January 8th Devotional (2021)

January 8, 2021
Epiphanytide

Today’s Readings: 1 Samuel 16:1-13; 1 Timothy 4:11-16; Essay: Scripture and Prayer in the Anglican Tradition


Nations shall come to your light, 
and kings to the brightness
of your rising.   
 Isaiah 60:3

Invocation

The Lord has shown forth his glory: 

     Come let us adore him.

Opening Prayer

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [1]

Hymn (German)

 “Schönster Herr Jesu”

(“Fairest Lord Jesus”)

Lyrics in English:

Fairest Lord Jesus, 

Ruler of all nature, 

O you of God and man the Son, 

You will I cherish, 

you will I honor, You, 

my soul’s glory, joy, and crown. 

Fair are the meadows, 

fairer still the woodlands, 

Robed in the blooming garb of spring: 

Jesus is fairer, 

Jesus is purer, 

Who makes the woeful heart to sing. 

Fair is the sunshine, 

fairer still the moonlight, 

And all the twinkling, starry host: 

Jesus shines brighter, 

Jesus shines purer, 

Than all the angels heaven can boast. [2]

Short Verse

What terror you inspire!* 

who can stand before you when you are angry?

Psalm 76:7
This 3rd-Century A.D. panel inside the Dura Synagogue shows Samuel anointing David.
(source)

Morning Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1-13

David anointed king by Samuel

1 The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” 2 And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ 3 And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” 4 Samuel did what the LORD commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” 5 And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.” 7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” 9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” 10 And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.” 11 Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” 12 And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.

Morning Lesson

God judges the heart

This morning’s passage picks up just after the “tragic and final departing of Saul and Samuel” (1 Sam 15). [3] “Samuel’s focus is directed away from Saul’s ruined potential to what God will do through Jesse’s youngest son, David, a man after God’s own heart (13:14). Because God looks on our hearts (v. 7), we stand condemned before Him (Jer 17:9-10a). Yet He leads us to plead, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God’ (Ps 51:10)… and we are reassured that God will not despise a broken and contrite heart (Ps 51:17). Thank You, Lord, that You do not judge by appearances but have promised us that there is ‘no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Rm 8:1). Amen.” [4]

We can learn an important lesson from this passage. “We cannot know a person’s true character, intentions, and desires from outward expressions. Over time, we can learn by a person’s actions what kind of person they are, but we are wisest to trust God above all because He knows what is in each person’s heart and mind, and He has revealed His steadfast love and faithfulness to us in His Word and through His Son.” [5]

Morning Prayers

O Lord, Almighty God, King of heaven and earth, Savior of the world, bless, lead, rule and govern our hearts and bodies, our senses, words and deeds today, following thy law and commandments, that here and for eternity with thy help we shall be saved in freedom. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen. [6]

May Almighty God arrange our deeds and our day in His peace. Amen. [7]

Blessing

May God, by the power that turned water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana, transform your lives and make glad your hearts. Amen. [8]


A prayer inspired by Nate Saint and Other Martyrs of the Ecuador Mission, who we remember on January 8th

Precious in thy sight, O Lord, is the death of thy saints, Whose faithful witness, by thy providence, hath its great reward: We give thee thanks for thy martyrs Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Jim Elliot, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian, who purchased with their blood a hearing for the Gospel among the forest-dwellers of Ecuador, especially the Huaorani people, and for their wives, who shared with them in their work and witness; and we pray that with them we also may obtain the crown of righteousness which is laid up for all who love the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may
reach to the end of the earth.   
 Isaiah 49:6b

Short Verse

Send forth your strength, O God;* 

establish, O God, what you have wrought for us.

Psalm 68:28
Fragments 7Q4, 7Q5 and 7Q8 among the Dead Sea Scrolls. 7Q4 contains 1 Timothy 3:16–4:3
(source)

Midday Reading: 1 Timothy 4:11-16

Gift of prophecy with laying on of hands

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the eldership laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

“In the Scriptures be the fat pastures of the soul.” 

Thomas Cranmer, Abp of Canterbury & BCP author
“Bible Study” 
By Brandy House 
(source)

Midday Lesson

the heavenly meat of our souls”

About 1 Timothy:

“St. Ignatius, Polycarp, Tertulian, and St. Clement of Alexandria are all among the early Church writers who speak of Paul’s authorship [of 1 Timothy].” [9] “The Pastoral Epistles, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, appear to have been written after the events of Acts 28 [around AD 64-65]. If so, 1 Timothy was written before Paul’s second imprisonment in Rome, perhaps from Macedonia (1:3).”  [10]

