Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Donne: love and death meet in Christ.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Meditation:
    We love him, because he first loved us.
    —1 John 4:19 (KJV)
Quotation:
    Love is as strong as death; but nothing else is as strong as either; and both, love and death, met in Christ. How strong and powerful upon you, then, should that instruction be, that comes to you from both these, the love and death of Jesus Christ!
    ... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. III, London: John W. Parker, 1839, Sermon LIX, p. 18 (see the book)
    See also 1 John 4:19; Ps. 32:8; Song of Solomon 2:5; John 3:16,17; 1 John 4:9-10
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, Your love and death instruct me to new life.
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Monday, September 21, 2020

Bonhoeffer: the church for the world

Monday, September 21, 2020
    Feast of Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist
Meditation:
    [Jesus:] “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
    —Matthew 5:42 (NIV)
Quotation:
    The Church is her true self only when she exists for humanity. As a fresh start, she should give away all her endowments to the poor and needy. The clergy should live solely on the free-will offerings of their congregations, or possibly engage in some secular calling.
    ... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Letters and Papers from Prison, London: Macmillan, 1962, p. 239 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 5:40-42; 19:21; 25:34-40; 2 Cor. 4:5; 8:1-15; 9:6-9
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, lead Your people to serve Your will.
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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Phillips: what Jesus actually said

Sunday, September 20, 2020
    Feast of John Coleridge Patteson, First Bishop of Melanesia, & his Companions, Martyrs, 1871
Meditation:
    [Jesus:] “I tell you that one greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.”
    —Matthew 12:6-7 (NIV)
Quotation:
    So long as a man confines his ideas of Christ to a rather misty hero figure of long ago who died a tragic death, and so long as his ideas of Christianity are bounded by what he calls the Sermon on the Mount (which he has almost certainly not read in its entirety since he became grown-up), then the living truth never has a chance to touch him. This is plainly what has happened to many otherwise intelligent people. Over the years I have had hundreds of conversations with people, many of them of higher intellectual calibre than my own, who quite obviously had no idea of what Christianity is really about. I was in no case trying to catch them out: I was simply and gently trying to find out what they knew about the New Testament. My conclusion was that they knew virtually nothing. This I find pathetic and somewhat horrifying. It means that the most important Event in human history is politely and quietly bypassed. For it is not as though the evidence ha d been examined and found unconvincing: it had simply never been examined.
    ... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Ring of Truth, London: Hodder & Stoughton; New York: The Macmillan Company, 1967, p. 16 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 12:6-7; Ps. 119:46; Hos. 6:6; Matt. 10:18-20; Luke 21:14-15; Acts 17:30; Col. 4:6; 2 Tim. 2:25-26; 1 Pet. 3:15-16;
Quiet time reflection:
    Am I too focused on trivial or superficial things, rather than the substance of Your Word?
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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Reeves: meeting Jesus

Saturday, September 19, 2020
    Commemoration of Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690
Meditation:
    We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.
    —1 John 3:14 (NIV)
Quotation:
    What makes life worth living is the mutual enrichment of people through understanding, intelligence and affection.
    It is just here that our awareness that Jesus is our contemporary and that Calvary is relevant to our present human situation ought to help us greatly. And that is not merely because in his relationships with others during his earthly life in Palestine Jesus exemplified all that I have tried to say about human relationships. In every genuine human encounter with another person we may become aware of Jesus, and meet with him. This may sound fanciful, but there is much in the Scriptures and in Christian experience which suggests that Jesus is frequently met in the traffic of person with person, provided that there is a genuine encounter between them. Jesus himself showed that for this to happen demands courage and a willingness to move from a life that is centred in itself. So if we are to pass out of that lonely world of isolation then we must be prepared to take the risks that are always involved when we allow persons to confront us as persons and do not regard them as things. Yet, dangerous though it may be to live in this way, it is the only way to live.
    ... Ambrose Reeves (1899-1980), Calvary Now, London: SCM Press, 1965, p. 76-77 (see the book)
    See also 1 John 3:14; Matt. 19:13-15; 25:34-40; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 10:29-37; 18:15-17; John 13:35; Heb. 13:1; 1 Pet. 1:22; 3:8; 1 John 4:7-8; 5:2
Quiet time reflection:
    Whom do I treat as a thing rather than a person?
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Friday, September 18, 2020

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MacDonald: faith in action and waiting

Friday, September 18, 2020
    Commemoration of George MacDonald, Spiritual Writer, 1905
Meditation:
    But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.
    —Hosea 12:6 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Faith is that which, knowing the Lord’s will, goes and does it; or, not knowing it, stands and waits, content in ignorance as in knowledge, because God wills; neither pressing into the hidden future, nor careless of the knowledge which opens the path of action.
    ... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Temptation in the Wilderness”, in Unspoken Sermons [First Series], London: A. Strahan, 1867, p. 147 (see the book)
    See also Hos. 12:6; Ps. 37:7; 130:5; Matt. 4:1-11; 21:28-31; Mark 1:11,12; Heb. 11:6,8
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, grant Your people repose in Your will.
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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Robinson: prayer like a dove

Thursday, September 17, 2020
    Feast of St. Hildegard, Abbess of Bingen, Visionary, 1179
Meditation:
    Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
    —James 5:16 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Prayer is like the dove that Noah sent forth, which blessed him not only when it returned with an olive-leaf in its mouth, but when it never returned at all.
    ... Edward Robinson (1794-1863), from Job, ascribed by M. G. Easton (see the book)
    See also Jas. 5:16; Gen. 8:8-12; Matt. 6:5-6; Luke 22:40
Quiet time reflection:
    Spirit of God, pray within me.
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