January 12 Devotional (2021)

Cover Image: Heaven’s Scent – An engraving of the woman at Bethany anointing Jesus with perfumed oil, published in the Holy Bible, St Vojtech Publishing, Trnava, Slovakia, 1937 (source)


January 12, 2021
Epiphanytide

Today’s Readings: Exodus 30:22-38; Acts 22:1-16; Essay: “Theophanies of Christ”


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

Morning Invocation

Christ appeared to us, * 

     O come, let us worship Him

Opening Prayer

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries; through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [1]

Hymn

“The people who in darkness walked”

By John Morison, 1749-1798

Lyrics

1. The people who in darkness walked

have seen a glorious light;

on them broke forth the heavenly dawn

who dwelt in death and night.

2. To hail thy rising, Sun of life,

the gathering nations come,

joyous as when reapers bear

their harvest treasures home.

3. To us the promised Child is born,

to us the Son is given;

him shall the tribes of earth obey,

and all the hosts of heaven.

4. His name shall be the Prince of Peace

forevermore adored,

the Wonderful, the Counselor,

the Mighty God and Lord.

5. His power increasing still shall spread,

his reign no end shall know;

justice shall guard his throne above,

and peace abound below. [2]

Short Verse

I was glad when they said to me, 

“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”   

Psalm 122:1

Morning Reading: Exodus 30:22-38

Anointing a sign of holiness

22 The LORD said to Moses, 23 “Take the finest spices: of liquid myrrh 500 shekels, and of sweet-smelling cinnamon half as much, that is, 250, and 250 of aromatic cane, 24 and 500 of cassia, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and a hin of olive oil. 25 And you shall make of these a sacred anointing oil blended as by the perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil. 26 With it you shall anoint the tent of meeting and the ark of the testimony, 27 and the table and all its utensils, and the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense, 28 and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils and the basin and its stand. 29 You shall consecrate them, that they may be most holy. Whatever touches them will become holy. 30 You shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests. 31 And you shall say to the people of Israel, ‘This shall be my holy anointing oil throughout your generations. 32 It shall not be poured on the body of an ordinary person, and you shall make no other like it in composition. It is holy, and it shall be holy to you. 33 Whoever compounds any like it or whoever puts any of it on an outsider shall be cut off from his people.’”34 The LORD said to Moses, “Take sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum, sweet spices with pure frankincense (of each shall there be an equal part), 35 and make an incense blended as by the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy. 36 You shall beat some of it very small, and put part of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting where I shall meet with you. It shall be most holy for you. 37 And the incense that you shall make according to its composition, you shall not make for yourselves. It shall be for you holy to the LORD. 38 Whoever makes any like it to use as perfume shall be cut off from his people.”

Morning Lesson

Oil and Incense

“The priests used the holy oil in rites of anointing (see 29:7). The costly and treasured mixture must have had an unforgettable, wonderful aroma. The holy anointing oil was declared holy because it was set aside for use only in religious rights specified by law (vv. 32, 33). The perfumer, like his counterparts who worked with wood, fabric, and metal, was a highly skilled craftsman (v. 35).” [3]

“Everything connected with divine worship had to be anointed with the special oils. In this way, the creations of the workmen became holy, set aside for special use in the worship of God… [Furthermore] anointing initiated the priests into the privilege of God’s service. The oil was reserved exclusively for the consecration of the tabernacle and all its furnishings [along with priests]. Any other use would result in divine judgement. Cut off (v. 33) means out to death (see Gen. 17:14).” [4]

“As in the case of the anointing oil (see vv. 22-25), the directions for making the incense are precise. The resulting mixture was a lavish, expensive, precious commodity… A portion of the fragrant incense were to be taken into the Most Holy Place as a holy symbol for the people before the Lord.” [5]

Morning Prayer

O Jesus Christ our King,

     Your sign to the Magi was a bright shining star.

            Enlighten us by Your grace, 

            And fill us with all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

            Grant this because of Your goodness,

                  Jesus Christ our Lord,

            Whose kingdom and dominion

            Endure through all ages.

                  Amen. [6]

Blessing

May the brightness of the Lord our God be upon us. Amen.


