Devotion 67 – Saturday of Epiphany 1

Opening Prayer

Lord, teach me the way of Your will, and I will keep it to the end. Amen.

Text: Ecclesiastes 11:9-10; 12:1-2

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity. … Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them”: while the sun and the light, the moon and the stars, are not darkened, and the clouds do not return after the rain.

Devotion

Young, fresh trees are vigorous, young healthy-minded people are happy. It is a sickness and abnormal, when young people are depressed, when all looks dark and they feel life is bitter. Can a child, a healthy and normal child, easily go around worrying? Isn’t it the glorious lot and privilege of a child to be happy? Poor or rich alike are cheerful and happy. So also older children, young people, as long as they retain their childlike attitude. We do not wish that our young people should be childish, nor irresponsible, reckless about sorrow and the seriousness of life. But we wish that, with the growth of understanding and responsibility which they already have to bear as young people, they could retain their childlike attitude, their clear view and their fresh spirit. For this to happen, true fear of God and faithfulness must prevail in their soul from childhood on. Otherwise all kinds of wickedness takes control of them, and then farewell to their childlike resilience of spirit and brightness of eye! When the young walk in God’s sight and daily renew their Baptismal covenant, not only by repeating the words of renunciation and the Articles of the Creed, but with heartfelt prayer and true faith; when they flee youthful lusts, but train themselves in self-denial and faithfulness and seek mercy, purity, and sincere faith; when the sunshine of Jesus’ name shines over their path, and the Word is their guiding Star so that they always consult it as to what they should do and how they should act – see, then the cheerful spirit of childhood can be retained throughout youth, even into adulthood, and can give happiness even in difficult and dark days – then the happy attitude of childhood can be preserved throughout youth, be confirmed in adulthood, and give happiness in difficult and dark days of old age. This is the writer’s meaning in our Scripture text. But how difficult this is, especially in our time! Children become adults before their time, and young people therefore become unruly children. Sorrow and wickedness fill their hearts. Their mind is full of vanity, bitterness, and arrogant dreams, and they are far from remembering their Creator. What then shall they become as adults! O Lord, have mercy on us. Enlighten us, both old and young, with Your Holy Spirit and give us true fear of God in our heart.

Closing Prayer

“Let every soul rejoice in Jesus’ true faith. Let all homes receive blessing and peace. Drive out the wicked one who strives against Your work, that grace may prevail forever.” Amen.

Hymn

A member of my Lord,
Let me be ever living,
Attentive to His Word,
My life to Him e’er giving;
In faith now strengthen me
With courage to say “Nay”
When this world’s tempting me
From Your true Word to stray.

My heart, Lord God of all,
Confirm in love and favor
To love You above all,
And as myself my neighbor!
Grant that I patient be
When troubles threaten me;
And when I have success,
Grant me humility!

Kingo: O hjertekjære Gud L 202:3-4 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: O Gott, du frommer Gott (ELH 470); alternate hymn: Send, O Lord, Thy Holy Spirit ELH 507

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