kneeling fisherman

kneeling fisherman

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Housed, yet homeless?

Verse for the week: “I will pour out a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”  Zechariah 12.10

Prayer for the week:  God, our heavenly Father, through your Son you have promised us the Holy Spirit.  Send down upon us that Spirit, that he may teach us to show forth your praise, not only here on earth in weakness, since we know your power and glory only from afar, but also in power and glory on that day when, united with the choir of angels, we shall see you face to face; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.  Amen. (K.B. Ritter, Gebete fur das jahr der Kirche,2nd ed. Kassel: Johannes Stauda-Verlag, 1948, p.150)

Bible reading for the day:  John 14.15-24 (note: Today’s reading picks up where yesterday’s left off. It is Maundy Thursday evening; Jesus has washed his disciples feet. They will all betray, and yet Jesus has promised that afterward they will do greater works. And now Jesus says…)
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.

Prayer (based on T.R.I.P. method**): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for loving sinners like me and my congregation and for making your home with us. Repent us of not loving you and your word… that only leaves us homeless in our houses or apartments.  Open our ears to the true Helper you already send, your Holy Spirit, that we may love you, read and believe your word, and living according to it now and forever. I ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.

Hymn: follow this link to a beloved classic hymn that gives further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord:  

“Thy kingdom come…”
What does this mean?
The kingdom of God comes indeed by itself, without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may also come to us.
How is this done?
God's kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us his Holy Spirit, so that by his grace we believe his holy Word and live a godly life now and in eternity.  (from The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther, ©Reclaim Resources, Sola Publishing, 2011)

Benediction:  The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Amen.  Phil 4.7

*There are many patterns for devotions.  This pattern has been followed by God’s people for centuries.

**The T.R.I.P. approach to prayer is based on the way Martin Luther prayed and taught others to pray.  It was later developed by Walter and Ingrid Trobisch and then adapted by Mount Carmel Ministries (Alexandria, MN  The method is founded on scripture and easy to remember:
T: thanksgiving
                                                          R: regret (repentance)
                                                          I: intercession (asking God to take a specific action)
                                                          P: plan or purpose
Reading a biblical text and then applying this method gives one a sound, simple way to form one’s prayers...not to mention that it helps one learn how to faithfully reflect on God’s Word and talk to God.  

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