Pastoral care of the faithful is the major theme of this Epistle. “The Church is to manifest the kingdom of God on earth. Therefore, how the Church is run relates to both apostolic doctrine (1:1-20; 3:144:5) and worship (2:1-15).” [11] “First Timothy is both personal and pastoral. Whereas most of Paul’s letters are addressed to the Church in a particular location, the pastoral epistles [were] written to instruct specific leaders – in this case Timothy, the bishop of Ephesus. Paul speaks as an experienced mentor instructing his student, his ‘son,’ as apostle to younger apostle or bishop to youthful bishop.” [12]

On tonight’s reading:

Verse 13 says, “devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.” We are to give attention to the reading of Scripture. Giving attention to reading, “whether personal reading or the public reading of Scripture during worship, is tired with exhortation (preaching) and doctrine (teaching). The early early Christians had a liturgical worship structure – including the reading of Scripture and the homily – the roots of which were in the synagogue.” [13]

The Anglican homily, “A Fruitful Exhortation to the Reading and Knowledge of Holy Scripture,” elaborates on the importance of reading God’s Word [14]:

Unto a Christian man there can be nothing either more necessary or profitable than the knowledge of Holy Scripture, forasmuch as in it is contained God’s true Word, setting for His glory and also man’s duty… Therefore, as many as be desirous to enter into the right an perfect way unto God, must apply their minds to know Holy Scripture, without the which they can neither sufficiently know God and His will, neither their office and duty. And as drink is pleasant to them that be dry and meat to them that be hungry, so is the reading, hearing, searching, and studying of Holy Scripture to them that be desirous to know God, or themselves, and to do His will…

Therefore, forsaking the corrupt judgement of fleshy men, which care not but for their carcase, let us reverently hear and read Holy Scripture, which is the food of the soul. Let us diligently search for the well of life in the books of the Old and New Testament… In these books we shall find the Father from whom, the Son by whom and the Holy Ghost in whom all things have their being… In these books we may learn to know ourselves, how vile and miserable we be, and also to know God, how He maketh us and all creatures partakers of His goodness… And as the great clerk and godly preacher Saint John Chrysostom saith: ‘Whatsoever is required to the salvation of man is fully contained in the Scripture of God. He that is ignorant may there learn and have knowledge. He that is hard-hearted and an obstinate sinner shall there find everlasting torments, prepared of God’s justice, to make him afraid and to mollify or  soften him. He that is oppressed with misery in this world shall there find relief in the promises of everlasting life, to  his great consolation and comfort…’ … These books therefore ought to be much in our hands, in our eyes, in our ears, in our mouths, but most of all in our hearts. For the Scripture of God is the heavenly meat of our souls

The hearing and keeping of it makest us blessed, sanctifieth us,, and maketh us holy. It turneth  our souls, it is a lantern to our feet, it is a sure, constant and perpetual instrument of salvation, it giveth wisdom to the humble and lowly hearts, it comforteth, maketh glad, cheereth and cherisheth our conscience, it is a more excellent jewel or treasure than any gold or precious stone, it is more sweet than honey or honeycomb, it is called the best part which Mary did choose, for it hath in it everlasting comfort…

And to be short, there is nothing that more maintaineth godliness of the mind and expelleth ungodliness than doth the continual reading or hearing of God’s Word, if it be joined with a godly mind and a good affection to know and follow God’s will. And on the other side, nothing more obscureth Christ and the glory of God, nor induceth more blindness and all kinds of vices, than doth the ignorance of God’s Word.

Midday Prayer

For Families

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who settest the solitary in families: We commend to thy continual care the homes in which thy people dwell. Put far from them, we beseech thee, every root of bitterness, the desire of vainglory, and the pride of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness. Knit together in constant affection those who, in holy wedlock, have been made one flesh. Turn the hearts of the parents to the children, and the hearts of the children to the parents; and so enkindle fervent charity among us all, that we may evermore be kindly affectioned one to another; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [15]


From the rising of the sun to its setting my Name shall be great
among the nations, and in every place incense shall be offered
to my Name, and a pure offering: for my Name shall be great
among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.    
Malachi 1:11

Short Verse

I sought the LORD, and he answered me* 

and delivered me out of all my terror.

Psalm 34:4
“Still Life with Bible”
(1853 – 1890), Nuenen, October 1885
By Vincent van Gogh
(source)

“The Bible first, the Prayer Book next, and all other books and doings in subordination to both.” 

Charles Simeon

Evensong Essay:

Scripture and Prayer in the Anglican Tradition

“Anglicans love the Bible. In fact, when most people attend an Anglican church, the first thing they notice is the central role of the Bible. Each Sunday, there are usually four readings of Scripture: one from the Old Testament, one from the Psalms, one from the Epistles, and one from the Gospels.” [16]

“The Word of God functions as the very foundation of the Book of Common Prayer, which is saturated with Scriptures from the Old and New Testament… For Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury and author of the Book of Common Prayer, Scripture and prayer hold to one another through an intricate connection. In his mind, these pillars of the faith should not be separated. Cranmer’s vision for the Daily Office was a matrix of prayer and Scripture woven together, exposing the reader to the presence of the Living Word. Cranmer’s collect for the second Sunday of Advent shows his intimate love for the Scriptures [17]:

“Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience, and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.”

