December 30 Devotional (2020)

December 30, 2020
Christmastide

Today’s Readings: Proverbs 9:1-12; 2 Peter 3:8-13; Northumbria Excerpt


Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy, which will come
to all the people; for unto you is born this day in the city of
David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.   
 Luke 2:10, 11

The Invitatory

Unto us a Christ is born; 

O come, let us worship Him!

Opening Prayer

O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [1]

🕇 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. Alleluia!

The Hymn: 

“Go, tell it on the mountain”

(African-American Spiritual)

Lyrics

Go, tell it on the mountain, 

Over the hills and everywhere; 

Go, tell it on the mountain, 

That Jesus Christ is born. 

While shepherds kept their 

Over silent flocks by night, 

Behold throughout the heavens 

There shone a holy light. 

Go, tell it on the mountain, 

Over the hills and everywhere; 

Go, tell it on the mountain, 

That Jesus Christ is born. 

The shepherds feared and trembled, 

When lo! Above the earth, 

Rang out the angel chorus 

That hailed the Savior’s birth. 

Go, tell it on the mountain, 

Over the hills and everywhere; 

Go, tell it on the mountain, 

That Jesus Christ is born. 

Watching Down in a lowly manger 

The humble Christ was born, 

And God sent us salvation 

That blessed Christmas morn. [2]

Antiphon

While all things were in quiet silence, and night was in the midst of swift course: Thy Almighty Word leaped down from heaven out of Thy royal throne. Alleluia.

“Marriage feast at Cana” 
by Gaetano Gandolfi 
(source)

Morning Reading: Proverbs 9:1-12

Your days will be multiplied

1Wisdom has built her house;

she has hewn her seven pillars.

2She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine;

she has also set her table.

3She has sent out her young women to call

from the highest places in the town,

4“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”

To him who lacks sense she says,

5“Come, eat of my bread

and drink of the wine I have mixed.

6Leave your simple ways, and live,

and walk in the way of insight.”

7Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,

and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.

8Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;

reprove a wise man, and he will love you.

9Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;

teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.

10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,

and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

11For by me your days will be multiplied,

and years will be added to your life.

12If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;

if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

Morning Lesson

A Banquet Feast of Wisdom and Grace

The word “proverb” (Hebrew, mashal) means insightful saying, and is most commonly associated with King Solomon who “spoke some three thousand proverbs (1 Kin. 4:32; Eccl. 12:9). “ [3] 

In chapter 12, “Solomon concludes the first section of his book with a third poem about wisdom.” [4] The first is found in 1:20– 33. The second is found in chapter 8. “Again, wisdom is personified as a woman who prepares a house with a rich feast for all who answer her invitation to become wise.” [5] In this way, proverbs 9:1-12 and Matthew 22:2-4 are similar: “In both cases (Proverbs and Matthew), servants are sent to announce that the feast is ready and invite everyone along the highways and byways to come and celebrate. Those who reject the invitation end up suffering the devastation of God’s judgment.” [6]

Verse  1 says, “Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars.” “Israelite houses were built with pillars on the ground floor to support the upper room, where the family dwelt. As seven is a sacred number, the house with seven pillars or foundations may refer to the whole earth. (Pillars or foundations are said to support the earth in Jb 38:6; Ps 145:5). In Pr 8, wisdom’s call is universal. Here, her house may be world-wide. Cf 14:1.” [7]

Verse 2 says, “She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table.” Notice the succession of events in preparation of a feast, found herein. This indicates that Wisdom prepares for a feast thoroughly, as if by checklist.

