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Under the Lord’s Watch

May 9, 2020

“The Lord your God has blessed you in all your undertakings.” Deuteronomy 2:7

These Dispatches From a Suburban Parson During a Pandemic owe a great debt to the Daily Texts, which have been selected annually by the Moravian Church since 1731. My devotional life has been centered in these texts for more than a decade. Today’s Bible passage is the Old Testament verse from the Daily Texts.

Today, Day 55, is the day the church commemorates Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, renewer of the church, hymnwriter, and bearer of a super cool name. Count Zinzendorf was raised primarily by his Pietistic Lutheran grandmother. Her influence was long-lasting.

In 1722, Zinzendorf granted permission for a group of Moravian refugees to live on his land. The settlement became known as Herrnhut, meaning “under the watch of the Lord.” As a community of believers, they shared morning and evening devotions, intentionally placing themselves in the Lord’s watchful care.

Beginning in 1728, Zinzendorf began selecting “watchwords,” verses meant to shape conversation among believers throughout the day. Within a few years, he compiled a list of 365 watchwords, one passage for each day of the year. After his death, the community continued the tradition. Each year, a passage from the Old Testament is selected from a pool of about 2,000 verses. It is then prayerfully paired with a passage from the New Testament. These texts are now read and prayed around the world.

The Daily Texts came into my life through marriage. Erika’s family has a long history with Mount Carmel Ministries (Alexandria, MN). Mount Carmel has been producing its own edition of the Daily Texts for more than two decades. Shortly after we married, I was asked to be a prayer writer for this annual edition. Crafting these prayers (usually for September) that are prayed by many people, most of whom I’ll never meet, has been a great blessing in my life of faith.

Today, in memory of Count Zinzendorf, remember that you live under the Lord’s watchful care. As we sing in one of the hymns he wrote:

Jesus, still lead on, / Till our rest be won; / Heav’nly leader, still direct us, / Still support, console, protect us, / Till we safely stand / In our Father’s Land. (Lutheran Book of Worship 341).

Be well, friends. You are loved.

Watchful God, you see us in all our brokenness, in every sin, and still you love us. Thank you for sending Jesus to make your home with us. Keep us safe this day. Help us to follow you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image. Kids in the Word, by me, totally staged.

From → COVID-19

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