A prayer inspired by Saint Aelred of Rievaulx, who we remember on January 12th

Pour thou into our hearts, we beseech thee, O God, the Holy Spirit’s gift of love, that we, clasping each the other’s hand, may share the joy of friendship, human and divine, and with thy servant Aelred draw many into thy community of love; through Jesus Christ the Righteous, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 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

The Cry of the Church

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Theophany of Christ Icon
The word Theophany means “Revelation of God;” Theophany therefore marks the revelation of the Trinitarian nature of God when Jesus was baptized.  Those who witnessed heard the Father’s voice from Heaven, saw the Spirit descending upon Jesus, and could see Jesus in the flesh, whom God confirmed to be His Son with His voice.
(source)

Midday Reading 

Theophanies of Christ

Introduction

“The word ‘theophany’ derives from the Greek words theos (‘God’), and phainesthai (‘to show forth, appear’). Hence, a theophany is an appearance or manifestation of God. While types of Christ in the Old Testament prefigure His coming in the flesh, theophanies are recognized by the Church as being actual appearances of the pre-incarnate Son and Word of God. How this happens remains a mystery. But because the Son of God took on human nature in the fullness of time, each theophany directly prefigures Christ’s Incarnation. St. John of Damascus (c. 675-749 AD) wrote, ‘No one saw the divine nature, but rather the image and figure of what was yet to come. For the invisible Son and Word of God was to become truly Man.’” [7]

Theophanies of Christ

An often cited theophany of Christ occurs in the visit of the ‘three men’ to Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 18:1-16: ‘Then God appeared to him at the oak of Mamre’ (v. 1). Though three men are there, Abraham addresses them in the singular, ‘Lord.’ He responds in the singular (vv. 9-15). As St. Ephraim the Syrian (c. 306 – 373 AD) [said], ‘Therefore the Lord… now appeared to Abraham clearly in one of the three.’ the three are generally considered to be Christ the Lord, along with two attending angels.” [8]

[9]

“At Genesis 32:25-31, Christ is the ‘man’ who wrestles with Jacob, after which Jacob says, ‘I saw God face to face’ (v. 30). St. Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 313 – 386 AD) ask[ed] the Jews concerning these theophanies to Abraham and Jacob, ‘What strange thing do we announce in saying that God was made Man, when you yourselves say that Abraham received the Lord as a guest? What strange thing do we announce, when Jacob says, ‘For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved’? The Lord, who ate with Abraham, also ate with us.’” [10]

“In the Book of Daniel, a heathen king bears witness to another theophany of Christ. When King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon peers into the fiery furnace, upon seeing a ‘fourth man’ he exclaims, ‘The vision of the fourth is like the Son of God’ (Dan 3:92).” [11]

Other Appearances of God

“At times Christ appears as ‘the Angel of the Lord’ or ‘the Angel of God.’ At Exodus 3:1-4:17, ‘the Angel of God’ appears to Moses in the burning bush and identifies Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Ex 3:6, 15, 16; 4:5). He also says that His name is I AM HE WHO IS’ (Ex 3:14)… St. Ambrose of Milan (c. 340 – 397 AD) observe[d], ‘Christ therefore is, and always is; for He who is, always is. And Christ is, of whom Moses says, ‘He that is has sent me.’’” [12]

The Incarnation

“WHen God the Son became incarnate, this can be called an everlasting theophany. For having assumed human nature, Christ not only manifests God to the world during His earthly life (Jn 1:14; see also 14:9; Col 2:9; 1 Jn 1:1-3), but He ascends in the same glorified flesh in which He will return at His Second Coming (see Acts 1:9-11).” [13]

“At the baptism of Christ (Mt 3:13-17), a further theophany occurs, as all three Persons of the Holy Trinity are made known: the Father in the voice from heaven, the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, and the Incarnate Son [‘The Holy Theophany’].” [14]

“Additionally, at CHrist’s Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor (Mt 17:1-9), the Father again is heard, the Holy Spirit is present in the brightness of the cloud, and the Son shines with the gleaming radiance of His Divinity.” [16]

Midday Prayer

For the Aged

Look with mercy, O God our Father, on all whose increasing years bring them weakness, distress, or isolation. Provide for them homes of dignity and peace; give them understanding

helpers, and the willingness to accept help; and, as their strength diminishes, increase their faith and their assurance of your love. This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [16]


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

It is not ourselves that we proclaim; we proclaim Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants, for Jesus’ sake. For the same God who said, “Out of darkness let light shine,” has caused his light to shine within us, to give the light of revelation—the revelation of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 

2 Corinthians 4:5-6
Icon of St. Paul’s Baptism
(source)

Evensong Reading: Acts 22:1-16

Paul describes his own baptism

1 “Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.”

2 And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even more quiet. And he said:

3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, 5 as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.

