Daniel 6:1–15 (Listen)
Daniel and the Lions’ Den
6:1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; 2 and over them three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss. 3 Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 4 Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. 5 Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”
6 Then these high officials and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! 7 All the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. 8 Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 9 Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction.
10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. 11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. 12 Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 13 Then they answered and said before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”
14 Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him. 15 Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”
2 John (Listen)
1:1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2 because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:
3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.
Walking in Truth and Love
4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. 5 And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
13 The children of your elect sister greet you.
Luke 5:12–26 (Listen)
Jesus Cleanses a Leper
12 While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 13 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. 14 And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 15 But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. 16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
Jesus Heals a Paralytic
17 On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. 18 And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, 19 but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. 20 And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 25 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. 26 And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”
Psalm 96 (Listen)
Worship in the Splendor of Holiness
96:1 Oh sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth!
2 Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
4 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!
8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts!
9 Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth!
10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.”
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12 let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13 before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness.
Psalm 148 (Listen)
Praise the Name of the Lord
148:1 Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!
3 Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
4 Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the LORD!
For he commanded and they were created.
6 And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
7 Praise the LORD from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,
8 fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!
9 Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Beasts and all livestock,
creeping things and flying birds!
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and maidens together,
old men and children!
13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his saints,
for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the LORD!
Psalm 49 (Listen)
Why Should I Fear in Times of Trouble?
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.
49:1 Hear this, all peoples!
Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
2 both low and high,
rich and poor together!
3 My mouth shall speak wisdom;
the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
4 I will incline my ear to a proverb;
I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre.
5 Why should I fear in times of trouble,
when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me,
6 those who trust in their wealth
and boast of the abundance of their riches?
7 Truly no man can ransom another,
or give to God the price of his life,
8 for the ransom of their life is costly
and can never suffice,
9 that he should live on forever
and never see the pit.
10 For he sees that even the wise die;
the fool and the stupid alike must perish
and leave their wealth to others.
11 Their graves are their homes forever,
their dwelling places to all generations,
though they called lands by their own names.
12 Man in his pomp will not remain;
he is like the beasts that perish.
13 This is the path of those who have foolish confidence;
yet after them people approve of their boasts. Selah
14 Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;
death shall be their shepherd,
and the upright shall rule over them in the morning.
Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell.
15 But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
for he will receive me. Selah
16 Be not afraid when a man becomes rich,
when the glory of his house increases.
17 For when he dies he will carry nothing away;
his glory will not go down after him.
18 For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed
—and though you get praise when you do well for yourself—
19 his soul will go to the generation of his fathers,
who will never again see light.
20 Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.
Psalm 138 (Listen)
Give Thanks to the Lord
138:1 I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
2 I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.
3 On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased.
4 All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O LORD,
for they have heard the words of your mouth,
5 and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD,
for great is the glory of the LORD.
6 For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly,
but the haughty he knows from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1109 (April 21)
About the Commemoration
Anselm was born in 1033 of noble parents near Aosta in the region of Piedmont in what is now northwestern Italy and what was then the frontier of Lombardy and Burgundy. After the death of his mother and quarreling with his father, Anselm left home at the age of twenty-three for travel in Burgundy and France, furthering his education. He was attracted to the Benedictine monastery of Bee in Normandy, which had been founded in 1040. His father died and left him all his property, and Anselm debated whether he should return to Italy or become a monk. He entered Bee as a novice in 1060, attracted by the intellectual brilliance of the prior Lanfranc, a fellow Italian. (There were a number of Italian scholars who came to Normandy in the late tenth and eleventh centuries.) After three years, when Lanfranc left to become prior of a new monastery, Anselm was elected his successor as prior of Bec. In 1078 when the founding abbot of Bec, Herluin, died, Anselm was unanimously elected abbot of the monastery. His skill as a teacher and his scholarly work made Bee an even more influential school of philosophical and theological studies than it had been under Lanfranc, and it became the foremost intellectual center of Europe.
Lanfranc had become Archbishop of Canterbury, and in 1078 Anselm visited him, making a favorable impression in England. Lanfranc died in 1089 and after a delay while King William Rufus kept the see vacant to secure as much of the revenues of Canterbury as possible, Anselm was chosen as Lanfranc’s successor. After extended pressure from all sides to accept the appointment, Anselm was enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury September 25,1093, and was consecrated archbishop December 4.
The gentle and scholarly monk now began a protracted and intense struggle with the king over ultimate authority. William Rufus refused to recognize Pope Urban IV, and the bishops, fearing the king, sided with him against Anselm at the Council of Rockingham in March 1095. The intervention of the secular princes prevented his immediate removal, but the struggle continued, and Anselm, realizing that the situation was hopeless, on October 15, 1097, left England for Rome without the king’s permission, and the king took possession of the see of Canterbury.