Verses 3-5 say, “She has sent out her young women to call from the highest places in the town, ‘Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!’ To him who lacks sense she says, ‘Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.’” “Wisdom’s servant girls remind one of the servants announcing the wedding feast in Jesus’ parable (Mt 22:2-4). As in 8:2, the invitation goes out for all to hear… The audience for Wisdom’s invitation is all who lack wisdom but have not yet rejected her. They may not be seeking Wisdom, but she seeks their attention… Wisdom promises life to all who share her feast, which gives life… The way of Wisdom leads to abundant life.” [8] In this way, Wisdom is similar to the Holy Spirit’s sweet call, beckoning us to salvation in Jesus Christ: “Anglicanism teaches that grace woos the soul and that man must cooperate freely with God’s grace. God always acts first through prevenient grace [and no one can come to faith without God’s grace], but man must cooperate with that grace. We are predestined, yet free.” [9] As verse 6 says, “Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”

“The ministers of the gospel go forth to invite the guests. The call is general, and shuts out none that do not shut out themselves. Our Saviour came, not to call the righteous, but sinners; not the wise in their own eyes, who say they see… “Observe the shame and ruin of those who slight it. God is not the Author of sin: and Satan can only tempt, he cannot force. Thou shalt bear the loss of that which thou scornest: it will add to thy condemnation.” [10]

Verses 7-9 say, “Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.” These insightful sayings frequently prove true. “Foolish people are not open to correction and may respond to admonition with defensiveness and counterattack. [However] those who are wise are open to correction and reproof. They know the value of wisdom, even when it hurts.” [11]

“Wisdom is not simply attained all at once. Eager for growth, wise people are teachable” (v. 9). [12]

“The sense of sin leads to repentance, and God bestows His compassion upon those who are penitent.” 

St. Irenaeus [14]

Verses 10-12 say, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it.” The Lord “gives wisdom, and the wise are blessed. Those who reject Wisdom’s invitation have no one to blame but themselves for the sad plight of their lives. The wise receive grace’s gift, deliverance from the way of death. Those on their way with Folly will get what they deserve and bear it alone.” [13]

“Jesus Christ calls the world to His banquet (Jn 6:32-59). Those who respond in faith will live forever in the company of Christ and His banqueting guests. Those who foolishly reject Him are dead in their sins. Lord Jesus, save me from the folly of rejecting you [and rejecting God’s grace]. Make me wise to the truth of Your love. Help me to know You and love You so deeply that in Your life-giving presence I will grow more like You. For Your name’s sake. Amen.” [15]

Morning Prayer

For Travelers

Life be in my speech, sense in what I say, the bloom of cherries on my lips, till I come back again. The love Jesus Christ gave be filling every heart for me, the love Jesus Christ gave filling me for everyone. Traversing corries traversing forests, traversing valleys long and wild, the Shepherd Jesus still uphold me, the Shepherd Jesus be my shield.  

Traditional Gaelic, altered, St. Columba of Iona [16]

A Prayer inspired by Josephine Butler, who we remember on December 30th

Let thy continual mercy, O Lord, enkindle in thy Church the Never-failing gift of love, that, following the example of thy servant Josephine Butler, we may have grace to defend the poor, and maintain the cause of those who have no helper; for the sake of him who gave his life for us, thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.



The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory,
the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

The Invitatory

Unto us a Christ is born; 

O come, let us worship Him!

Antiphon

All the ends of the earth have seen, Alleluia, Alleluia.

The salvation of our God, Alleluia, Alleluia.

“Triumph of Christianity over Paganism” 
By Gustave Dore 
(source)

Midday Reading: 2 Peter 3:8-13

A thousand years as one day

8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies

will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Midday Reflection

Be prepared for Christ’s return

About 2 Peter

While the Church is firm in its stance that 2 Peter is canonical, “some modern scholars consider the letter to be pseudonymous, that is, written by someone else based on what Peter taught. However, internal evidence supports Peter’s authorship… Given Peter’s authorship, the date [of the book] is likely AD 63-67, during Peter’s imprisonment in Rome.” [17]

The major theme of 2 Peter is “true knowledge versus false knowledge. Though the world disbelieves, deceives and mocks, Christians must maintain apostolic doctrine and an orthodox way of life. We are to grow continually in holiness and virtue [sanctification] and pursue an entrance into ‘the everlasting kingdom’ (1:11) which is to come.” [18]

Background

The doctrine at issue in chapter 3 is that surrounding the Second Coming of Christ. Verses 1-10 discuss the certainty of the Second Coming, while verses 11-17 covers the virtue produced by the expectation  of the Second Coming. Finally, 2 Peter closes in verse 18 with a doxology. 

