Friday, February 26, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 2/26/10

Christ at Prayer, Hagia Sophia Cathedral

“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”
1 John 4:9

It could be just as easily said that the love God had towards us was made manifest because He sent into this world His only begotten Son that we might be ransomed from the most grim of captivities and the most meagre of estates, for that is how His compassion and mercy is revealed amidst our lives: through freedom...

Freedom from sin that we may be called the redeemed child of the Heavenly Father, brought from the darkness of the soul and given the triumph over iniquity through Christ’s sacrifice....

Freedom from captivity and bondage as the chains of slavery were shattered and we were ransomed by the encompassing power of the victory of the Savior as he showed God’s true authority in this world.

Freedom from death as we were shown that this life was only the beginning of the journey of the soul, as the path was paved on high to the eternal life as the glories of God’s kingdom were not only made known to us, but made available to us as the grave was shattered by Jesus’ conquest over it.

It is then here that we understand that to God love and freedom, compassion and liberty, mercy and justice are inescapably intertwined together amidst the grace that He makes known in the life of His people by and through the power of His Spirit. It is then made obvious in the care that He shows unto His people, unto the poor and the disenfranchised, the lost and the hurt, the wounded and the broken hearted as He lifts His hand to them to show unto them that they are never alone, that there is a force that binds all life together amidst the deeper callings of the spirit and the soul, the heart and the mind, that they might find a measure of peace in the blessed unity He proclaims in His Word through His will.

It is then that we know that, regardless of the captivity, regardless of the bondage, regardless of the oppression and the subjugation, God is there contending forever in the lives of His people, showing forth the glories of His love unto them as He leads them from pain and anguish to a place of peace and comfort, where mercy forever reigns in the hearts of the people.

Still, there are those who argue that God, He only helps those who help themselves...

As we consider that we have to ask ourselves, if that was truth, if that was the truth of His righteousness, then what sort of God would we worship? What sort of God do we put our trust in? One who only reveals His love unto us to give us strength when we are already strong, when the times of trouble are far distant and far removed from our lives and in our lives? What sort of God is that? Who would truly find God’s love if that was the case?

Captivity amidst this world only works because, no matter how strong we may think we are, there is someone stronger, whether by their physical or mental strength, by the way they seek to break us or in the numbers or the force that they have. It works because there are circumstances and situations that we find ourselves in that we can’t get ourselves out of and that we can’t seem to find any sort of answer for or through. In that we find that we are weak as our hearts break and wounds are inflicted upon us that cut so deep that they threaten to shatter us in a million pieces.

Wherever this captivity comes from it is a spiritual warfare waged against us by the old adversary as he tries to assert his dominance over us and, with all of the weapons at his disposal, with the generations he has had to master his craft, we come to the transcending truth that no matter how strong we may believe we are, he is so much stronger than us, so much more capable than we are to wreak havoc and unleash disaster on us. Here we are chained and bound in grim captivity as, in one form or another, whether it is of the body or the mind, the spirit or the soul, we are taken hostage by that dark power.

Yet the same God who saw us and the blemishes on our soul that forever separated us from His grace and made His love known to us by sending His only begotten Son to ransom us that we might dwell in His compassion amidst His mercy sees this too, and He does not just abandon His people because they are incapable, against such force, of helping themselves. He is there for them and with them each and every step of the way making His love known for them as He guides them from the darkness. Always selfless, always sacrificing, He moves for them and their cause making Himself known in the sorrowful and painful days of challenge that seem so ready and willing to overtake them.

Though then one may seem lost and confused, though they may seem hurt and pained, though it seems as if darkness is ready to swallow them whole, God does not just say I am done, and calls it a day. He is never content to let the misery that has overtaken them claim the triumph because, in the face of overwhelming odds and overshadowing tribulation they are incapable of helping themselves. Moving in their lives, He shows then that He is the God of the poor and the need, the captive and the slave, ready to do whatever it takes to proclaim liberty in their lives that they may find hope in even the most hopeless of situations.

And that... that too must be our cause and our lives...

