Devotional Thought fo the Day:
9 This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven: May your holy name be honored; 10 may your Kingdom come; may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today the food we need. 12 Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us. 13 Do not bring us to hard testing, but keep us safe from the Evil One.’ Matthew 6:9-13 (TEV)
The word “Father” makes me sure of one thing: I do not come from myself; I am a child. I am tempted at first to protest against this reminder as the prodigal son did. I want to be “of age”, “emancipated”, my own master. But then I ask myself: What is the alternative for me—or for any person—if I no longer have a Father, if I have left my state as child definitively behind me? What have I gained thereby? Am I really free? No, I am really free only when there is a principle of freedom, when there is someone who loves and whose love is strong. Ultimately, then, I have no alternative but to turn back again, to say “Father”, and in that way to gain access to freedom by acknowledging the truth about myself. Then my glance falls on him who, his whole life long, identified himself as child, as Son, and who, precisely as child and Son, was consubstantial with God himself: Jesus Christ
The purpose of observing ceremonies is that men may learn the Scriptures and that those who have been touched by the Word may receive faith and fear and so may also pray.
My work today in the office is to try to get 8 services planned and prepared for printing, all which will occur in the next week. Services for Maunday Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and two funerals as well.
It was a good reminder then to hear the words in green above, that remind me of why we do these things, what the ultimate purpose is, that trusting in God, and being in awe of His love and mercy, that we can turn to Him…. and pray. The result of a worship service is to teach people to communicate with God! What a radical idea!
Talk to your creator, talk to Him, not as a minion to a master, not as a lowly employee to the CEO of the company, not as a prisoner to a warden, but as a child, who knows they are loved, talked to their dad.
Yes it is a level of humility that we would not normally want to admit to, but it is not the kind of humility or perhaps better, humiliation, that those other relationships often create.
You see, I think we see the Father-child relationship the wrong way. Pope Benedict nails it, we want our independence, we want to be emancipated, freed from the burden of answering to someone else. But that isn’t the relationship that is pictured in the Lord’s prayer, in all of the times God shares his desire to care for us, to encourage us, to nurture us.
Benedict XVI’s words call us back to that point, to the point where we like Christ identify ourselves as the sons (and daughters) of God.
As you walk with the Father through this week, as we prepare to remember the last supper, the garden, the cross, consider the Father hearing these words from Jesus. Consider our Father hearing these words from Jesus, this incredible prayer he taught us, not just in words, but with His very life… For this is the prayer of a Son to the Father. It is His prayer, and as we go through this week… don’t just say it, hear it said, from Jesus to the Father….
… as Jesus clears the temple courtyard., so people who are not His people can pray and know they are heard
….. as Jesus washes the feet of sinners, because they argued about who was greatest and taught them the greatest serves
…. as He breaks the bread, and blesses the wine, and gives us a feast beyond anything we could imagine
…. as Jesus is whipped and beaten, that by the scars we would find healing,
…. as Jesus carries the beam he would be nailed to
….as Jesus dies, showing the world that all glory, honor and power is the Father’s.
So come to worship the King of Love, our Lord, and learn to depend on Him, and depending on Him, share your life in words, of praise, and of prayer.
as the sons of our Father!
Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (I. Grassl, Ed., M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans.) (pp. 97–98). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.
Tappert, T. G. (Ed.). (1959). The Book of Concord the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (p. 250). Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press.
The manuscript for this video is posted seperately. Since this is the first time I’ve tried recording this with video and audio, I would appreciate your feedback, whether the video feed was helpful. Thanks!
Devotional Thought of the Day:
4 When he finished teaching, he said to Simon, “Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch.” 5 Simon said, “Master, we’ve been fishing hard all night and haven’t caught even a minnow. But if you say so, I’ll let out the nets.” 6 It was no sooner said than done—a huge haul of fish, straining the nets past capacity. 7 They waved to their partners in the other boat to come help them. They filled both boats, nearly swamping them with the catch. 8 Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell to his knees before Jesus. “Master, leave. I’m a sinner and can’t handle this holiness. Leave me to myself.” Luke 5:4-8 (MSG)
574 You insist on trying to walk on your own, doing your own will, guided solely by your own judgement… And you can see for yourself that the fruit of this is fruitlessness. My child, if you don’t give up your own judgement, if you are proud, if you devote yourself to “your” apostolate, you will work all night—your whole life will be one long night—and at the end of it all the dawn will find you with your nets empty. (1)
This morning I made it through my devotional time, without a thought that struck me hard. I would think I was just going through the motions, but that is a poor excuse. The reason I enjoy the time I spend in the scriptures, reading through the Book of Concord and Vatican II documents (my goal for this church year) and the writings of St Josemaria Escriva is because one of them reveals to me the presence and promises of God.
i do it so I don’t get into the practice of doing by just going through the motions.
I am in mourning this morning, and that has an effect on me, I am sure. A very good friend from one of my previous congregations passed away, and it is hitting me all to hard. I haven’t seen him in a while, maybe two years…. and I miss him a lot. This is on top of a very emotional week. Two other friends in ICU, and pouring out in sermons on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Sunday the miracle of Christ’s presence, and the desire of God to make us His holy children.
I feel a lot like Peter, as Jesus performs the miracle and fills his boat with abundance. Lord, I am tired, weary, not holy enough to be in your presence. Just leave me alone….. please…..
