December 7 Devotional (2020)

December 7, 2020
Second Week of Advent

Today’s Readings: Psalm 27; Isaiah 26:7-15; Acts 2:37-42

“Baptism of Christ”
is a painting by Italian Renaissance painter Cima da Conegliano
dating from 1492. It is housed in the church of San Giovanni in Bragora in Venice.
(source)

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. Alleluia!

Opening Prayer

Invocation of the Holy Spirit: 

Most powerful Holy Spirit,

     come down

         upon us and subdue us. 

From heaven,

     where the ordinary

         is made glorious,

     and glory seems but ordinary, 

bathe us

     with the brilliance

     of Your light like dew. [3]

The Hymn: “ O come, O come, Immanuel”

(1982 Hymnal #56)

1 O come, O come, Immanuel,

and ransom captive Israel

that mourns in lonely exile here

until the Son of God appear.

Refrain

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel

shall come to you, O Israel.

2 O come, O Wisdom from on high,

who ordered all things mightily;

to us the path of knowledge show

and teach us in its ways to go.

Refrain

3 O come, O come, great Lord of might,

who to your tribes on Sinai’s height

in ancient times did give the law

in cloud and majesty and awe.

Refrain

4 O come, O Branch of Jesse’s stem,

unto your own and rescue them!

From depths of hell your people save,

and give them victory o’er the grave.

Refrain

5 O come, O Key of David, come

and open wide our heavenly home.

Make safe for us the heavenward road

and bar the way to death’s abode.

Refrain

6 O come, O Bright and Morning Star,

and bring us comfort from afar!

Dispel the shadows of the night

and turn our darkness into light.

Refrain

7 O come, O King of nations, bind

in one the hearts of all mankind.

Bid all our sad divisions ceaseand be yourself our King of Peace.

Refrain [4]

Antiphon

The Saviour of the world shall arise as the sun:

And come down into the Virgin’s womb, as the showers upon the grass. 

Alleluia! 

[5]

“Winding Path”By Craig Palmer
(Source)

Morning Reading: Psalm 27

God’s level path

 1  The Lord is my light and my salvation;

whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life;

of whom shall I be afraid?

 2  When evildoers assail me

to eat up my flesh,

my adversaries and foes,

it is they who stumble and fall.

 3  Though an army encamp against me,

my heart shall not fear;

though war arise against me,

yet I will be confident.

 4  One thing have I asked of the Lord,

that will I seek after:

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

all the days of my life,

to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord

and to inquire in his temple.

 5  For he will hide me in his shelter

in the day of trouble;

he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;

he will lift me high upon a rock.

 6  And now my head shall be lifted up

above my enemies all around me,

and I will offer in his tent

sacrifices with shouts of joy;

I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

 7  Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;

be gracious to me and answer me!

 8  You have said, “Seek my face.”

My heart says to you,

“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

 9  Hide not your face from me.

Turn not your servant away in anger,

O you who have been my help.

Cast me not off; forsake me not,

O God of my salvation!

 10  For my father and my mother have forsaken me,

but the Lord will take me in.

 11  Teach me your way, O Lord,

and lead me on a level path

because of my enemies.

 12  Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;

for false witnesses have risen against me,

and they breathe out violence.

 13  I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord

in the land of the living!

 14  Wait for the Lord;

be strong, and let your heart take courage;

wait for the Lord!

Morning Lesson

A prophecy of baptism

About the Book of Psalms:

“The book of Psalms, also known as the Psalter, is really a collection of books each of which ends with a short doxology or hymn of praise.” [6]

“Among the authors of the Psalms are David, the temple musicians, and Moses.” [7] Written by Moses, Psalm 90 is the oldest of the Psalms. The psalms were written “generally from 1000 BC, the time of David, to several centuries thereafter.” [8]

The Psalms are “the songs of God’s people. Each psalm has its own theme… The Psalms are of many types, including: (a) prophecies of the coming Messiah, (b) prayers for the king, (c) personal lamentations, (d) songs of praise, and (e) hymns for special feasts.” [9]