The pope received Anselm graciously, refused to accept his resignation, and gave him a place of honor at the Council of Bari in 1098, which sought reunion with the Greek Church. Anselm there defended the teaching that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son and also had the council’s excommunication of the English king postponed.
Anselm stayed for a time with the archbishop of Lyons and there learned of the death of William Rufus, August 2, 1100. The king’s successor, Henry I, immediately recalled .Anselm to England, but the struggle over authority was renewed when Anselm in obedience to a decree of the Council of Bari refused the king’s insistence on an oath of allegiance to the crown. When no solution seemed possible, the king asked Anselm to go to Rome. At length, in 1106, a compromise was effected, and Anselm returned to his see. The difficulties were not yet over, for York claimed the primacy in England that had always belonged to Canterbury.
Anselm was by this time in poor health. His biographer, Eadmer, tells of his approaching death:
Palm Sunday dawned, and we were sitting beside him as usual. One of us therefore said to him: “My lord, and father, we cannot help knowing that you are going to leave the world to be at the Easter court of your Lord.” He replied: “And indeed if his will is set on this, I shall gladly obey his will. However, if he would prefer me to remain among you, at least until I can settle a question about the origin of the soul, which I am turning over in my mind, I should welcome this with gratitude, for I do not know whether anyone will solve it when I am dead.”
Anselm died on Wednesday in Holy Week, April 21, 1109.
Before Anselm, the study of theology consisted of collecting authoritative texts, lining up authorities to settle disputed questions. Anselm strove to demonstrate the truth of faith by going beyond faith to an insight into it. The aim of his teaching was to make his hearers and readers think, to stretch their minds. He devised an ingenious and durable argument for the existence of God “than whom nothing greater can be conceived,” a provocative explanation of the atonement (the “satisfaction theory,” as Gustav Aulén calls it), and emphasized the role of the maternal in Christianity by encouraging devotion to Mary, although he was opposed to the doctrine of her immaculate conception (the teaching that Mary was conceived without sin), and in a prayer addressed Jesus, “Are you not a mother too?… Indeed you are, and the mother of all mothers, who tasted death in your longing to bring forth children to life.” Above all he understood the pursuit of theology as prayer.
Anselm is on the Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, and Methodist calendars.
Excerpts from New Book of Festivals & Commemorations: A Proposed Common Calendar of Saints by Philip H. Pfatteicher, copyright, 2008 by Fortress Press, an imprint of Augsburg Fortress.
See also: Anselm of Canterbury
From Proslogion by Anselm
…I have written the little work that follows…in the role of one who strives to raise his mind to the contemplation of God and who seeks to understand what he believes.
I acknowledge, Lord, and I give thanks that you have created your image in me, so that I may remember you, think of you, love you. But this image is so obliterated and worn away by wickedness, it is so obscured by the smoke of sins, that it cannot do what it was created to do, unless you renew and reform it. I am not attempting, O Lord, to penetrate your loftiness, for I cannot begin to match my understanding with it, but I desire in some measure to understand your truth, which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand in order to believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this too I believe, that “unless I believe, I shall not understand” (Isa. 7:9).
St. Anselm’s Proslogion (Oxford: Clarendon, 1965), Preface, I, trans. PHP.
Almighty God, you raised up your servant Anselm to study and teach the sublime truths you have revealed: Let your gift of faith come to the aid of our understanding, and open our hearts to your truth; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
RS, trans. PHP
Readings: Psalm 139:1-9 or 37:3-6, 32-33; Romans 5:1-11; Matthew 11:25-30.
Hymn of the Day: “O Love, how deep, how broad, how high” (H82 448, 449; LBW 88, LSB 544, ELW 322)
Prayers: For a sense of the majesty of God; For forgiveness for those who wrong us; For a spirit of prayer and devotion; For those who inquire into the mysteries of God and God’s relation to the world; For those who seek to be certain of the existence of God.
This daily prayer and Bible reading guide, Devoted to Prayer (based on Acts 2:42), was conceived and prepared by the Rev. Andrew S. Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). After a challenging year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been provided with a unique opportunity to revitalize the ancient practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading in our homes. While the Reading the Word of God three-year lectionary provided a much-needed and refreshing calendar for our congregations to engage in Scripture reading, this calendar includes a missing component of daily devotion: prayer. This guide is to provide the average layperson and pastor with the simple tools for sorting through the busyness of their lives and reclaiming an act of daily discipleship with their Lord. The daily readings follow the Lutheran Book of Worship two-year daily lectionary, which reflect the church calendar closely. The commemorations are adapted from Philip H. Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, a proposed common calendar of the saints that builds from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but includes saints from many of those churches in ecumenical conversation with the NALC. The introductory portion is adapted from Christ Church (Plano)’s Pray Daily. Our hope is that this calendar and guide will provide new life for congregations learning and re-learning to pray in the midst of a difficult and changing world.