“Thomas Cranmer’s vision for Anglicanism included reading Scripture daily throughout the year. He restored the ancient practice of reading through the entire Bible in daily prayer. His greatest desire was to put the Bible and prayer in the hands of ordinary people so that they would be in a place where the God of the Bible could transform their hearts and lives. This is why Cranmer devised a Bible reading plan (lectionary) through which everyone could hear the Scriptures on a regular basis. Bishop John Howe said of Cranmer’s scriptural legacy [18]: 

“In a stroke, he made the Church of England the greatest Bible-reading church in the world. Nowhere else is the Bible read so regularly, so comprehensively, and at such length as in the public worship of the Anglican Communion.”

“Like Cranmer, Anglicans today believe that prayer and Bible study are inseparably linked. Scripture should always be read in the context of prayer because prayer is the medium that brings us into contact with the same Holy Spirit who inspired the authors of the Bible. As we read the Scriptures, the Spirit applies the truths of the Word to our hearts. Prayer is the necessary means whereby we understand the Word of God. Without the assistance of the Holy Spirit in prayer, our Bible study will be in vain.” [19]

“The reading of Scripture in the Anglican tradition is one of its great glories.“

N. T. Wright, bishop & scholar

“Scriptures are the very place where we encounter the Lord and where He feeds us with His daily bread. It was Cranmer’s deep hope that, in this way, all Anglicans would hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the Scriptures. Just as Moses encountered God in the burning bush, we also come face to face with God through the Scriptures.” [20]

“The enduring legacy of the Book of Common Prayer owes a debt to the book’s scriptural basis and doctrinal accuracy. The book contains the entire book of Psalms and also a reading plan for the entire Bible, thus biblical references and doctrinal themes pervade its words and prayers. Dr. John Sentamu, archbishop of York, reminds us [21]: 

The Prayer Book places the Bible at the heart of the church’s worship and on the lips of the people. It teaches the grace and mercy of God, and it preaches Jesus as a living Savior, not a dead master of a bygone age.” 

Evensong Prayer

O Lord, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in thy mercy, grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last. Amen. [22]

Compline Prayer

Lord, keep us sake this night,

Secure from all our fears;

May angels guard us while we sleep,

Till morning light appears.

Amen. [23]


Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers

Citations:

[1] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office: Daily Morning Prayers 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). January. In The divine hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 512). New York, NY: Image Books.

[3] House, C. P. (2009). 1 Samuel. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 460). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[4] Ibid. 3, P. 461

[5] Palmer, W. (2019). 1 Samuel 16:1-13. In Books of the Bible Study Questions: 1 Samuel (PDF ed., pp. 15). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. Retrieved at: https://communication.cph.org/hubfs/_cph/2019/01/publicity-book-of-the-bible-study-questions/581902_601%201Samuel.pdf?hsCtaTracking=c8ef80b0-e5e8-4628-bfac-91d9fd918a1d%7C75a5cf8d-11f6-4268-8a31-8ad6fcd8c72e

[6] Bellarmine, G. (2020). January 6: Prime. In The Roman Breviary in English, in Order, Every Day for October, November, December 2020 (Kindle ed., p. 316). Christian Books Today.

[7] Ibid. 6

[8] The Episcopal Church. (2018). Seasonal Blessings: Christmas. In The Book of Occasional Services (PDF ed., p. 9). Then Episcopal Church. Retrieved November December 15, 2020, from https://episcopalchurch.org/files/lm_book_of_occasional_services_2018.pdf

[9] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 1 Timothy. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1662). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[10] Ibid. 9

[11] Ibid. 9

[12] Ibid. 9

[13] Ibid. 9, P. 1668

[14] Bray, G. L. (2016). A Fruitful Exhortation to the Reading and Knowledge of Holy Scripture. In The books of homilies: A critical edition (Ebook ed., p. 27-29). Cambridge: James Clarke.

[15] Episcopal Church. (1979). Prayers and Thanksgivings: For Families. 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. 828-829). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[16] Bevins, W. (2020, October 01). What Do Anglicans Really Think About the Bible? Retrieved January 04, 2021, from https://www.teloscollective.com/what-do-anglicans-really-think-about-the-bible/

[17] Ibid. 16

[18] Ibid. 16

[19] Ibid. 16

[20] Ibid. 16

[21] Ibid. 16

[22] Episcopal Church. (1979). Prayers and Thanksgivings: In the Evening. 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. 833). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.


[23] Kitch, A. E. (2004). Bedtime Prayers. In The Anglican family prayer book (Kindle ed., pp. 214). Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Pub.

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