“The Psalms have become for the Church, as for ancient Israel, a book of prayer and praise. All find their fulfillment in Christ, the Son of God. Not only do the Psalms predict specific events in Christ’s life, but in them He Himself intercedes for and with His people before the Father. The Psalms can also be seen as a dialogue between the Church, the body of Christ, and Christ her Head.” [10] 

On today’s reading:

Psalm 27 “is a prophecy concerning baptism, which is a declaration of war (v. 3) against the devil and his angels. In this psalm, the fallen angels are called the wicked (v. 2), my enemies  (vv. 2, 6, 11), an army (v. 3), and unjust witnesses (v. 12). And in this war, St. Paul describes them as ‘principalities,’ ‘powers,’ ‘the rulers of the darkness of this age,’ ‘spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places’ (Eph 6:12).” [11]

“Therefore, in baptism the Lord Jesus Christ becomes my light, my Savior, and my defender in relation to this war (v. 1). And with the Lord’s help, these enemies are overcome in battle (weakened and fell, b. 2). So as a result, the fruit borne in the Church is freedom from the fear of death (my heart shall not be afraid, v. 3; see also Heb 2:1415); a strong relationship with the Lord  (vv. 4-12); and an earnest expectation for the land of the living (vv. 13, 14), which is ‘the resurrection from the dead and the life of the world to come’ [Nicene Creed].” [12]

Morning Prayer

Collect for the Second Week of Advent:

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. [13]


A Prayer inspired by Saint Ambrose of Milan, who the Church remembers on December 7th

O God, who didst give to thy servant Ambrose grace eloquently to Declare thy righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of thy Name: Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellency in preaching, and fidelity in ministering thy Word, that thy people may be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. [14]



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. [15]

Early: will I seek Thee.

All the days of my life.

According to the multitude of Thy mercies:

Have mercy upon me, O God. [16]

🕇 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. Alleluia!

Antiphon

Behold, the Ruler of the earth shall come:

And He shall take away the yoke of our captivity.

Alleluia! 

[17]

“Walking in Father’s Footsteps”By Shiralee Siebert
(source

Midday Reading: Isaiah 26:7-15

The way of the righteous is level

7The path of the righteous is level;

you make level the way of the righteous.

8In the path of your judgments,

O LORD, we wait for you;

your name and remembrance

are the desire of our soul.

9My soul yearns for you in the night;

my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.

For when your judgments are in the earth,

the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

10If favor is shown to the wicked,

he does not learn righteousness;

in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly

and does not see the majesty of the LORD.

11O LORD, your hand is lifted up,

but they do not see it.

Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed.

Let the fire for your adversaries consume them.

12O LORD, you will ordain peace for us,

for you have indeed done for us all our works.

13O LORD our God,

other lords besides you have ruled over us,

but your name alone we bring to remembrance.

14They are dead, they will not live;

they are shades, they will not arise;

to that end you have visited them with destruction

and wiped out all remembrance of them.

15But you have increased the nation, O LORD,

you have increased the nation; you are glorified;

you have enlarged all the borders of the land.

Midday Lesson

Prepared to follow Christ

About the Book of Isaiah:

“According to both Jewish and Christian tradition, Isaiah the son of Amoz is the author of this book. Isaiah which means ‘the salvation of God,’ was from the tribe of Judah and was the nephew of King Amaziah (796-767 BC) of Judah.” [18]

The time period of this book “is mentioned as ‘ in the days of Uzziah, Jotha, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.’ This places the book about 745-680 BC, from approximately 25 years before the Assyrian captivity of the Northern Kingdom to about 40 years after it.” [19]

The major theme of the Book of Isaiah is “The Holy One of Israel (1:4) who punishes His unrepentant people but will later redeem them. The prophet’s vision of the glory of God (1:6ff) is one of infinite transcendence. Man’s role is one of faith in response to God’s holiness and vision for the world. Isaiah revealed the Messiah in amazing detail – as if he were telling history instead of the future. He even describ[ed] the Theotokos [Mary, mother of our Lord] (ch. 7) and how she [was] to conceive and bear God the Son incarnate with her virginity intact. Isaiah describes the suffering of Christ (ch. 53) together with His Resurrection from the dead, proclaiming His kingdom as if it had already happened.” [20]


