January 20 Devotional (2021)

But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”

Cover Image: “Christ with Children” By Christopher Santer (source)


January 20, 2021
Epiphanytide

Today’s Readings: Genesis 16:1-16; Luke 18:15-17; Octave of Christian Unity


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

Morning Invocation

The Lord is our God * Come, let us adore Him

Opening Prayer

This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen. [1]

Hymn

“When Christ’s appearance was made known”

By Caelius Sedulius, 5th cent.

Short Verse

O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.

Psalm 5:3
“Hagar and the Angel”
By Carel Fabritius
(source)

Morning Reading: Genesis 16:1-16

Hagar sees God and is blessed

1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. 2 And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. 3 So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. 4 And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. 5 And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the LORD judge between you and me!” 6 But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.

7 The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” 9 The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel of the LORD also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” 11 And the angel of the LORD said to her,

“Behold, you are pregnant

and shall bear a son.

You shall call his name Ishmael,

because the LORD has listened to your affliction.

12 He shall be a wild donkey of a man,

his hand against everyone

and everyone’s hand against him,

and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”

13 So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,”d for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.15 And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.

“Hagar and Ishmael”
1776, reworked 1803
By Benjamin West 
(source)

Morning Lesson

The Angel is the Word

“In Gal 4:21-31, St. Paul use[d] Hagar and Sarah as an allegory, representing two covenants. Hagar and Ishmael represent the old covenant of the Law, which ‘gives birth to bondage.’ Sarah and Isaac represent the new covenant, which gives birth to freedom. The Jerusalem below is made up of those under the bondage of the Law, but the Jerusalem above is the Church, those under the freedom of God’s grace.” [2]

“The Lord asked Hagar questions, not because He was ignorant, but for Hagar’s sake and for ours. After He became Man, He also asked questions in the four Gospels, not because He was ignorant, but for the sake of the immediate listeners and of the faithful. For He is God in the flesh, and therefore, never ignorant of anything [St. John of Damascus].” [3]

“Since He is God, the Angel commanded Hagar. She obeyed (v. 15). This Angel is the Word of God.” [4]

Verse 10 says, “The angel of the LORD also said to her, I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.’” “This statement by the Angel could not have been made by a created angel, for only God can say ‘ I will surely multiply your seed exceedingly, that it may not be counted because of its magnitude.’ No created angel can do this. The angel is the Son of God.” [5]

“The Angel spoke to Hagar concerning the Father and said, ‘The Lord has taken notice of your humiliation.’” [6]

“Hagar called the Angel who appeared to her both Lord and God. The Church knows Him as the Only-begotten of the Father (Jn 1). As the Father’s Only-begotten, He is ‘true God of true God’ [Nicene Creed]. One meaning of the name God is You are the God who sees me. The Only-begotten sees everything. So do God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.” [7]

Morning Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, 

            Hallowed be thy name. 

      Thy kingdom come. 

      Thy will be done 

            on earth as it is in heaven. 

      Give us this day our daily bread. 

      And forgive us our trespasses, 

            as we forgive those 

            who trespass against us. 

      And lead us not into temptation: 

      But deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the Kingdom

            and the power

            and the glory.

      For ever and ever, Amen.

Blessing

May Almighty God, who led the Wise Men by the shining of a star to find the Christ, the Light from Light, lead you also, in your pilgrimage, to find the Lord. Amen. [8]


A prayer inspired by Saint Fabian, who the Church remembers on January 20th.

O God, who in thy providence didst call thy servant Fabian to The office of Bishop, and didst guide him so to strengthen thy Church that it stood fast in the day of persecution: Grant that those whom thou dost call to any ministry in the Church may be obedient to thy call in all humility, and be enabled to carry out their tasks with diligence and faithfulness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for 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

Jesus said to us: “In truth I tell you, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Luke 18:17
Christ with Children
Photograph by Journeys with the Messiah
(source)

Midday Reading: Luke 18:15-17

Jesus blesses little children

15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

Midday Lesson

Be as a little child

“Infants are the standard of faith by which adults receive the kingdom of God and not the other way around. ‘A little child is not arrogant, he does not despise anyone, he is innocent and guiltless. He does not inflate himself in the presence of important people, nor withdraw from those in sorrows. Instead, he lives in complete simplicity’ [Theophylact of Bulgaria].” [9]

Midday Prayer

For the President of the United States and all in Civil Authority

O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world: We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that, being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to the President of the United States, the Governor of this State (or Commonwealth), and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen. [10]


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

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. Amen.

2 Corinthians 13:14
“Christian Unity”
(source)

Evensong Reading

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity

“January 18 is the Feast of the Confession of Peter (“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God” Matthew 16:18). January 25 is the Feast of the Conversion of Paul. Many Christians observe the eight days from January 18 to January 25 inclusive as a time of special prayer that all Christians may be one with their Lord and with one another, joined in faith and love. I invite the members of this list to join in offering such prayers, always but especially during these eight days. Several prayers often used in this connection are printed below. (Note: those who cannot hear the word “Catholic” without thinking “Pope” may wish to substitute the word “universal” when joining in these prayers.)” [11]

“Some Christians undertake to pray for different Christian groups on the different days of the Octave. Here is one possible list for that purpose. Please remember that praying that the other group will see the error of its ways and join your group is not the idea.” [12]

Prayers for other Christians by date:

(18) East Orthodox, Coptic, and other Eastern Churches

(19) Roman Catholic and Uniate Churches

(20) Anglican, Old Catholic, and allied Churches

(21) Lutheran, Moravian, and Methodist Churches

(22) Congregational, Presbyterian, and Reformed Churches

(23) Baptist, Amish, Mennonite, Hutterite,

And Christian (Disciples of Christ) Churches

(24) Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches

(25) Other groups, particularly “non-mainstream” ones

Prayers:

Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto thine apostles, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you;” regard not our sins, but the faith of thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which is according to thy will, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and ever. Amen.

O gracious Father, we humbly beseech thee for thy holy Catholic Church; that thou wouldst be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it it in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.

O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, The Prince of Peace; Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union and concord: that as there is but one Body and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Evensong Prayer

A Collect for Protection

O God, the life of all who live, the light of the faithful, the strength of those who labor, and the repose of the dead: We thank you for the blessings of the day that is past, and humbly ask for your protection through the coming night. Bring us in safety to the morning hours; through him who died and rose again for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. [13]

Concluding Prayer of the Church

A Compline Prayer:

Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace. [14]


Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers

Citations:

[1] Episcopal Church. (1979). Ministration of the Sick: In the Morning. 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. 461). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated..

[2] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Genesis. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 95). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Ibid. 2

[4] Ibid. 2

[5] Ibid. 2

[6] Ibid. 2

[7] Ibid. 2

[8] The Episcopal Church. (2018). Seasonal Blessings. 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). Genesis. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1422). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[10] Episcopal Church. (1979). Prayers and Thanksgivings: A Prayer of Self-Dedication. 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. 820). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[11] Kiefer, J. (n.d.). Octave of Prayer For Christian Unity. Retrieved January 17, 2021, from http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bio/31.html

[12] Ibid. 11

[13] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office: Daily Evening 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. 124). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[14] 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. 134). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

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