January 21 Devotional (2021)

As pottery breaks into pieces when it is thrown on the hard ground, so God’s judgement would shatter the city and scatter those dwelling there...

January 21, 2021
Epiphanytide

Today’s Readings: Psalm 62:5-12; Jeremiah 19:1-15; Revelation 18:1-20


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

Morning Invocation

The Lord, the King of Virgins,* 

O come, let us worship Him.

Opening Prayer

“O God, Thou art my God, early will I seek Thee. My soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth greatly after Thee, in a barren and dry land, where no water is.” O satisfy this thirst with Thy freshest waters of comfort; in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

William Laud, Archbishop and Martyr [1]

Hymn

“O Light of Light, Love given birth”

By Laurence Housman

Lyrics:

1. O Light of light, Love given birth;

Jesus, Redeemer of the earth:

more bright than day your face did show,

your raiment whiter than the snow.

2. Two prophets, who had faith to see,

with your elect found company,

the heavens above your glory named,

the Father’s voice his Son proclaimed;

3. May all who seek to praise aright

through purer lives show forth your light.

To you, the King of glory, now

all faithful hearts adoring bow. [2]

Short Verse

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 

Lamentations 3:22-23

Morning Reading: Psalm 62:5-12

In God is my safety and my honor

For God alone my soul waits in silence,

for my hope is from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,

my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

On God rests my deliverance and my honor;

my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;

pour out your heart before him;

God is a refuge for us.    Selah

Those of low estate are but a breath,

those of high estate are a delusion;

in the balances they go up;

they are together lighter than a breath.

Put no confidence in extortion,

and set no vain hopes on robbery;

if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.

Once God has spoken;

twice have I heard this:

that power belongs to God,

and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord.

For you repay to all

according to their work.

† 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!

Morning Prayer

O Lord, our heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought us to the beginning of this day: defend us by thy mighty power; and grant that this day we fall into no sin, but that all our doings may be ordered by thy governance, to do always that is righteous in thy sight. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. [3]

Blessing

May God, who sent the Holy Spirit to rest upon the Only- begotten at his baptism in the Jordan River, pour out that Spirit on you who have come to the waters of new birth. Amen. [4]


A prayer inspired by Saint Agnes of Rome, Martyr, who the Church remembers on January 21st.

Almighty and everlasting God, who dost choose those whom the World deemeth powerless to put the powerful to shame: Grant us so to cherish the memory of thy youthful martyr Agnes, that we may share her pure and steadfast faith in thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord, 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

[The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah:] They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molek, though I never commanded–nor did it enter my mind–that they should do such a detestable thing, to cause Judah to sin.

Jeremiah 32:35
“Shattered”
By Miraychel Stone
(source)

Midday Reading: Jeremiah 19:1-15

Jeremiah announces disaster

1 Thus says the LORD, “Go, buy a potter’s earthenware flask, and take some of the elders of the people and some of the elders of the priests, 2 and go out to the Valley of the Son of Hinnom at the entry of the Potsherd Gate, and proclaim there the words that I tell you. 3 You shall say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing such disaster upon this place that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. 4 Because the people have forsaken me and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah have known; and because they have filled this place with the blood of innocents, 5 and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind— 6 therefore, behold, days are coming, declares the LORD, when this place shall no more be called Topheth, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. 7 And in this place I will make void the plans of Judah and Jerusalem, and will cause their people to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their life. I will give their dead bodies for food to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the earth. 8 And I will make this city a horror, a thing to be hissed at. Everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its wounds. 9 And I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and their daughters, and everyone shall eat the flesh of his neighbor in the siege and in the distress, with which their enemies and those who seek their life afflict them.’

10 “Then you shall break the flask in the sight of the men who go with you, 11 and shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: So will I break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter’s vessel, so that it can never be mended. Men shall bury in Topheth because there will be no place else to bury. 12 Thus will I do to this place, declares the LORD, and to its inhabitants, making this city like Topheth. 13 The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah—all the houses on whose roofs offerings have been offered to all the host of heaven, and drink offerings have been poured out to other gods—shall be defiled like the place of Topheth.’”

14 Then Jeremiah came from Topheth, where the LORD had sent him to prophesy, and he stood in the court of the LORD’s house and said to all the people: 15 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, behold, I am bringing upon this city and upon all its towns all the disaster that I have pronounced against it, because they have stiffened their neck, refusing to hear my words.”

† 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!

“Broken II (blue vase)”
By David Foster
(source)

Midday Lesson

The broken flask

“A flask was a small, narrow-necked water bottle made of clay, six to ten inches tall. The elders were summoned to follow Jeremiah to the Valley of the Son of Hinnon (7:31, 32), a dumping area where children were ritually sacrificed in the days of Manasseh.” [5] It was also “the place where the people of Judah were to be buried after the siege.” [6] The people, through their idolatry, had prevented the once-holy city of Jerusalem from being the place where God chose His name to dwell. The city had become a place of alien gods and goddesses.” [7]

“Human sacrifice was known among the Phoenecians, Moabites, and Canaanites. This abominable practice, performed in the name of religious worship, was explicitly forbidden in the covenant (see Deut. 12:31).” [8]

“Babylon was the agent who would make void, or ‘lay waste,’ the council of the elders who rebutted the Lord’s message through Jeremiah and continued in idolatry… God would allow Jerusalem to be made an object of derision and humiliation in order to vindicate His name (18:16). Plagues would strike the city according to the covenant curse of Deut. 28;58-61 (see Lam. 2:15; Zeph 2:15).” [9]