6 “As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8 And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ 9 Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10 And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ 11 And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.12 “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. 14 And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; 15 for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’

“The Baptism of St. Paul” 
By Lorenzo Lippi
(source)

Evensong Lesson

One baptism for the forgiveness of sins

Background of tonight’s reading:

“The day following his arrival in Jerusalem, Paul visits James, who explains that many observant Jews have become believers. They have heard that Paul has been teaching Jews not to circumcise their sons and they will cause trouble. James proposes that Paul should demonstrate his fidelity to Jewish tradition by undergoing ritual purification and by paying the heavy expenses of four local Jewish men who took a Nazirite vow (see Nm 6:1–21). This was a specific, time-limited promise on the part of a Jewish man to follow certain practices for religious reasons. At the end of the period covered by the vow, the adherent would offer sacrifices in the Temple. Since these sacrifices involved heavy expense, James suggests that Paul’s offer to assume responsibility for them would show his loyalty to Jewish law.” [17]

“In the Temple precincts Paul is set upon by a mob, which has been stirred up by some Jews from “Asia” (i.e., Ephesus), who accuse him of speaking against the people, the law, and the Temple. They also charge that Paul has violated the Temple by bringing Gentiles into the sacred area. According to notices displayed in the Temple, the penalty for this offence was death. The riot is eventually reported to the officer commanding the Roman garrison in the adjoining Antonia fortress. He and his guard rescue Paul from the mob but then arrest him as a presumed troublemaker. He remains a prisoner of the Romans for the rest of the book.” [18]

Paul then asked to speak with the crowd.

On tonight’s reading:

Tonight’s reading from Acts begins with a salutation. The words brothers and fathers “is a respectful form of address (7:2), showing that Paul treats even his enemies with courtesy.” [19] How do you treat your enemies?

“From his opening words he emphasizes his Jewish identity and upbringing, then recounts his early persecution of ‘the Way’ and what happened to him on the road to Damascus.” [20] “Paul [began] at a point with which his listeners would be familiar, first identifying with his hearers before trying to bring them to a new understanding .” [21]

Paul took this same approach in Acts 13:17-41 and Acts 14:15-17. “While Paul preached to the Jews using the OT (13:17-41),.. He present[ed] the Lord to [the] Gentiles (14:15-17) from the perspective of creation (see also 17:22-26). In this way, he use[ed] a starting point most accessible to his hearers.” [22]

In tonight’s reading, “Paul is careful to mention his relationship with important Jews (Gamaliel, v. 3; Ananias, v. 12) both to calm and to identify with this crowd at the temple.” [23]

“In apostolic understanding, being baptized is directly equated with the cleansing of sins.” [24] We declare this belief in the Nicene Creed when we say, “We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.” “From the beginning, baptism in water (8:36) and faith in Christ (8:37) are both essential for entrance into the NT Church. The apostolic pattern of conversion in Christ is hearing, believing, and baptism.” [25]

The command (10:48) “to be baptized is of monumental importance. Even after the household of Cornelius had believed and received the Holy Spirit, baptism was still essential. The book of Acts clearly teaches the crucial importance of the great sacraments” –  baptism (see also 2:38, 41; 8:12, 36-38; 9:18; 16:15, 33; 18:8; 19:5; 22:16); confirmation (2:38; 8:17; 9:17; 19:6); the Eucharist (2:42, 46; 20:7; 27:35); and ordination (6:6; 13:3; 14:23). [26]

Evensong Prayer

Grant us, Lord, the lamp of charity which never fails, that it may burn in us and shed its light on those around us, and that by its brightness we may have a vision of that holy City, where dwells the true and never-failing Light, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [27]

Compline Prayer 

Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. [28]


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] The Hymnal 1982: According to the use of the Episcopal Church 125. The people who in darkness walked. (n.d.). Retrieved January 07, 2021, from https://hymnary.org/hymn/EH1982/125

[3] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2007). Exodus. In NKJV study Bible: New King James Version (Second ed., p. 141). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Ibid. 3

[5] Ibid. 3

[6] Stratman, P. (2001). Epiphany. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 75). Rossway.

[7] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Theophanies of Christ. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1293). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[8] Ibid. 7

[9] House, C. P. (2009). Theophanies in Genesis [Image/Table]. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 39). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[10] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Theophanies of Christ. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1293). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[11] Ibid, 10

[12] Ibid. 10

[13] Ibid. 10

[14] Ibid. 10

[15] Ibid 10

[16] Episcopal Church. (1979). Prayers and Thanksgivings: For the Aged. 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. 830). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[17] 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. 936). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[18] Ibid. 17

[19] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Acts. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1532). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[20] 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. 936). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[21] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Acts. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1532). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[22] Ibid. 21, P. 1527

[23] Ibid. 21

[24] Ibid. 21

[25] Ibid. 21, P. 1515

[26] Ibid. 21, P. 1517

[27] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office: An order for Worship 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. 110). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[28] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office: 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. 133). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: