December 3 Devotional (2020)

December 3, 2020
First Week of Advent

Today’s Readings: Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; Hosea 6:1-6; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10


Early in the morning, while it was still dark, 
Jesus got up and slipped out to a solitary place to pray.
(Mark 1:35)

The Invitatory

Lord, open our lips.

And our mouth shall proclaim your praise. [1]

Let Thy merciful kindness, O Lord, be upon us.

As we do put our trust in thee.

O God, make speed to save us.

O Lord, make haste to help us. [2]

🕇 Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: 

as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Opening Prayer

At daybreak 

we again rejoice in the Lord 

because death is subdued 

and sin defeated forever, 

that we may walk in newness of life; 

with you and the Holy Spirit 

he lives and reigns, 

forever and ever. Amen. [3]

The Hymn: “The Divine Image” by William Blake

To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love 

All pray in their distress; 

And to these virtues of delight 

Return their thankfulness. 

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love 

Is God, our Father dear, 

And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love 

Is man, His child and care. 

For Mercy has a human heart, 

Pity a human face. 

And Love, the human form divine, 

And Peace, the human dress. 

Then every man, of every clime, 

That prays in his distress, 

Prays to the human form divine,

 Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace. 

And all must love the human form, 

In heathen, Turk, or Jew: 

Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell 

There God is dwelling too. [4]

The Small Verse

      And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,

      To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

      And the angel being come in, said unto her: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”

(Luke 1:26-28)

“Peace” By Sakthirani G
(source)

Morning Reading: Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13

Righteousness and peace

Lord, you were favorable to your land;

you restored the fortunes of Jacob.

You forgave the iniquity of your people;

you pardoned all their sin.    Selah

Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,

for he will speak peace to his people,

to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.

Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him,

that his glory may dwell in our land.

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;

righteousness and peace will kiss each other.

Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,

and righteousness will look down from the sky.

The Lord will give what is good,

and our land will yield its increase.

Righteousness will go before him,

and will make a path for his steps.

Morning Prayer

O hold Thou up my goings in Thy path, 

   that my footsteps slip not. Amen. [5]

~ William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury


In the evening, in the morning, and at noonday, I will complain and lament,* 
and he will hear my voice. 
(Psalm 55:18)

The Invitatory

Lord, hear our prayer;

And let our cry come to you. [7]

Early: will I seek Thee.

All the days of my life.

According to the multitude of Thy mercies:

Have mercy upon me, O God. [8]

🕇 Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: 

as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

The Small Verse

        And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;

        And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

        And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, 

the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

        And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, 

                “Blessed art thou among women, 

                 and blessed is the fruit of thy womb! 

                     And why am I so honored that 

                     the mother of my Lord would come to me?”

(Luke 1:39-43)

“Coming Home” By Rich Mckinney
(source)

Midday Reading: Hosea 6:1-6

Return to the God of life and love

1“Come, let us return to the LORD;

for he has torn us, that he may heal us;

he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.

2After two days he will revive us;

on the third day he will raise us up,

that we may live before him.

3Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD;

his going out is sure as the dawn;

he will come to us as the showers,

as the spring rains that water the earth.”

4What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?

What shall I do with you, O Judah?

Your love is like a morning cloud,

like the dew that goes early away.

5Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets;

I have slain them by the words of my mouth,

and my judgment goes forth as the light.

6For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,

the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Midday Lesson

He will revive us on the third day.

About the Book of Hosea:

The author of this Old Testament book is a prophet named Hosea. “He was of the tribe of Issachar and his name means ‘salvation’ or ‘deliverance’… Hosea’s prophecy occurred about 750 BC, during the reign of Jeroboam II (786-746) and also after the king’s death.” [9]

The major theme of the Book of Hosea is “God’s love and faithfulness to His people. Hosea’s marital experience is used as a parable in the book, illustrating his faithfulness to his unfaithful wife Gomer. Hosea is also one of the prophets who emphasize the importance of knowing God (6:6) in steadfast love, instead of substituting vain and empty sacrifices and burnt offerings to come into His presence.” [10]

“Hosea was a contemporary of the prophets Amos (in the Northern Kingdom of Israel) and Isaiah and Micah (in the Southern Kingdom of Judah). His prophecy was directed to the Northern Kingdom. The time of Hosea was marked by great material  prosperity but also national anxiety in Israel. The people in their complacency and insecurity turned to the gods of the pagans (primarily Baal and Ashtoreth) for guidance. Hosea saw these pagan religions as the exact opposite of God’s revelation to His people. Hosea saw it as his calling to bring wayward Israel back to its covenant with the Lord.” [11]

On today’s reading:

In today’s reading, Hosea invites Ephraim and Judah to return to what is right. “The cult of Baal was attractive in part because it was a matter of ritual rather than of ethical conduct. The Israelites were also willing to perform rituals for the Lord. Hosea complains at the facile way in which they professed repentance, only to have the sentiment vanish as soon as they left the Temple (6:1–4). In the course of this passage the Israelites say: ‘He will revive us after two days; on the third day he will raise us up.’ …In its [immediate] context… it simply expresses the hope that God would restore the fortunes of the people after a short time.” [12]

“The Church understands this text as a messianic prophecy regarding Christ’s Resurrection: two days refers to the time the body of Jesus lay in the tomb; the third day points to His glorious Resurrection, promising we shall rise with Him. St. Paul [wrote] that Jesus ‘rose again the third day according to the Scriptures’ (1Co 15:4), most likely alluding to this passage from Hosea.” [13]

“Among the Church’s early writers, Tertullian (ca. AD 160-225) is the first to relate this passage to the Resurrection of Jesus, and more precisely to the myrrhbearing women who went at daybreak  (Lk 24:1) to their Master’s tomb to anoint His body.” [14]

“Hosea goes on to enunciate one of the classic formulations of biblical religion in 6:6: ‘It is loyalty that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.’ Sacrifice was not bad in itself, but it was only as good as the attitude it represented. Without the love that expressed itself in ethical conduct, sacrifice was meaningless, no matter what it cost. The inadequacy of sacrifice without the practice of justice is one of the major themes that runs through the prophetic corpus.” [15]
“God does not reject worship as a whole, but He criticizes the way Israel perceiv[ed] it. Instead of a means to enter into a relationship with God and to foster community ties, the worship gradually [became] a goal in itself (Am 5:21ff…). This applies also to [orthodox Christians] who see the liturgy as ‘boring.’” [16]

Midday Prayer

O deliver me from those whose words are softer than butter, when they have war in their heart; and from them whose words are smoother than oil, while they are very swords. Lord, I cast my burden upon Thee, that Thou mayest sustain me, and not suffer me to fail for ever. Amen. [17]
~ William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury


He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed 
and gave thanks before his God…
(Daniel 6:10)

The Invitatory

Light and peace, in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thanks be to God. [18]

All the days of my life:

The Lord was ready to save me. [19]

🕇 Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: 

as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Antiphon

     Behold the Lord shall come, and all His saints with Him;

And there shall be in that day a great light. Alleluia.

     Behold, the Lord shall appear on a white cloud.

And with Him ten thousands of His saints. [20]

“Grace”1918 Photograph by Eric Enstrom
(source)

Evening Reading:  1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Paul thanks God for the Thessalonians

1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace.
2We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers, 3remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father. 4For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Evening Lesson

Thankfulness

About 1 Thessalonians:

“The greeting [of 1 Thessalonians] identifies Paul as the author and also mentions Silvanus (Silas) and Timothy. They were coworkers with Paul in the church in Thessalonica  on his second missionary journey (Acts 17:1-9)… First Thessalonians was written in Corinth in AD 50-51, about six months after the church in Thessalonica was founded. It is probably the first of Paul’s New Testament epistles (letters), and perhaps the first of all the twenty-seven New Testament books to be written.” [21]

“Built on the Aegean Sea, Thessalonica was the most prominent city in the Roman province of Macedonia [about 100 miles southwest of Philippi] and served as a naval and commercial center [as it was situated along a major Roman road]. While many of the early churches were composed primarily of Jews who believed in Christ, the Thessalonian believers were mostly Gentiles, former idol worshippers (2:9). They experienced persecution by fellow citizens, stirred up by the Jews (1:62:14Acts 17:5-9), and had difficulty adhering to Christian values in a pagan setting.” [22]