In 2 Peter, just prior to our passage for today, Peter warned that scoffers would come in the last days, “walking according to their own lusts, and saying ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the Fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation’” (v. 3-4). As Saint Bede explained, “It is clear to all who love His coming that the mind must be controlled rather moderately in this conjecture. We must surmise neither that the aforesaid  day of the Lord is near and will come quite quickly, nor again that it is coming too slowly. But we should be diligent in seeing to this alone: that whether it comes sooner or later, it may find us ready when it does come.” [20]

On today’s reading

Today’s passage (2 Peter 3:8-13) picks up with a warning from Peter: “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 

Verse 9 says, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” These words are not merely descriptive of God’s patience with false teachers, but with us all. “We are granted more time primarily to grant us fuller repentance. (see v. 15; 2 Co 7:9, 10).” [21]

“Because this world will pass away, we ought to be holy (v. 11) and godly, living as citizens of the new heaven and earth. Chhristians can actually hasten the coming of that day. How? Through evangelism (Mt 24:14; Mk 13:10), prayer (especially the Lord’s Prayer,”Thy Kingdom come”), holy living (1 Pt 2:12), and repentance and obedience (Acts 3:19-21).” [22]

Today’s reading ends with verse 13: “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” We are not waiting for other heavens and earths, “but for the same ones transfigured for the better. For a beautiful prophetic description of the new heaven and earth, see Rev 2122 and Is 65:17-25.” [23]

Midday Prayer 

Blessed be the Lord God,

     Who comes in the name of the Lord,

     And has dawned on us.

His coming has redeemed us,

    His nativity has enlightened us,

    And by His coming has found the lost

    And shined a light on those who sat in darkness.

            Grant, O Father Almighty,

            That we we celebrate the day of His birth

            May find the day of judgement a day of mercy.

            And as we have known His goodness

            As our Redeemer,

            We may feel His gentle tenderness as our Judge.

    Amen. [24]


Behold, the dwelling of God is with mankind. He will dwell
with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will
be with them, and be their God.    
Revelation 21:3

The Invitatory

Unto us a Christ is born; 

O come, let us worship Him!

Antiphon 

Thine shall be the dominion in the day of power, amid the brightness of the saints* from whom before the day-star have I begotten thee.

The Lord sent redemption to unto His people,* He hath commanded His covenant forever.

“Winter Evening” 
By Olha Darchuk 
(source)

Evening Reading

Excerpted from the Northumbria Community’s Celtic Daily Prayer 

‘Each day has enough trouble of its own,’Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount. He meant it. He was realistic enough to recognise that this world is too often a place of suffering, for now still in the grasp of the World Hater, the prince of this world. 

A day will come when sorrow will be no more and death itself be destroyed, but until then there will always be some poorer than others, some bereaved, mistreated, abused. We must do all we can to protect and to heal, but even the miracles we see are only signs of the Kingdom. That Kingdom is at the same time ‘already’ and ‘not yet’. We are not exempt from trouble, injustice, violence and suffering, just because we are believers. He will allow some of these things to touch us also, even though it is not Him that visits them upon us. 

