forth praising you, O Lord, with all my heart, telling of all your wonders, with my words and in my actions. I will be glad and rejoice in you this day. I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
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.
What a beautiful song from Janis Ian! The lyrics are poetic and profound. “I thought that God would hate me
’cause I’d lived my life in sin . . . .”
Lyrics to When I Lay Down (Janis Ian)When I Lay Down (Janis Ian)
They said lay down in the water
Even though you don’t believe
All your sins will be forgiven
And your soul will be redeemed.
So I walked into the water
And I fell down to my knees
And I took out some insurance
And I bought a little peace.
Chorus: But when I lay down, I lied.
When I lay down, I lied.
He said - darling do you love me
And I said - sure I do
And I led him to believe me
As I proved that it was true.
Well I let my body love him
God knows I really tried
And the comfort of it touched him
And his heart was satisfied.
…to make them happy
And I lied so they would care
I lied ‘cause I was lonely
And I lied ‘cause I was scared.
I lied so some would leave me
And I lied so some would stay
I lied until I lied my life away.
I dreamed my life was over
And they laid me in my grave.
I was frightened of forever
And the price I’d have to pay.
And I thought that God would hate me
‘cause I’d lived my life in sin
But I felt the truth embrace me
As heaven let me in.
And when I lay down
I lay down and cried.
Answers to Prayers
“There are four ways God answers prayer: 1) No, not yet; 2) No, I love you too much; 3) Yes, I thought you’d never ask; 4) Yes, and here’s more.”
~ Anne Lewis
“God answers all our prayers. Sometimes the answer is yes. Sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes the answer is, you’ve got to be kidding! ”
~ Jimmy Carter
Exodus 32:9-14 (The Message)
The Golden Calf 
od said to Moses, “I look at this people — oh! what a stubborn, hard-headed people! Let me alone now, give my anger free reign to burst into flames and incinerate them. But I’ll make a great nation out of you.”
Moses tried to calm his God down. He said, “Why, God, would you lose your temper with your people? Why, you brought them out of Egypt in a tremendous demonstration of power and strength. Why let the Egyptians say, ‘He had it in for them — he brought them out so he could kill them in the mountains, wipe them right off the face of the Earth.’
Stop your anger. Think twice about bringing evil against your people! Think of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants to whom you gave your word, telling them ‘I will give you many children, as many as the stars in the sky, and I’ll give this land to your children as their land forever.’”
And God did think twice. He decided not to do the evil he had threatened against his people.
Notes on the Scripture
This passage has enormous importance in instructing us about our relationship with God. Heretofore in Exodus, we have seen two aspects of this relationship: First, God as the giver of absolute laws, who speaks and expects obedience. Second, God as a persuader. In the burning bush verses, Moses protested against the role God wanted to give him and argued that he was not suited to it; but God patiently persevered and eventually convinced Moses.
Here, we see a third type of relationship: For not only does Moses argue with God, but also, his argument prevails. He intervenes for the Hebrews against God's expressed intention of destroying them and starting over — the verse “I will make a great nation out of you” means that God proposes to destroy all of the Hebrews except Moses and make Moses a new single patriarch, like Abraham, whose children will become God's chosen.
Moses makes three arguments: 1) God should not nullify His great work in bringing the Hebrews out of Egypt; 2) Even worse, the Egyptians would consider themselves victorious over Yahweh and say that His intention was to destroy the Hebrews all along; and 3) It would not be consistent with God's promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
This intimate relationship with God reminds us very much of Abraham, especially where Abraham pleads with God not to destroy Sodom in Genesis 18. In fact, with Abraham, God appeared as an ordinary man and practically engaged him in friendly conversation.
What are we to make of this? How are we to speak to a God, who at one moment shows Himself as a terrifying pillar of fire that will kill anyone who sets foot on Mount Sinai, and at another moment will allow a man to argue with Him and change His mind? Who will do what a man asks, instead of what He has said He would do?
Apparently, when we have sincere faith and trust in God, we are allowed to ask Him to do things and even argue with Him. We always pray “thy will be done” as a sort of overarching principle of our desires, for we always must keep in mind the theological argument that God actually knows exactly what will happen and exceeds our capabilities by an infinite factor.
Nevertheless, God will listen to His faithful and (apparently) allow them to intervene in His plans. This is a mystery that the human mind cannot fathom, and we cannot expect that God will always answer “yes”. But if we read this passage without preconception, we have to conclude that God allows us — or if not us, at least certain special people — to ask and even argue, if they pray in humility and faith.
The Annunciation by Gabriel Dante Rossetti, ca. 1850. Another great Annunciation from the pre-Raphaelite school. A thorough description of the painting is given on the Tate Museum’s website.
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Today in Daily Prayer
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Philippians 4:6: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Top score(s) on the Daily Quiz for Aug 02, 2021 were:
Kathryn Halfman (12) Barbara DiCenzo (12) randall martin (12) Mark Zuby (11) Cindy Moniz (11) Donna Williams (11)
Top score(s) on Match-a-Verse:
Pam Carpenter (9 out of 9) Stanley Clowes (9 out of 9) Kathryn Halfman (9 out of 9) Gary Swart (9 out of 9) Norman Daniels (9 out of 9) randall martin (9 out of 9) Keith Langley (9 out of 9)