“The communities at Thessalonica and Philippi were among Paul’s first converts in Greece. This letter indicates that he encountered many troubles there from both Jews and Greeks. The beginning of Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica was characterized by suffering and humiliation. He was “insolently treated at Philippi,” an incident to which he does not allude in his letter there (2:2; see also Acts 16:19–3920:341 Cor 4:129:3–182 Thes 3:7–9). The Thessalonians, too, shared in some of that persecution (2:14–16). Persecution, illness, misunderstanding, and other forms of suffering plague Paul’s ministry . Yet he constantly has hope of being found worthy by God to be entrusted with the preaching of the gospel (2:4).” [23]

“Following the usual letter format, 1 Thessalonians has an address and thanksgiving (1:1–10) and conclusion (5:26–28), which envelop the body of Paul’s message (2:1– 5:25). This message falls into two parts: the indicative (2:1– 3:13) followed by the ethical exhortations (4:1– 5:25).” [24]

On today’s reading: “The Address and Thanksgiving (vv. 1:1– 10) 

“In the first-century Greek world, there was a general pattern by which all letters were begun: name of sender(s), the addressee(s), the greeting itself. As with most of Paul’s epistles, this pattern is followed here but Christianized.” [25]

“The address contains a short greeting (1:1) and an extended thanksgiving (1:2–10).” [26] “Give thanks in NT Greek is eucharisto, from which we get our English word ‘Eucharist.’ A spirit of thanksgiving constantly pervades the prayers of Paul, as here when he specifically remembers the Christians in Thessalonica.” [27]

“A distinctive feature of Paul’s letters is that the thanksgiving focuses on what God has done for Paul’s addressees. In other correspondence of the time, the thanksgiving normally centers on the health and benefits enjoyed by the sender and a wish for the prosperity of the recipient. Paul’s co-authors are Silvanus and Timothy. Following his custom, Paul writes not only in his own name but as a member of a team of Christian missionaries. Unlike many others of his letters that begin with several [persons] named, here the first person plural is maintained throughout the letter, Paul’s ‘I’ breaking through only at 2:18 and 5:27. In what we believe is the first extant letter from Paul, there is a greeting that will become Paul’s trademark: ‘To the church of _____, grace and peace to you in (or from) God the Father and the Lord Jesus.’ This greeting is seen in its simplest form here; in later letters Paul will elaborate on this basic structure.” [28]

“A function of the thanksgiving in the address is often to anticipate the themes of a letter. In the case of 1 Thessalonians, thanksgiving itself is a major theme. Paul is grateful for the reception of the word of God by the Thessalonians and for the impact that their faith has had on other communities. Paul claims that he himself does not even have to testify to the fruitfulness of the Thessalonian mission —word of it has spread throughout the Greek world (Macedonia and Achaia include the whole of Greece, 1:8). Besides the initial thanksgiving of 1:2–10 that properly belongs to the address, two other thanksgivings appear in 2:13–163:9–13. In all three places, Paul speaks of the relationship between faith and charity and of the expectation of the Parousia, or second coming, of Jesus Christ. These are the major themes of 1 Thessalonians.” [29]

In verses 2-3, Paul wrote, “We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers, 3remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father.” The concepts of “[r]emembering and without ceasing describe effective prayer (see 2:135:16-18). Faith, hope, and love are three Christian virtues Paul links together in other letters (1Co 13:13Col 1:45). These virtues are connected to actions: faith works, love labors, hope produces patience, showing that salvation goes beyond attitudes to action.” [30]

“Followers (lit. ‘imitators’) of Christ also imitate spiritual leaders – pastors, bishops, in this case the apostles – even in their suffering. ‘Let [others] be instructed by you, at least by your deeds. With their wrath you be mild, with their boastful speech you be humble-minded, with their abuse you offer prayers, with their deceit you be firm in faith, with their cruelty you be gentle, not eager to imitate them.’ [Saint Ignatius of Antioch (108/140 AD)]. The joy of the Holy Spirit is not an easy emotional high, but comes with the struggle proper to spiritual life, including persevering through affliction. The one who suffers is the one who is comforted.” [31]
Today’s reading ends with the words, “and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” “The early Christians expected Christ to return in their lifetime. This hope helped purge their lives of sin.” [32] As we too have this hope, let it likewise purge our own lives of sin.

