Today is Sunday, December 10, 2017. Day 21,822.
Only 15 more days until Christmas!!
George MacDonald, born on this date in 1824 (died 1905), said, “How strange this fear of death is! We are never frightened at a sunset.”
The word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is cachinnate, a verb, meaning, “to laugh loudly or immoderately.”
Today is Human Rights Day, first established in 1948. Because humans have rights, whether we like them or not.
we are getting ready for our worship gathering, this morning. We worship with The Exchange Church, which meets at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 N. Beach in Fort Worth, TX. The worship gathering begins at 10:15. We usually arrive between 8:00 and 8:30, to help with setup.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
(From The Divine Hours)
Sunday – Second Week of Advent
I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will make music.
But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.
This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, “‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly! Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation. Let the godly exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written! This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise the LORD!
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Grant us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Prayer Appointed for the Week
(From Practice Resurrection)
In this segment, Eugene Peterson gets somewhat “artsy.” He begins by referring to the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, who coined a term, “inscape.” In juxtaposition to “landscape,” which is “what we see spread out before us against the horizon,” “Inscape is the intuitive sense that what we see is a living, organic form that strikes through the senses and into the mind with a feeling of novelty and discovery. Inscape is what something uniquely is, that which holds together whatever you are looking at or listening to, gives it distinction.”
We find this in many forms of art, whether it be painting, sculpture, music, or poetry. “Artists make us insiders to the complexity and beauty of what we deal with every day but so often miss. They bring to our attention what is right before our eyes, within reach of our touch, help us hear sounds and combinations of sounds that our noise-deafened ears have never heard.”
Sometimes we are surprised, thinking we have never heard or seen this before. But in reality, it was there all the time. “It was all there before us in the tree we walked past every morning on our way to work, in the face that we thought we knew through and through, in the whispers of wind in the willows and the lapping of waves on the beach.
“The artist helps us see what we have always seen but never seen, hear what we hear daily but don’t hear, fell what we have touched a hundred times but never been touched by, recognize that we are living a story and not just drifting through fragments of journal jottings or disconnected bits of gossip.”
Artists bring us in touch with true reality.
Hopkins never defined the term he coined, “but he used it frequently enough in his journals and notes to give us a feel for what he is reaching for.” Said Hopkins, “All the world is full of inscape and chance left free to act falls into an order as well as purpose.”
Father, help me to see “inscape” as I look around, as I go about my daily business. Show me true reality in this life, things that I have passed by hundreds, even thousands of times, yet not truly seen. Show me yourself in this world, Father. Show me love in this world, peace in what I encounter, and give me joy over all things.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Dear Father always near us, may your name be treasured and loved, may your rule be completed in us – may your will be done here on earth in just the way it is done in heaven. Give us today the things we need today, and forgive us our sins and impositions on you as we are forgiving all who in any way offend us. Please don’t put us through trials, but deliver us from everything bad. Because you are the one in charge, and you have all the power, and the glory too is all yours – forever – which is just the way we want it! (Dallas Willard)
Grace and peace, friends.