Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Do WE Need Daily Devotions?

Many of us who write or preach and study Scripture as a major part of our daily vocation have heard it said: “Oh, you spend so much time in God’s Word, you really don’t need a regular pattern of devotions.” I respond to that assumption as, well, kindly as I can. Certainly, any time in God’s Word profits us with the Law and the Gospel the Holy Spirit plants in our hearts and minds through it. Certainly, even researching or academic study can have a devotional quality when grounded in the Word of Life. WE make a dire assumption, though, when neglecting a regular diet of daily, devotional study in God’s Word. When set on a regular pattern or daily lectionary of readings, we don’t necessarily choose the areas of Scripture that day wil bring us. Whether from PORTALS OF PRAYER, HIGHER THINGS REFLECTIONS, or another set of readings, prayers, and hymns, God’s Law and God’s Gospel come to us whether we like it or not. We don’t choose the topics a day to day devotion puts in front of us in its progress of pericopes. Still, our Lord directs such readings, hymns, and prayers for our conviction, admonition, and peace. We who write or preach and study Holy Scripture as a large of part of daily vocations come our work of rightly handling the Word of truth with clarified, purified minds—clarified and purifried by our Lord through that very Word He gives us to daily read, mark and inwardly digest. A regular progress of devotions brings us Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection for us. WE have the comfort that, no matter what emotions and interactions, our daily vocation puts before us, Jesus’ directs us in His saving forgiveness of our sins. After all, the phone will interrupt our contemplations. News of a family or church member’s death may come at the most intense point of studying a difficult word in the original languages. Kids will call for Mom or Dad at a heartbeat, and our vocation as parents will supersede that of writer or pastor or composer for a time. The Holy Spirit always works through His Word, never apart from it. So, through the readings in daily devotion from Scripture, He brings to us the same Law and Gospel to which He brought us when we first opened His Word during the day. AS the hymn says, “God’s Word is our great heritage…” and He brings us to it each day.