Jesus, who understood that it was necessary for Him to suffer, still questioned, Was there no other way? Job wondered what was going on and in this life was never told what had happened in the courts of heaven over his story of trials. We know that no test is beyond what we can endure, but why this random, faceless violence unleashed at times in our society? The cross begins with an unanswered ‘Why?’–and Christ also shouldered the cross. [25]

Vespers Prayer 

For the Future of the Human Race

O God our heavenly Father, you have blessed us and given us dominion over all the earth: Increase our reverence before the mystery of life; and give us new insight into your purposes for the human race, and new wisdom and determination in making provision for its future in accordance with your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [26]

The Concluding Prayer of the Church

The Ordinary Office: Nocturne

Lord the bogyman is here again

Stealing away our rest

Haunting our dreams

Playing with our fears

In the wee small hours

When our monsters stalk the corridors of our minds

Wading through the backwaters of our day

And our pain, anxiety and worries run riot

When our medication is not working

When the only voice we hear

Is the echo of our own doubt

Laughing at our fragile faith

Shaking the foundations of our belief

Wake from your sleep at the back of the boat dear Jesus

And calm the waters, quell the storm that engulfs us

Bring your calm, your peace, your rest.

When our feeble faith deserts us

And fear runs amuck

Lend us yours

We know that will be enough

As it has been so many times before

Let nothing cause us to fear

To send us running

Let no concern overwhelm us

Let all pain be dulled

All nerves be calm

Take us gently back in to sleep

Watching over us till dawn’s light…

Let us watch others do the same

And know we are not alone

Somewhere in the night

Another calls your name 

Amen. [27]


Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers

Citations:

[1] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office: Morning Prayer Rite II. 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. 99). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[2] Tickle, P. (2006). Christmas. In The divine hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 464). New York, NY: Image Books.

[3] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2007). Proverbs. In NKJV study Bible: New King James Version (Second ed., p. 976). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Palmer, W. (2018). Proverbs 9. In Books of the Bible Study Questions: Proverbs (PDF ed., pp. 9). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. Retrieved at: https://communication.cph.org/hubfs/_blogs/CPH_blog/581802_601%20Proverbs%20201805230911.pdf?hsCtaTracking=dffc7c90-451f-4ec1-af1c-3387a6080d98%7C08c3ca2e-db4d-49ef-b261-b3116acfda62

[5] Ibid. 4

[6] Ibid. 4

[7] House, C. P. (2009). Proverbs. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 1013). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[8] Ibid. 7, P. 1013-1014

[9] Novak, V. E. (2012, April 10). Catholicism, Calvinism And The Thirty-nine Articles: VirtueOnline – The Voice for Global Orthodox Anglicanism. Retrieved December 26, 2020, from https://virtueonline.org/catholicism-calvinism-and-thirty-nine-articles

[10] Henry, M. (2004). Matthew Henry’s Commentary: Proverbs 9. Retrieved December 26, 2020, from https://biblehub.com/commentaries/mhc/proverbs/9.htm

[11] House, C. P. (2009). Proverbs. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 1014). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[12] Ibid. 11

[13] Ibid. 11

[14] Saint Irenaeus. (2020). Against Heresies (Book III, Chapter 23). Retrieved December 26, 2020, from https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103323.htm

[15] House, C. P. (2009). Proverbs. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 1014). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[16] Stratman, P. (2001). For Travelers. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 51). Rossway.

[17] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 2 Peter. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1719). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[18] Ibid. 17

[19] Saint Bede. (2011, June 18). Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Retrieved December 26, 2020, from https://dailyexegesis.blogspot.com/2011/06/then-they-will-see-son-of-man-coming-in.html

[20] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 2 Peter. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1724). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[21] Ibid. 20

[22] Ibid. 20

[23] Ibid, 20

[24] Stratman, P. (2001). Christmas. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 65). Rossway.

[25] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Daily Prayer: December 24th. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 23179-23188). London: HarperCollins.

[26] Episcopal Church. (1979). Prayers and Thanksgivings: For the Future of the Human Race. 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. 828). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.


[27] Lucas, D. (2020). Nocturne. Retrieved December 26, 2020, from https://www.anordinaryoffice.co.uk/nocturne

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