Saturday, December 05, 2020

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Allshorn: the Christlike character

Saturday, December 5, 2020
Meditation:
    [Jesus:] “I and the Father are one.”
    —John 10:30 (NIV)
Quotation:
    We know so well what the unique quality was that held this great and beautiful pride and exquisite humility together. It lay in the relationship he held with God. We know the familiar idea of Jesus’ oneness with God: only we deal with it too much as a doctrine of the Church, not as an element in Jesus’ own experience. If we never find it in reality, in life, we cannot reveal the true Christ-like character at all—we will always be trying earnestly to be something, but on too superficial and obvious a plane.
    ... Florence Allshorn (1887-1950), The Notebooks of Florence Allshorn, London: SCM Press, 1957, p. 77-78 (see the book)
    See also John 10:30; Matt. 11:27,29; Luke 22:26-27; John 1:1-2,14; 8:28; 17:11
Quiet time reflection:
    Increase, O Lord, Your presence in my life.
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Friday, December 04, 2020

Bornkamm: faith in Jesus the foundation

Friday, December 4, 2020
    Commemoration of Nicholas Ferrar, Deacon, Founder of the Little Gidding Community, 1637
Meditation:
    Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
    He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
    The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
    —Matthew 8:24-27 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Form-criticism... has made an end of the false notion, which for a long time dominated critical scholarship, that it was possible throughout the gospels to distill from them a “Life of Jesus” that would be free from dogmatic presuppositions and not affected by any “retouching” derived from the faith of the Church. In fact, however, faith in Jesus Christ crucified and risen did not first appear at some later stage in the tradition, but was the foundation of the tradition, the very soil out of which it grew; and it is in light of that faith alone that the tradition can be understood.
    This faith in Jesus Christ, the Crucified and Exalted One, explains both the things which the primitive tradition makes known to us, with its manifest concern for the factual truth of the tradition about Jesus, and at the same time the peculiar liberty which the evangelists take in making alterations in the record in points of detail. In relating the acts and words of Jesus, they do not refer back to any sort of “archives” possessed by the community... Jesus Christ is not for them a figure of past history whose proper place is in a library.
    ... Günther Bornkamm (1905-1990), “The Stilling of the Storm in Matthew”, as quoted in The Christ of Faith and the Jesus of History, Gabriel Hebert, London: SCM Press, 1962, p. 37 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 8:24-27; Ps. 16:10; Luke 24; John 2:19-21; 10:17-18; Acts 2:22-24; Rom. 6:4; 8:11
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You are our contemporary.
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Thursday, December 03, 2020

Taylor: Beatitude

Thursday, December 3, 2020
    Commemoration of Francis Xavier, Apostle of the Indies, Missionary, 1552
Meditation:
    May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.
    —1 Thessalonians 3:12 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Love is the greatest thing that God can give us, for Himself is love: and it is the greatest thing we can give to God, for it will also give ourselves, and carry with it all that is ours. The apostle calls it the band of perfection; it is the old, and it is the new, and it is the great commandment, and it is all the commandments; for it is the fulfilling of the Law. It does the work of all the graces without any instrument but its own immediate virtue. For as the love to sin makes a man sin against all his own reason, and all the discourses of wisdom, and all the advices of his friends, and without temptation and without opportunity, so does the love of God; it makes a man chaste without the laborious arts of fasting and exterior disciplines, temperate in the midst of feasts, and is active enough to choose it without any intermedial appetites, and reaches at glory through the very heart of grace, without any other aims but those of love. It is a grace that loves God for Himself, and our neighbors for God. The consideration of God’s goodness and bounty, the experience of those profitable and excellent emanations from Him, may be, and most commonly are, the first motive of our love; but when we are once entered, and have tasted the goodness of God, we love the spring for its own excellency, passing from passion to reason, from thanking to adoring, from sense to spirit, from considering ourselves to an union with God: and this is the image and little representation of heaven; it is beatitude in picture, or rather the infancy and beginnings of glory.
    ... Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), Holy Living [1650], in The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D., v. III, London: Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1847, p. 156 (see the book)
    See also 1 Thess. 3:12; Ps. 34:8; 1 Cor. 13; 1 Pet. 2:1-3; 2 Pet. 1:5-8
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, send Your Holy Spirit to teach me love.
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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Kurosaki: His will for us

Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Meditation:
    One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.
    —Romans 14:5 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Paul uses the example of differing opinions about food and days among the believers in Rome to teach that Christians should not despise or judge one another. Note that he does not advise them to find a happy medium between the contending opinions or to average the two extremes into a compromise. On the contrary, he admonished that “every one be fully convinced in his own mind.” He declares that God is able to make both stand, since both of them are serving the Lord in obedience to their individual convictions of His will... Each of us has to find personally what is the will of God for his own life, and let all others meet their responsibility to do the same... For God, by giving different commands to many, and putting them together according to His plan, shall accomplish ultimately His complete will.
    ... Kokichi Kurosaki (1886-1970), One Body in Christ, Kobe, Japan: Eternal Life Press, 1954, ch. 9 (see the book)
    See also Rom. 14:5-6; John 9:31; Rom. 14:21-23; Col. 2:16-17; Tit. 1:15; Heb. 11:6; 1 John 3:19-21
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, lead us to see our unity in You.
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Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Barth: by grace

Tuesday, December 1, 2020
    Commemoration of Charles de Foucauld, Hermit, Servant of the Poor, 1916
Meditation:
    But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
    —Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV)
Quotation:
    By grace you have been saved! Whatever else we do, praying and singing, is but an answer to this word spoken to us by God himself... The Bible alone contains this sentence. We do not read it in Kant or in Schopenhauer, or in any book of natural or secular history, and certainly not in any novel, but in the Bible alone.
    ... Karl Barth (1886-1968), Deliverance to the Captives, Harper, 1961, p. 36 (see the book)
    See also Eph. 2:4-9; Acts 15:11; Rom. 2:3-4; 3:22-24; 5:20-21; 11:5-6; 1 Pet. 1:3-5
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, the world has no salvation to offer apart from You.
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Monday, November 30, 2020

Thomas a Kempis: humility

Monday, November 30, 2020
    Feast of Andrew the Apostle
Meditation:
    Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
    —1 Corinthians 13:8 (NIV)
Quotation:
    What doth it profit thee to enter into deep discussions concerning the Holy Trinity, if thou lack humility, and be thus displeasing to the Trinity? For verily it is not deep words that make a man holy and upright; it is a good life which maketh a man dear to God. I had rather feel contrition than be skillful in the definition thereof. If thou knewest the whole Bible, and the sayings of all the philosophers, what should this profit thee without the love and grace of God?
    ... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.i.3, p. 29-30 (see the book)
    See also 1 Cor. 13:1-2; Ps. 149:4; Mark 8:36; Luke 16:15; 1 Pet. 3:4
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, keep me from being puffed up with knowledge and implant Your love in my heart.
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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Fenelon: fidelity in little things

Sunday, November 29, 2020
    Advent I
Meditation:
    About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”
    Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
    —Luke 22:59-62 (NIV)
Quotation:
    It is only by fidelity in little things that the grace of true love to God can be sustained, and distinguished from a passing fervor of spirit...
    No one can well believe that our piety is sincere, when our behavior is lax and irregular in its little details. What probability is there that we should not hesitate to make the greatest sacrifices, when we shrink from the smallest?
    ... François Fénelon (1651-1715), Selections from Fénelon, ed. Mary Wilder Tileston, Boston: Roberts Bros., 1879, p. 160 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 16:1-4; 26:3-5; Luke 12:42-44; 22:59-62
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, keep me faithful in the small things.
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