The Daily Word
A Daily Email from St. Mark’s to help you read the scriptures and develop a habit of prayer
- Follows the daily lectionary found in the Lutheran Service Book (pg. 299) which includes an Old Testament and a New Testament reading
- The readings are designed for about 15 mins
- In the full year you will read all of the New Testament and about 1/3rd of the Old Testament
- The New Testament and the Old Testament readings are not aligned (i.e. they don’t depend upon each other), so you could read just one or the other
- The Email will typically include prayer starters focusing on Luther’s Simple Way to Pray: Instruction, Thanksgiving, Confession, Prayer
- Pastoral notes about the readings and occasional links might also be included
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Daily World Example
Old Testament Reading – Deuteronomy 34:1-12 NLT
Then Moses went up to Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab and climbed Pisgah Peak, which is across from Jericho. And the LORD showed him the whole land, from Gilead as far as Dan; all the land of Naphtali; the land of Ephraim and Manasseh; all the land of Judah, extending to the Mediterranean Sea; the Negev; the Jordan Valley with Jericho– the city of palms– as far as Zoar. Then the LORD said to Moses, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have now allowed you to see it with your own eyes, but you will not enter the land.” So Moses, the servant of the LORD, died there in the land of Moab, just as the LORD had said. The LORD buried him in a valley near Beth-peor in Moab, but to this day no one knows the exact place. Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyesight was clear, and he was as strong as ever. The people of Israel mourned for Moses on the plains of Moab for thirty days, until the customary period of mourning was over. Now Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him, doing just as the LORD had commanded Moses. There has never been another prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face. The LORD sent him to perform all the miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, and all his servants, and his entire land. With mighty power, Moses performed terrifying acts in the sight of all Israel.
New Testament Reading – Matthew 21:1-22 NLT
As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. “Go into the village over there,” he said. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately let you take them.” This took place to fulfill the prophecy that said, “Tell the people of Jerusalem, ‘Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey– riding on a donkey’s colt.'” The two disciples did as Jesus commanded. They brought the donkey and the colt to him and threw their garments over the colt, and he sat on it. Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD! Praise God in highest heaven!” The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. “Who is this?” they asked. And the crowds replied, “It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!” The blind and the lame came to him in the Temple, and he healed them. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.” But the leaders were indignant. They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.'” Then he returned to Bethany, where he stayed overnight. In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up. The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”
In A Simple Way to Pray Luther detailed one method of prayer which is also a way of meditating upon the text. The first step was summarizing for yourself the instruction or insight that you received from reading it. Ponder it for a couple of miniutes, ask the Spirit to guide and state what you took out of the text. Give thanks to God for what he has taught and provided. Confess it. That word has two meanings. Confess the ways that we have not lived up to the teaching and providence of God. And confess how you intend to make the teaching your own. Then pray it – ask for God’s blessing on your task. What I’m going to include here is mine. They are not complete and they are not yours. They are prayer starters.
Instruction: Spiritual Blindness effects all mankind, from Moses to the people of Jerusalem
Thansgiving: God has the ability to make us see. Moses saw the land with clear eyes. Jesus came demonstrating before the blind the way of God
Confession: I am often blind, but I desire to see. You have given me the scriptures which enable clear sight.
Prayer: Lord, we thank you for the various ways you have lead and taught us you word and we continue to ask that we might have eyes to see. Heal our blindness and grant us clear eyes.
In this space I will occasionally include a comment on the texts if I think I have something importnat. I might aslo include a link or two.
Today’s OT text is iinteresting for a multitude of reasons. The fact of a 120 year old man having “undimmed eyesight” as the KJV used to say is surely amazing. But it sets up a typicaly hidden and revealed situation. Pure materialists have often attempted to sayt he Mt. Nebo was very high, so clear sight could see all the way described from above. I’m pretty sure this is meant to be taken as a divine correllary of what the Devil would rip off when he was tempting Jesus, taking him high up and showing him all the kingdoms of the world. The vision is supernatural. One saw the promised land, but also saw what was beyond it. The other focused on only the world and its glory. The revelation is God keeping his promises hidden behind what our eyes can see.
Part of that plays out in the text itself. The first 5 books of the OT are traditionally called the books of Moses. He wrote them or at least compiled and edited them. This portion, the death of Moses, unless it was written before prophetically, is obviously added by another hand. Sceptical folks often take this as proof that the entire work is much later and mostly fiction. The eyes of faith and I think experience would tell us that of course Moses’ work woudl get an epilogue.
Blessings on you day/evening. – Mark