Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 4/1/10

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
John 13:34-35

“Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos... A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”


If there was only one transcending, encompassing message of Christ... if there was but one overarching idea that gave significance to the meaning of Christ’s ministry, His life and death and resurrection, His sacrifice and His offering for humanity... if there was only one guiding lesson given unto us by the Savior it was love...

It was love that sent Christ into this world... that love of God that saw a sinful and unclean race, that saw the true nature of a lost and fallen humanity, and refused to abandon it or forsake it amidst its own iniquity and sin. He would give his only begotten son to be made man, to live as we did, to suffer temptation as we did, and to carry our awful load even unto His own death, all because He loves us and desires for us to be saved from that brutal and bitter captivity to sin, death and the Devil.

It was love that Christ taught throughout His temporal existence... a love that transcended human understanding and wisdom, a love that looked past our own wants and our own needs, a love that put behind us our own selfishness or our own hurt and taught to the people that they were to love their neighbour as themselves, that taught them to love their enemies and pray for them, to love those who persecuted and oppressed them and to hold not their transgressions against them. It was a love that called on to each of us, telling us to be better, to be stronger than ourselves as we were guided by the Spirit through a world that so rarely made sense to us.

It was a love that Christ exemplified in His life... it was a love that he lived as he put everyone and everything before himself and gave of himself until there seemed like there was nothing else that was left to give. It was a love that never questioned why or complained about the burden that it placed upon Him. It was a love that never asked what was the point, no matter how far past redemption mankind may have seemed, nor did it ever grumble or moan as the true weight and measure of that love crushed Him under the sin and the sorrow of man’s iniquity as it all bore down on Him with such an awful load.

It was a love that Christ would cling to and embody even unto the most brutal of deaths.... it was a love that made His sacrifice so necessary as He knew that there was no other way to redeem the sinful and unclean from the iniquity that stained their hearts and the transgressions that bound their souls except through His sacrifice as that perfect offering, that flawless and faultless Lamb of God who would complete the law that atonement would be brought for the wickedness of humanity. It was a love that would suffer humiliation and disgrace, brutality and cruelty as the hands of men were raised against Him in the most violent of ways, and all that we might find peace and compassion, mercy and hope that would forever guide us forward.

It was a love that Christ would command unto all of us who claimed to be His disciples... who claimed the blessings of His redemption and the grace that came from His salvation.

“Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos... A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

As another Holy Week is upon us and we look to the coming of Easter, that time when we mark the death and the resurrection of Christ, that triumph of our Lord and Savior, that long awaited Messiah anointed by the Lord who claimed that wondrous victory over sin, death and the Devil that we could not win by our merit or our own toils and struggles, as we mark the sacrifice of that Suffering Servant given unto us in the promises of God’s love in even the most ancient days as we were told that we would be freed from the power of the grave and the grim hold it had over us, we need to reflect upon ourselves and our lives. Do we love as Christ loved? Do we give as freely as He gave? Do we offer of ourselves as he offered of Himself? Do we live in that example given unto us by him in the love that he taught unto us?

We live in a world of brutal captivity even now...

All around us there is bondage and slavery as men and women and children are cast to the pits of despair. This world seeks to break them, it seems to tear them asunder as they are left with this lingering feeling of agony and anguish that seems to encompass them, threatening to devour them.

Whether they are held by pirates who grow bolder by the day, human traffickers who rip the innocence from their lives, brutal governments who use tyranny and oppression to suppress the people, racists who believe in the superiority of their cause, enslaving and using genocide as their weapons of choice, or rebels who commit acts of violence and brutality against others, holding people hostage and murdering to make their point, the corruption of this age chains the hearts and the minds, the bodies and the souls to hurt and hardship as turmoil and tribulation comes so easily into their lives.

Whether it is poverty that forces a family to live out of their car or choose between food or shelter, disease and sickness that eats at the body and the mind, leaving the withered frame of a person where their once stood, or the mental afflictions that can cast such a bitter and grim veil over the eyes of the people until there is nothing left but this lingering sense of darkness that seems to overtake them, the sorrow of this age destroys so many lives as it robs from the people any sense of peace or hope that they had, bring nothing but anguish and agony to mark their days.