Historical setting:

“Assyria was growing in power under Tiglath-Pileser, who turned to the west after his conquests to the east. [Isaiah] saw the kingdom of Israel [the Northern Kingdom] fall to Assyria’s might along with other nations along the Mediterranean coast. Seeing his people taken captive, Isaiah turned to warn the Southern Kingdom of Judah to trust in God alone.” [21]

On today’s reading:

“The godly are being prepared to follow Christ when He comes. Compare to Christ’s parable of the virgins (see Mt 25:1-13).” [22]

“At times the ‘path’ of the righteous doesn’t seem smooth, and it isn’t easy to do God’s will, but we are never alone when we face tough times. God is there to help us, comfort us, and to lead us. God does this by giving us a purpose (keeping our mind centered on Him, Isa 26:3)… Don’t despair; stay on God’s path.” [23]

“Even wicked people receive God’s benefits, but that doesn’t teach them to do what is right. Sometimes God’s judgement teaches us more than God’s good gifts. If you have been enriched by God’s goodness and grace, respond to Him with your grateful devotion.” [24]

Midday Prayer

(“Focusing on different aspects of faith each day of the week helps to keep our daily prayer life alive. In the Anglican tradition, certain commemorations are set aside for each day of the week. You may incorporate these commemorations into Morning or Evening Prayer or simply use them on their own.” [25])

Monday: The Holy Spirit 

Almighty and most merciful God, grant that by the indwelling of your Holy Spirit we may be enlightened and strengthened for your service; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

We pray for [name] the leader of our nation for the peace of the world, and for industry and commerce. [26]


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. [27]

All the days of my life:

The Lord was ready to save me. [28]

🕇 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. Alleluia!

Antiphon

The mountains and the hills shall break forth before God into singing:

And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands, for the Lord the Ruler shall come unto His everlasting kingdom.

Alleluia! Alleluia! 

[29]

“Baptism” 
by Ivey Hayes
(Source)

Evening Reading: Acts 2:37-42

Baptism in the name of Jesus

37Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.42And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Evening Lesson

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.

In Acts chapter 2, just prior to today’s reading, Peter delivered a message to the crowd “that the Jewish authorities disowned Jesus and had him put to death by the Romans, but God raised him to life: ‘of this we are all witnesses’ (2:32). So it is clear that ‘God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified’ (2:36). This was the constant theme of the preaching of the first disciples. They witness to the resurrection of Jesus by their speech, which shows they have received the Spirit of prophecy. That in turn is the proof that Jesus is now in glory at the right hand of God, from where he has sent the Spirit.” [30] 

Almost half of Peter’s message is quotes from the Old Testament. Today’s reading from Acts begins, “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart.” Peter’s listeners had been taught and prepared in the Old Testament. The evidence that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies overwhelmed the crowd.

Peter’s listeners, having been “cut to the heart,” then ask, “Brothers, what should we do?” (2:37). “They realize that, now that Jesus is king, the world has entered a new age. People can no longer continue to live and behave as they have done. Peter tells them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. In that way they will receive the forgiveness of their sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. God’s promise is for them and their children and for ‘all those far off,’ that is the Jews of the Diaspora, or possibly for the Gentiles since some Old Testament texts refer to Gentiles also as ‘those far off,’ (2:39).” [31] 