As those called to imitate God, love must be made manifest in our lives by the sacrifices that we make in the lives of those incapable of helping themselves, the lives of those who find themselves in captivity and bondage, in times of need and hurt as we show forth the grace, mercy and compassion that was first shown unto us. We must be determined in our resolve to give of ourselves, never willing to say that it’s too much or questioning why and what for when it seems like it is hard or difficult, when we wonder if perhaps we are asked to offer too much of ourselves.

It is only then that we know that we have given our lives to be that which God has called us to be as we find that the new life, the new heart that He has created in us as His Spirit was cast down upon us and our lives brings a new hope, a transcending hope into this world to create real and sincere change. It is only then that we look to the love of God made manifest for us and learn the lessons from it that He has intended for us and our lives amidst the deeper callings of the Christ for us as we take up His cross and show we are capable of showing compassion in a world that at times seems so devoid of it. It is only then that the freedom that God has intended works in the life of the imperfect amidst his perfection.

Lord, grant this unto us all...

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

First Prayer:

Be merciful onto Your children Lord, for we are weak and so given to agony and sorrow...

Be merciful onto Your children Lord, for we languish amidst the trials of this world....

Be merciful onto Your children Lord, for there is evil all around us seeking to devour us...

Be merciful onto the crew of the MS Abdul Razak Lord, for they know find themselves amidst the pain and the sorrow of their grim estate, hijacked by wicked men of iniquity as their lives are held in their hands.

Be merciful onto the nine who were kidnapped in truck hijackings in Somalia Lord, for they are now hostages, held in dark places, captive amidst the brutality of pirates who bring death and destruction with their touch.

Be merciful onto the souls on board the Ms Pramoni Lord, for the ransom has now been paid and we wait upon their safe return from the hands of those who would trade human life as if nothing more than cattle.

Be merciful and let your grace be known amidst the lives of Your people Lord, be unto them the rock of their refuge as You give them strength amidst the trial and the tribulations that they face. Let Your love be made known in their lives and Your compassion shelter them as You bring them to the truth of Your righteousness amidst all that they know and that they face in their lives.

Be merciful and stay true to Your promises Lord as You come upon the lives of those and wounded and show them that they are not alone in what they face, but that there is a righteous God at work in their lives, showing hope in the struggles that they face and the pain that threatens to overtake them. Unto them reveal the glories of Your love as You draw them close to You, protecting them from all evil that seeks to inflict itself upon them, holding their lives cheap and without meaning.

Be merciful unto Your children Lord and we shall praise Your name through all the world, through all the ages.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Second Prayer:

Behold Your people O Lord, behold them amidst the strife and the struggle of their grim bondage and their meagre estate as they struggle against the power of the wicked and the ungodly who revile Your compassion...

How long, O Lord, shall the sheep of Your flock be devoured by the lions, hunted and fed upon by those who would overwhelm them and consume them? How long shall Your people be bound by chains of slavery and bondage, ripped and torn amidst the fortunes of the unrighteous who would take them captive? How long shall Your enemies claim dominion over Your children as they move with impunity amidst this world?

Righteousness and mercy shall follow You all the days of our lives Lord. In the trials and the tribulation of this life, in the struggles of the weak and the downtrodden, shower that then upon the lives of those held by the prideful and the sinful who would hold cheap the gift of life that You have given unto Your people. Show forth Your love in the lives of those who seek refuge from the storms of darkness in this world and free them from the persecution and the oppression that now drowns them amidst the flood waters of evil.

Let not the unrighteous scoff at Your promises Lord but show unto them that justice shall be done as Your will overtakes them. Let not the sinful say there is no God for we have claimed authority over Him as rob dignity from the lives of Your people. Show unto them that the power rests in Your hand that they may come to know the errors that they dwell amidst as there might is put to shame and You show unto them that there is no escaping Your judgment when life is held cheap and without meaning, as they seek to so destroy Your divine purpose in the lives of Your people. Turn them from their wickedness that they shall know that there is a God who shall always contend against those who bring hurt and suffering into this world.

Then shall the truth of Your mercy be known throughout the ages, in all places, through all things.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

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