Saturday, August 07, 2021

Andrew of Crete: O the mystery, passing wonder

Saturday, August 7, 2021
    Commemoration of John Mason Neale, Priest, Poet, 1866
    Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
    —Revelation 19:9 (NIV)
O the mystery, passing wonder,
    When, reclining at the board,
“Eat,” Thou saidst to Thy Disciples,
    “That True Bread with quickening stored:
“Drink in faith the healing Chalice
    “From a dying God outpoured.”

Then the glorious upper chamber
    A celestial tent was made,
When the bloodless rite was offered,
    And the soul’s true service paid,
And the table of the feasters
    As an altar stood displayed.

Christ is now our mighty Pascha,
    Eaten for our mystic bread:
Take we of His broken Body,
    Drink we of the Blood He shed,
As a lamb led out to slaughter,
    And for this world offered.

To the Twelve spake Truth eternal,
    To the Branches spake the Vine:
&ldquo ;Never more from this day forward
    Shall I taste again this wine,
Till I drink it in the kingdom
    Of My Father, and with Mine.”

Thou hast stretched those hands for silver
    That had held the Immortal Food;
With those lips that late had tasted
    Of the Body and the Blood,
Thou hast given the kiss, O Judas;
    Thou hast heard the woe bestowed.

Christ to all the world gives banquet
    On that most celestial Meat:
Him, albeit with lips all earthly,
    Yet with holy hearts we greet:
Him, the sacrificial Pascha,
    Priest and Victim all complete.
    ... St. Andrew of Crete (c. 650-726/740) & John Mason Neale (1818-1866), in Hymns of the Eastern Church, London: J. T. Hayes, 1870, p. 73 (see the book)
    See also Rev.19:9; Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; John 1:29; 15:1-8
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You have given Yourself to Your people.

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Friday, August 06, 2021

MacDonald: God's kind of righteousness

Friday, August 6, 2021
    For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith: as it is written, But the righteous shall live by faith.
    —Romans 1:17 (ASV)
    The righteousness which is of God by faith in the source, the prime of that righteousness, is then just the same kind of thing as God’s righteousness, differing only as the created differs from the creating. The righteousness of him who does the will of his father in heaven, is the righteousness of Jesus Christ, is God’s own righteousness. The righteousness which is of God by faith in God, is God’s righteousness. The man who has this righteousness, thinks about things as God thinks about them, loves the things that God loves, cares for nothing that God does not care about... The man with God’s righteousness does not love a thing merely because it is right, but loves the very rightness in it. He not only loves a thought, but he loves the man in his thinking that thought; he loves the thought alive in the man.
    ... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “Righteousness”, in Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1889, p. 222-223 (see the book)
    See also Rom. 1:17; 3:21-28; 10:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 2:5-8
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord Jesus, You alone have demonstrated God’s righteousness for all to see.
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Thursday, August 05, 2021

Meyer: finding out God's purpose

Thursday, August 5, 2021
    Feast of Oswald, King of Northumbria, Martyr, 642
    [Jesus:] “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
    —Luke 14:11 (NIV)
    So long as there is some thought of personal advantage, some idea of acquiring the praise and commendation of men, some aim at self-aggrandisement, it will be simply impossible to find out God’s purpose concerning us.
    ... Frederick Brotherton Meyer (1847-1929), The Secret of Guidance, New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1896, p. 10 (see the book)
    See also Luke 14:11; Obad. 1:3-4; Matt. 6:1-5; 2 Cor. 10:5,17-18; Gal. 6:3-4; Jas. 2:5-9
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, purge me of arrogance.
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Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Pascal: Jesus to the needy

Wednesday, August 4, 2021
    Feast of John Vianney, Curè d’Ars, 1859
    They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet:
    “‘Go to this people and say, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’
    “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”
    —Acts 28:25-28 (NIV)
    Jesus Christ came to blind those who saw clearly, and to give sight to the blind; to heal the sick, and leave the healthy to die; to call to repentance, and to justify sinners, and to leave the righteous in their sins; to fill the needy, and leave the rich empty.
    ... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées (Thoughts) [1660], P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, n. 771, p. 274 (see the book)
    See also Acts 28:25-28; Matt. 9:11-12; 13:11-15; Mark 4:11-12; Luke 1:52-53; 4:18-21
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, I was blind, and You have granted me sight.
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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Flavel: troubles vs. mercies

Tuesday, August 3, 2021
    I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
    —Romans 8:18 (NIV)
    Shall light troubles make you forget weighty mercies? Remember the church’s true riches are laid out of the reach of all its enemies: they may make you poor, but not miserable.
    ... John Flavel (1628-1691), A Saint Indeed [1667], in The Whole Works of the Reverend Mr. John Flavel, v. V, London: J. Mathews, 1799, p. 449 (see the book)
    See also Rom. 8:18; Prov. 4:23; Matt. 5:11-12; Acts 20:24; 2 Cor. 4:17-18; 1 Pet. 1:6-7
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You have provided Your people with spiritual riches.
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Monday, August 02, 2021

Phillips: we are involved

Monday, August 2, 2021
    When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
    They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
    “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
    Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
    —Matthew 16:13-16 (NIV)
    We may with complete detachment study and form a judgment upon a religion, but we cannot maintain our detachment if the subject of our inquiry proves to be God Himself. This is, of course, why many otherwise honest intellectual people will construct a neat by-pass around the claim of Jesus to be God. Being people of insight and imagination, they know perfectly well that once to accept such a claim as fact would mean a readjustment of their own purposes and values and affections which they may have no wish to make. To call Jesus the greatest Figure in History or the finest Moral Teacher the world has ever seen commits no one to anything. But once to allow the startled mind to accept as fact that this man is really focused-God may commit anyone to anything! There is every excuse for blundering in the dark, but in the light there is no cover from reality. It is because we strongly sense this, and not merely because we feel that the evidence is ancient and scanty, that we shrink from committing ourselves to such a far-reaching belief as that Jesus Christ was really God.
    ... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Your God is Too Small [1953], Simon and Schuster, 2004, p. 83 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 16:13-19; Ps. 110:1; John 1:1-5; 10:10; Phil. 2:5-11
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, give us the words we need to lead contentious men back to You.
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Sunday, August 01, 2021

Watts: To him that chose us first

Sunday, August 1, 2021
    But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
    —Romans 5:8 (NIV)
To him that chose us first,
Before the world began;
To him that bore the curse
To save rebellious man;
    To him that form’d
    Our hearts anew
    Is endless praise
    And glory due.

The Father’s love shall run
Through our immortal songs;
We bring to God the Son
Hosannahs on our tongues:
    Our lips address
    The Spirit’s name
    With equal praise,
    And zeal the same.

Let every saint above,
And angel round the throne,
For ever bless and love
The sacred Three in One;
    Thus heav’n shall raise
    His honors high,
    When earth and time
    Grow old and die.
    ... Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Hymns and Spiritual Songs [1707], in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, ed. Samuel Melanchthon Worcester, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1834, book III, hymn 39, p. 494-495 (see the book)
    See also Rom. 5:8; Isa. 53:3-5; Eph. 1:4-6; Heb. 4:3; Rev. 5:12
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, there is no limit to the honors due to Your Name.

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