“Peter’s answer defines Christian life within the Church. We must (1) repent, (2) be baptized, and (3) receive the Holy Spirit.” [32] “Peter’s hearers accept what he has said and are baptized, with the result that about three thousand are added to the community. Growth in numbers is a constant theme in the early part of Acts.” [33] 
The converts, we are told, then “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” These central elements of worship, present from the beginning, remain present in the Church today: “apostolic doctrine being taught in the fellowship of a common assembly, the breaking of the Eucharist bread, and specific liturgical prayers. Prayers is literally ‘the prayers’ in Greek, referring to specific liturgical prayers. The Jews had practiced liturgical prayer for centuries, the preeminent prayers being the Psalms. Because the Psalms point so clearly to Christ, Christians immediately incorporated them into NT [New Testament] worship.” [34] Numerous events of the New Testament Church took place during Hourly Prayers (which we refer to, interchangeably, as the “Liturgy of the Hours,” “Praying the Hours,” the “Divine Office,” or the “Daily Office”). The hourly prayers (found in our Book of Common Prayer and the Anglican Breviary) are incorporated into our daily Bible devotionals.

Other Scriptures for Reflection

Acts 22:16

And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’

1 Peter 3:21

Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you

Mark 16:16

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved

John 3:5

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Acts 10:2-3 (occurred at 9th Hour Prayer, “Liturgy of the Hours”)

He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”

Acts 16:25 (occurred at Midnight Prayers, “Liturgy of the Hours”)

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

Psalm 119:164 (reference to Hourly Prayers, “Liturgy of the Hours”)

Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.

Vespers Prayer

A Litany for the Holy Spirit:

Let us pray to God the Holy Spirit, saying, 

      Come, Holy Spirit, come.

Come, Holy Spirit, creator, and renew the face of the earth.

      Come, Holy Spirit, come.

Come, Holy Spirit, counsellor, and touch our lips that we may proclaim your word. 

      Come, Holy Spirit, come.

Come, Holy Spirit, power from on high: make us agents of peace and ministers of wholeness. 

       Come, Holy Spirit, come.

Come, Holy Spirit, breath of God, give life to the dry bones of this exiled age, and make us a living people, holy and free. 

      Come, Holy Spirit, come.

Come, Holy Spirit, wisdoms and truth: strengthen us in the risk of faith.  Come, Holy Spirit, come. [35]

The Concluding Prayer of the Church

O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [36]

Devotionals compile/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] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Invocation of the Holy Spirit. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 38). London: HarperCollins.

[4] Translator: J. M. NealeJohn M. Neale’s life is a study in contrasts: born into an evangelical home, H. (n.d.). O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. Retrieved November 28, 2020, from https://hymnary.org/text/o_come_o_come_emmanuel_and_ransom

[5] Episcopal Church. (1911). Proper of Seasons. 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. 105). New York, NY: J. Pott &.

[6] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). Psalms. 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. 542). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[7] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Psalms. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 712). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[8] Ibid. 7

[9] Ibid. 7

[10] Ibid. 7

[11] Ibid. 7, P. 728-729

[12] Ibid. 7, P. 729

[13] Episcopal Church. (1979). Collects. 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. 211). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[14] Kiefer, J. (n.d.). Ambrose of Milan, Bishop and Doctor. Retrieved November 28, 2020, from http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bio/300.html

[15] 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.

[16] 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 &.

[17] Episcopal Church. (1911). Proper of Seasons. 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. 107). New York, NY: J. Pott &.

[18] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Isaiah. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1089). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[19] Ibid. 18

[20] Ibid. 18

[21] Ibid. 18

[22] Ibid. 18, P. 1141

[23] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Isaiah. In Chronological life application study Bible (p. 1112). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[24] Ibid. 23

[25] Kitch, A. E. (2004). Prayers for Days of the Week. In The Anglican family prayer book (Kindle ed., pp. 222). Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Pub.

[26] Ibid. 25, P. 226

[27] 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.

[28] 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 &.

[29] Episcopal Church. (1911). Proper of Seasons. 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. 105-106). New York, NY: J. Pott &.

[30] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). Acts. 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. 918). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[31] Ibid. 30

[32] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Acts. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1501). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[33] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). Acts. 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. 918). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[34] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Acts. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1501). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[35] Kitch, A. E. (2004). Litanies. In The Anglican family prayer book (Kindle ed., pp. 328-331). Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Pub.[36] Episcopal Church. (1979). An Order for Compline. 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. 134). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

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