Day by day (day by day)
Oh Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see Thee more clearly
Love Thee more dearly
Follow Thee more nearly
Day by day…
(lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak)
PRAYER: (the prayer Richard of Chichester, 1197-1253)
“Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ
For all the benefits Thou hast given me,
For all the pains and insults Thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,
May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly.”
SCRIPTURES: (from the Lectionary)
1 Peter 2:19-25
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
PRAYER FOCUS: The Pathway of Faith
Godspell was a popular Broadway musical (and movie) in the 1970s, re-released more recently in 2011. The theme song, Day by Day, which hit #13 on the Billboard Top Singles chart in 1972, echoes a 13th century Anglican prayer.
Richard of Chichester was an English nobleman who devoted his life to studying, teaching and church work. He attended Oxford University, taught there, and in 1235 was elected as its Chancellor. He later entered the priesthood, and in 1244 was elected as the Bishop of Chichester, a large and beautiful cathedral in Sussex. He is well-remembered for writing a prayer that today we have substituted for the Lectionary.
Specifically, the Prayer of Saint Richard of Chichester contains a triplet that we’d like to zoom in on:
See Thee More Clearly. If we seek our Father-God, and our hearts are pure, we will find Him.
• 1 Chronicles 16:11. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek His face always.
• Matthew 5:8. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
• Revelation 22:4. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.
Love Thee more dearly. This is an experiential love, an active love; it’s a two-way expression.
• Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (the Shema). Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
• Psalm 59:16. I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
• John 14:23. Jesus replied, “All who love me will follow my teachings; my Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.”
Follow Thee more nearly. We, like sheep, are so prone to wander away from our Lord; but if we remain close we will live abundantly.
• Psalm 16:11. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
• Jeremiah 6:16. This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”
• John 8:12. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Have you ever watched a child and his or her father walking through the snow? It’s almost always entertaining, and often illuminating. The child will invariably make best efforts to step into Dad’s footsteps. Following Dad guarantees the child a known path and the firmest possible footing. Taking steps outside of Dad’s will usually result in a stumble and a face-plant, especially if the snow is deep.
The smaller the child, the shorter their stride; the more allowance Dad will have to make for the beloved one to keep up. As a child grows he or she requires less allowance for the length of their stride. A full grown child can even walk side-by-side with the father. Babies, of course, must be carried. Father remains always, and eternally, Father.
The pathway of faith is our walk, our journey, with the Living God. We begin as babies, and as we grow, we learn to walk in His footsteps. Sometimes He makes us pause and lie down in green meadows, beside still waters, to rest in Him and in His beauty. He restores our souls. Sometimes the path is hard and steep, literally through valleys with the shadow of death. But if we are true to the path of righteousness, and stay in His footsteps, the cup of our lives will overflow with impossibly amazing blessings.
The pathway of faith is illumined by the Word of God. We take every step in faith, and every breath in prayer.
Remember, Christian, we are not in the land of the living, on a journey to the land of the dead; we are in the land of the dead, going to the land of the living.
It’s Monday Morning. May God’s Word light your path through this week. May you see Him more clearly, love Him more dearly, follow Him more nearly. And may His goodness and mercy follow you every step of the way. For we will indeed dwell in His house at the journey’s end.