As I was finishing up with devotions, the very first point in The Forge, is the one quoted in brown above. I knew I had to write on it, and the event that inspired it, the scripture passage.
What I didn’t realize, even as I started writing, having copied and pasted both quotes, was how Peter’s request would affect me. It is how I feel.
Full of remorse,
And yet, all around me, I see miracles, stuff God is doing, there is no other explanation for what is going on….
“Leave me alone, I can’t handle this holiness Lord!” This is Peter’s cry… but it is echoing over and over in my soul.
Even as I am writing this, another passage comes to mind….
26 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. 27 He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. 28 That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 8:26-28 (MSG)
I will hang on this this today, despite my wanting to find a cave like Elijah, or the spot David can’t find in Psalm 139, a place where God isn’t. I need to know God doesn’t forsake or abandon us, He is there, a Father who keeps His promise, a Brother who gives His life for us, who bears our sorrows, and iniquities… (taking away our excuse to run because we aren’t holy) and the Holy Spirit, who brings comfort and peace, and takes our cries…and prays for what we really need……
The assurance of God’s presence, and love.
Lord Have Mercy….. and He does!
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 2137-2140). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional Thought of the Day:
Lamb of God
Son of God
You take away our sin
Lamb of God
Son of God
You take away our sin
Grant us peace! Grant us peace!
Grant us peace! Grant us your peace!
In a little less than an hour, those words , so familiar to Lutheran deacons, will be reintroduced to them with a new melody, as they kick off the afternoon session of their annual continuing ed conference.
They are the words we sing – after the words of institution, after the the passing of the peace, as we re-focus, and think about the Lord, and about His supper, and about why we find this feast to be The Feast.
When I got to my present church, this was when the pastor and the elders communed – while everyone else sang. Now, we wait till after to sing, because I need the time to realize His presence, to examine myself and realize my incredible need for that presence, to comfort, to heal, to make me aware of His love, His mercy, His peace. To welcome me to the feast where He is the host (and the double meaning of that word intended)
But I would advise you, to do the same – to take that time before communion, to stop and consider….
There He is! There is the Lamb of God, the very one John the Baptist pointed out to His disciples. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world…. So let our cries go out to Him. Lord – grant us peace, grant us your peace!!!!!
And as we leave every burden at the rail… as He takes them from us…may we walk away with a smile that betrays the fact that because He has invited us there…. we do know His peace.
Look – there He is… the Lamb of God… for you!
And so may you voice with Simeon – as you take and drink, as you receive His gift…
O Lord now let your servants depart in heavenly peace
For we have seen the great salvation of Christ our Lord
For-told by the prophets
fulfilled for all to see
A light unto the nations
and Israel’s glory
All glory to the Father
All glory to the Son
All glory to the Spirit
The Great God Three in One
As it was in the beginning
Is now and shall ever be
Amen! Amen! Amen!
For you are His…forever!
6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8 (NKJV)
“You must never treat anyone unmercifully. If you think someone is not worthy of your mercy, you should realise that neither do you deserve anything. You don’t deserve to have been created, or to be a Christian, or to be a son of God, or to have the family you have… “ (1)
When I read this, my mind started to inventory the people I tend to struggle treating with mercy. The obvious are those that are adversarial, those relationships that are strained because of the their sin, and mine. Some of them may not even know me – but what they do and say affects me, or more often, the people I serve and help train to minister to others. Even as I think of them, I tend to squirm a bit.
Then there are the people who are pretty much strangers, the person at the market who races to get a head of me. (Have to admit – I sometimes take a teeny bit of joy when they turn around in triumph and see my clerical collar!) Or the neighbor who I do not bother to engage in conversation. How can I show them mercy? There is always a way…we just have to take the time to think about it…
And then there is the person whom I choose to ignore. They may be that irritating person, or that immature one – better just to ignore them, and all if you don’t have anything good to say…say and do nothing. What about, the homeless guy with the sign (and we all know what he is really asking for the money for..right? uhm no )People that we do not show mercy, because we don’t even recognize they exist. As I thought of them – my “old adam” was crushed a little more, as the guilt just amped up.
The funny thing is, if I am to show mercy, the way to find the power, the ummphh, the ability to do it, doesn’t come from self discipline and mastery under my own strength. It comes as I realize how incredible the mercy shown to me has been. The difference it makes – and the basic fact is – I don’t deserve, even as I sometimes think those around me aren’t worthy of it, either. We aren’t in some ways, and never will be. The only way that matters though, says we are, because we are His children. called into that relationship together, not as individuals, but as His family.
Which means we have to die to self, to pride, in order to find that which enables us to fulfill God’s reason, His logos. We have to see our sin and its passion crucified. In order to show mercy, we have to die to self, and our own sin. It is the only way, and it is not an easy road…. our incredible ability for self-defense and self preservation will try to stop us. Even so, for us to see this happen in necessary. We must see the old Adam – our sinful nature – put to death, that Christ may live in us, and show mercy.
Or perhaps, we just need to remember what happened when God marked us as His in baptism:
6:5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
Romans 6:5-8 (ESV)
“5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:22-24 (ESV)
The Lord has shown you mercy… remember that, as you grow in your desire to show God mercy…
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 707-709). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.