DAILY DEVOTIONAL, 1/27/19

3rd Sunday after the Epiphany

Opening Prayer

Oh Lord, open my lips
And my mouth shall proclaim your praise. (Ps. 51:15)

(from The Book of Common Prayer)
Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our
Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News
of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive
the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with
you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Morning Psalm, Psalm 67

Make Your Face Shine upon Us
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.

67:1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
    and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
that your way may be known on earth,
    your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
    let all the peoples praise you!

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
    for you judge the peoples with equity
    and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
    let all the peoples praise you!

The earth has yielded its increase;
    God, our God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us;
    let all the ends of the earth fear him!

Prayer:
Light of the world,
you have come into the world’s darkness
and the darkness cannot overwhelm the light.
Let your holy name be known through all the earth,
that all people and nations may praise you
and walk in your ways;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Laudate Psalm, Psalm 150

Let Everything Praise the Lord

150:1 Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
    praise him according to his excellent greatness!

Praise him with trumpet sound;
    praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
    praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals;
    praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

Prayer:
Great and glorious God,
in your wisdom you created us,
in Jesus Christ you came to redeem us,
and through your Holy Spirit you guide and sanctify us.
Give us breath to sing of your majesty,
and with all creation,
praise you as the true life of all;
through Jesus Christ,
who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit;
one God forever.
Amen.

Old Testament Reading, Isaiah 47:1-15

The Humiliation of Babylon

47:1 Come down and sit in the dust,
    O virgin daughter of Babylon;
sit on the ground without a throne,
    O daughter of the Chaldeans!
For you shall no more be called
    tender and delicate.
Take the millstones and grind flour,
    put off your veil,
strip off your robe, uncover your legs,
    pass through the rivers.
Your nakedness shall be uncovered,
    and your disgrace shall be seen.
I will take vengeance,
    and I will spare no one.
Our Redeemer—the Lord of hosts is his name—
    is the Holy One of Israel.

Sit in silence, and go into darkness,
    O daughter of the Chaldeans;
for you shall no more be called
    the mistress of kingdoms.
I was angry with my people;
    I profaned my heritage;
I gave them into your hand;
    you showed them no mercy;
on the aged you made your yoke exceedingly heavy.
You said, “I shall be mistress forever,”
    so that you did not lay these things to heart
    or remember their end.

Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures,
    who sit securely,
who say in your heart,
    “I am, and there is no one besides me;
I shall not sit as a widow
    or know the loss of children”:
These two things shall come to you
    in a moment, in one day;
the loss of children and widowhood
    shall come upon you in full measure,
in spite of your many sorceries
    and the great power of your enchantments.

10 You felt secure in your wickedness;
    you said, “No one sees me”;
your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray,
and you said in your heart,
    “I am, and there is no one besides me.”
11 But evil shall come upon you,
    which you will not know how to charm away;
disaster shall fall upon you,
    for which you will not be able to atone;
and ruin shall come upon you suddenly,
    of which you know nothing.

12 Stand fast in your enchantments
    and your many sorceries,
    with which you have labored from your youth;
perhaps you may be able to succeed;
    perhaps you may inspire terror.
13 You are wearied with your many counsels;
    let them stand forth and save you,
those who divide the heavens,
    who gaze at the stars,
who at the new moons make known
    what shall come upon you.

14 Behold, they are like stubble;
    the fire consumes them;
they cannot deliver themselves
    from the power of the flame.
No coal for warming oneself is this,
    no fire to sit before!
15 Such to you are those with whom you have labored,
    who have done business with you from your youth;
they wander about, each in his own direction;
    there is no one to save you.

Epistle Reading, Hebrews 10:19-31

The Full Assurance of Faith

10:19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Gospel Reading, John 5:2-18

5:2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.

Now that day was the Sabbath. 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. 16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

Jesus Is Equal with God

18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

Reflection For the day

Preface”
from the Directory of Worship 
for the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America
(2015 printing)

Worship is fundamental to the mission of the Christian church. To worship God is to act out our obedience to the God who has revealed himself to us, called and claimed us as his people. In worship the initiative lies with God and the focus is on God. God and God’s redemptive and creative work are both the object and the subject of worship. To worship is to re-enact the gospel in its fullness and simplicity.

In worship we discover and express our identity as God’s people, we participate in the ongoing redemptive work of God in the world and we offer ourselves anew to the One who has created, redeemed and sustained us. We worship because of who we are and who God is. The dominant character of Christian worship is praise of God. Because of who God is, what God has done, and what God has promised to do, it is in order for us to praise God for that steadfast love which is peculiar to God.

Christians worship in the name of Jesus Christ: in the power of Jesus Christ and in the freedom of Jesus Christ. Jesus through his birth, life, death and resurrection offered up perfect worship to God, and as Christians we are free to participate in that perfect expression of praise. Therefore, the life and ministry of Jesus Christ is central to Christian worship, and all Christian worship seeks to reflect and be shaped by that life and ministry. Jesus Christ is the living Word whose presence and spirit alone make valid all of Christian worship.

As human beings we also realize that we worship out of a sense of need. We are not sufficient unto ourselves, and we experience a sense of completeness and fulfillment through the encounter with and worship of our Creator. To worship is to be fully human.

Christians can worship God at any time, for all time has been redeemed by him in Jesus Christ. From the beginning of Christian worship, however, one day has been set aside for corporate worship: the Lord’s Day. This day is the first day of the week and it was designated as the proper day for corporate worship of Christians because it was the day Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. It was “on the first day of the week” that the followers of Jesus discovered the empty tomb and met the risen Lord. Hence the day appointed for Christian worship is a remembrance of the resurrection of Jesus. Each Sunday is understood by Christians at worship to be an Easter day; every time of corporate worship is understood to be a celebration of the victory of God acted out through the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.

The Lord’s Day also commemorates the first day of creation. On the first day of the week God began creation, and likewise on the first day of the week God began his “new creation.” Hence this day is seen as being basic to all good. God created the world and pronounced it good; in Jesus Christ God redeemed the world and claimed it anew for its goodness. Christians worship on the Lord’s Day remembering and celebrating God’s creation and redemption: God’s creating the world and proclaiming it good and God’s decisive action in making all things new and good. By designating one day as the Lord’s Day Christians show forth what is true for all days and all creation: Jesus Christ is Lord of all creation.  

Prayer for the Day

Take time to reflect and pray. Pray for those listed on our prayer list from worship. If you’d like to use it, here is a prayer to guide you:

(from The Book of Common Worship)
We lift our voices in prayers of praise, holy God, for you have lifted us to new life in Jesus Christ, and your blessings come in generous measure. Especially we thank you for

the privilege of worship and service in this congregation . . .
the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ for us . . .
food and drink to share in the Lord’s name . . .
our calling to discipleship. . . .

We hold up before you human needs, God of compassion, for you have come to
us in Jesus Christ and shared our life so we may share his resurrection. Especially we pray for

the healing of those who are sick . . .
the comfort of the dying . . .
the renewal of those who despair . . .
the Spirit’s power in the church. . . .

Amen.

Closing Prayer

(from The Liturgy of the Hours)
Almighty ever-living God,
direct our actions according to your good pleasure,
that in the name of your beloved Son
we may abound in good works.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. 

Let us praise the Lord.
– And give him thanks.  
Amen.

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