Paul’s First Missionary Journey and
His Journey to Rome [35]
Paul’s Second and Third Missionary Journeys [36]

Evening Prayer

Teach me, O my Lord Jesus [and] instruct me, that I may learn from Thee what I ought to teach [others] concerning Thee. Amen. [33]

~ William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury

The Concluding Prayer of the Church

A Compline Prayer:

Have mercy upon me, O God, have mercy upon me, for my soul trusteth in Thee, and in the shadow of Thy wings will I trust, till these and all other my afflictions be overpast. O send out Thy mercy and truth upon me, for Jesus Christ His sake. Amen. [34]

~ William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury

Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers


Citations:

[1] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office: Daily Morning Prayer: Rite Two. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 80). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[2] Episcopal Church. (1911). Psalter. In Breviary offices from Lauds to Compline inclusive: Translated from the Sarum Book and Supplemented from Gallican and Monastic Uses (Ebook ed., Printed For The Society Of S. Margaret, Boston, U.S., pp. 80). New York, NY: J. Pott &.

[3] Stratman, P. (2001). Morning Prayers. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 15). Rossway.

[4] Tickle, P. (2006). Advent Compline. In The divine hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 421). New York, NY: Image Books.

[5] LAUD, W. (1855). Thursday: In the Morn. In The Private Devotions of Dr. William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr (Ebook ed., p. 59). London and Oxford: John Henry & Jas. Parker.

[6] Kiefer, J. (n.d.). Francis Xavier, Missionary. Retrieved November 25, 2020, from http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bio/71.html

[7] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office: Daily Noonday Prayer: Rite Two. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 107). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[8] Episcopal Church. (1911). Psalter. In Breviary offices from Lauds to Compline inclusive: Translated from the Sarum Book and Supplemented from Gallican and Monastic Uses (Ebook ed., Printed For The Society Of S. Margaret, Boston, U.S., pp. 85). New York, NY: J. Pott &.

[9] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Hosea. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1013). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[10] Ibid. 9

[11] Ibid. 9

[12] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). Hosea. In The Catholic study Bible: The New American Bible, revised edition, translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources (Third ed., p. 751). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[13] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Hosea. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1027). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[14] Ibid. 13

[15] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). Hosea. In The Catholic study Bible: The New American Bible, revised edition, translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources (Third ed., p. 751). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[16] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Hosea. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1027). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[17] LAUD, W. (1855). Thursday: Against Flatterers. In The Private Devotions of Dr. William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr (Ebook ed., p. 62). London and Oxford: John Henry & Jas. Parker.

[18] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office: Daily Evening Prayer: Rite Two. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 109). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[19] Episcopal Church. (1911). Psalter. In Breviary offices from Lauds to Compline inclusive: Translated from the Sarum Book and Supplemented from Gallican and Monastic Uses (Ebook ed., Printed For The Society Of S. Margaret, Boston, U.S., pp. 86). New York, NY: J. Pott &.

[20] Episcopal Church. (1911). Proper of Seasons: Advent. In Breviary offices from Lauds to Compline inclusive: Translated from the Sarum Book and Supplemented from Gallican and Monastic Uses (Ebook ed., Printed For The Society Of S. Margaret, Boston, U.S., pp. 104). New York, NY: J. Pott &.

[21] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 1 Thessalonians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1654). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[22] Ibid. 21

[23] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). 1 Thessalonians. In The Catholic study Bible: The New American Bible, revised edition, translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources (Third ed., p. 1030). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[24] Ibid. 23

[25] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 1 Thessalonians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1658). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[26] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). 1 Thessalonians. In The Catholic study Bible: The New American Bible, revised edition, translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources (Third ed., p. 1030-1031). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[27] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 1 Thessalonians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1658). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[28] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). 1 Thessalonians. In The Catholic study Bible: The New American Bible, revised edition, translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources (Third ed., p. 1030-1031). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[29] Ibid. 28, P. 1031

[30] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 1 Thessalonians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1658). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[31] Ibid. 30

[32] Ibid. 30

[33] LAUD, W. (1855). Thursday. In The Private Devotions of Dr. William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr (Ebook ed., p. 65). London and Oxford: John Henry & Jas. Parker.[34] LAUD, W. (1855). Thursday Compline. In The Private Devotions of Dr. William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr (Ebook ed., p. 66). London and Oxford: John Henry & Jas. Parker.

[35] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology. (2008). Paul’s First Missionary Journey and His Journey to Rome [Map]. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1876). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.[36] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology. (2008). Paul’s Second and Third Missionary Journeys [Map]. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1877). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

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