These are those who Christ taught us to care for, to show love unto, to be compassionate towards, these are they that Christ taught us to be merciful in the lives of. These are those who our Savior taught us to make sacrifices for, to offer all that we can to as the power of the Spirit guides us to bless their lives, giving all that we can to and for that they may know the love of God made manifest through us and in us as we uplift them and edify them in all that we do for them.

Ours must always and forever look to the sacrifice of Christ and ask ourselves what more can we do, what more can we offer, what more can we give in the lives of others?

Ours must be to see the true nature of Christ and to sacrifice of ourselves, trusting that God will provide for us as we provide for others as we give of ourselves unto all who are in any sort of need...

Ours must be to pray for them, it must be to look for ways we can enter into their lives, giving unto them and the charities that help them, it must be to show them kindness and understand that healing enters into their lives as we show them that none are so lost amidst a road of despair that they can’t be guided back to a path of hope that is paved by the compassion of the Lord and the love of His blessed and beloved only begotten Son.

It is then that we can truly and rightly call ourselves the disciples of Christ as we make manifest his love in our lives through all that we are and all that we do, moving each and every day to draw Him closer to us by drawing our fellow man closer to us.

Lord, grant this unto us all.

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

First Prayer:

Let Your love be made manifest in this lost and fallen world O Lord... let Your love be seen by all who suffer and toil, bound and chained amidst the wickedness of this age....

Let Your love shine forth in the lives of Your servants O Lord... let Your love guide them with a right heart to stand for all who need defending as sorrow and anguish come so easily into the lives of Your people...

Guide Your children from captivity, ransom them from the hands of wicked. Though the unrighteous may rise against them show unto them Your mercy and Your grace as it carries them through even these dark days of grim sorrow that grips their lives. Give them strength, gird them with courage, that perseverance shall give unto them endurance through all of their anguish and agony, that then, in Your time, according to Your love, set them free...

We have seen the great miracles, the glorious works of Your hand O Lord, we have rejoiced in the blessings You have bestowed upon Your people. We have witnessed the power of Your authority as you gave over 5 pirates to a US Warship, sinking their mother ship, freeing the innocent from that grim hold that these men would have gripped them with. We have praised Your name for the way You have revealed Yourself, making Your presence known in the lives of the people.

Rise once more O Lord... rise that liberty and love, justice and hope shall come into the lives of all others held in brutal estate and dark bondage that all shall be brought to that blessed air of freedom that You have endowed Your creation with and have wove into the integrity of their lives.

Then shall Your compassion and mercy, Your love and grace, taught unto us by Christ be the example by which we have seen the blessed assurances of Your promises and it shall teach us to be more, to do more according to the commands You have given us.

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:

Show us Your good O Lord as we cry out for the deliverance of Your people...

Bless the creation of Your hand O Lord as we yearn for the freedom of Your children...

Bend Your ear and hear our longing as we look upon the captivity and the slavery of this age that is brought upon the lives of those who suffer and struggle. Destitution and despair, anguish and agony, suffering and sorrow come so easily into their lives O Lord and they guide for nothing more than Your love to guide them to the places where hope dwells in the blessings of Your compassion.

Let not their faith be frustrated, let not the power of wickedness claim authority over them, but lift them up by Your hand and carry them forth from these places of such hurt and pain to the comfort of Your peace amidst the blessings of Your liberty. Show unto them that Your authority reigns over their lives as You make for them a place to dwell and rest where peace shall encompass their being as Your light warms their spirits and their souls amidst the promises of Your love.

Then shall all see the miracles of Your hand, rejoicing in the wondrous mercy and the gracious compassion You have guided the lives of Your people with as You show the full measure of Your devotion unto them through all of the days of their lives.

Then shall all praise Your glorious name in the manifestation of Your love as it leads Your people to the places where Your truth does give hope and the lost are forever found.

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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