The Daily Office | March 24, 2018
Psalms 116, 117, 118
Numbers 23:27-24 end
2 Timothy 4
Collect: Ash Wednesday
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect: The Fifth Sunday in Lent
Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of this world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
John 13 has so much in it that it's hard to pick what to write on. Since Maundy Thursday is coming up, I'll leave the first part for next week's devotional. John 13:34-35 is one of the most profound verses in John. At is at this point that Jesus reveals the pinnacle of his teaching ministry to the disciples:
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
As Christ initiates a new covenant, Christ gives a new commandment. The commandments of the old covenant, of Moses and Abraham, aren't undone; they are fulfilled in this new commandment, just as the old covenant is fulfilled in this new covenant. Love is the fulfillment of God's law - both in God's love for us manifested Christ Jesus coming into the world to save us, and in our response to God, love for one another. It is our response-ability to love others the way God has loved us, the only appropriate and necessary response to receiving God's love in Christ Jesus.
As we enter Holy Week, meditate on God's extraordinary, ineffable love; contemplate how deep the Father's love is for us, and how this love changes us and transforms us to be lovers of God and others. How are you responding to God's love for you?