“The gruesome practice of cannibalism appears [v. 9], recalling the words of Deut. 28:53. After years of siege resulting in severe famine, the people would resort to eating human flesh in order to survive. This prophecy was literally fulfilled in 586 B.C. when Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah, and again in A.D. 70 when Titus destroyed Jerusalem.” [10]

As pottery breaks into pieces when it is thrown on the hard ground, so God’s judgement would shatter the city and scatter those dwelling there. Restoration would be impossible. The number of corpses would outnumber the possible burial sites.” [11]

“As the inhabitants of Jerusalem had made the Valley of the Son of Hinnom a place of death, so the Lord would make the entire city of Jerusalem a place of death (vv. 4-6).” [12]

“Jeremiah proclaim[ed] against His people by breaking a piece of pottery near the valley where children had been sacrificed to pagan gods. As Jeremiah [broke] the clay vessel, so God [would] break Jerusalem and reduce the population to destruction. As heinous as their sin [was], God [stood] ready to forgive and save, if only they [would] repent and return to Him.” [13]

Father, turn us away from sin, and bring us back to You each day by Your grace in Jesus Christ. Amen.

[14]

The Valley of Slaughter

“A deep, narrow ravine south of Jebus (later Jerusalem), called the Valley of Hinnom or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, was the boundary between the territories  of Benjamin and Judah (Josh. 15:8; 18:16). The location was unremarkable in Joshua’s day, but came to have great significance later in Isralite history.” [15]

“In the period of the divided monarchy, this valley was the site of a pagan altar (see Deut. 12:2) known as Tophet (‘fireplace’; Jer. 7:31, 32; 19:6, 11-14). Parents sacrificed their children there to the god Molech. The Bible singles out Ahaz and Manasseh, kings of Judah, as having led the way in this grotesque ritual (2 Chr. 28:3; 33:6). But Scripture praises King Josiah for destroying this idolatrous altar during his reforms (2 Kin. 23:10).” [16]

“Jeremiah, who was called as a prophet during Josiah’s reign, foretold that God would judge the Israelites for committing the awful abomination of human sacrifice, among other evils. The Lord would cause such destruction that the Valley of Hinnom would become a cemetery known as the Valley of Slaughter (Jer. 7:32; 19:6).” [17]

“The prophecy began to be fulfilled when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. Later, the valley became the city dump for Jerusalem. Fires continually smoldered there, as the site was used as a burning ground for refuse and the dead bodies of criminals and animals.” [18]
“In time, the valley became so noxious that its name became a synonym for hell. The Hebrew phrase ge (‘valley of’) hinnom eventually became the Greek gehenna, translated as ‘hell fire’ (Matt. 5:22; Mark 9:43, 45, 47). At one time, Jewish tradition even held that the entrance to hell began at the valley.” [19]

Midday Prayer

For Christian Unity

Eternal Father,

we praise you for sending your Son

to be one of us and to save us.

Look upon your people with mercy,

for we are divided in so many ways,

and give us the Spirit of Jesus to make us one in love.

We ask this gift, loving Father,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen. [20]


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

Seek him who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning, and darkens the day into night; who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out upon the surface of the earth: The Lord is his name.    

Amos 5:8
“Metellus Raising the Siege” 
late 18th century,
By Armand-Charles Caraffe
(source)

Evensong Reading: Revelation 18:1-20

Lament over a fallen city

1 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. 2 And he called out with a mighty voice,

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!

She has become a dwelling place for demons,

a haunt for every unclean spirit,

a haunt for every unclean bird,

a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.

3 For all nations have drunk

the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality,

and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her,

and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.”

4 Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,

“Come out of her, my people,

lest you take part in her sins,

lest you share in her plagues;

5 for her sins are heaped high as heaven,

and God has remembered her iniquities.

6 Pay her back as she herself has paid back others,

and repay her double for her deeds;

mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.

7 As she glorified herself and lived in luxury,

so give her a like measure of torment and mourning,

since in her heart she says,

‘I sit as a queen,

I am no widow,

and mourning I shall never see.’

8 For this reason her plagues will come in a single day,

death and mourning and famine,

and she will be burned up with fire;

for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”

9 And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. 10 They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say,

“Alas! Alas! You great city,

you mighty city, Babylon!

For in a single hour your judgment has come.”

11 And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, 12 cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, 13 cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.

14 “The fruit for which your soul longed

has gone from you,

and all your delicacies and your splendors

are lost to you,

never to be found again!”

15 The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud,

16 “Alas, alas, for the great city

that was clothed in fine linen,

in purple and scarlet,

adorned with gold,

with jewels, and with pearls!

17 For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.”

And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off 18 and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning,

“What city was like the great city?”

19 And they threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out,

“Alas, alas, for the great city

where all who had ships at sea

grew rich by her wealth!

For in a single hour she has been laid waste.

20 Rejoice over her, O heaven,

and you saints and apostles and prophets,

for God has given judgment for you against her!”


† 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 Sack of Rome by the Barbarians (in 410)
by Joseph-Noël Sylvestre, 1890
(source)

Evensong Lesson

Rome’s wealth and Rome’s fall

“As God is light (4:3; Ps 104:2; 1Ti 6:16), so the angel coming down from heaven exudes a lingering radiance (see Moses in Ex 34:29-35).” [21]

“This dirge over fallen Babylon is inspired by Is 13:19-22; 34:11-15, where the prophet speaks of the total destruction of the enemies of God’s people. The city is a haunt of demonic, foul, and hateful spirits.” [22]

“God’s people are called to come out of her so as not to partake of her punishment, destruction, and devastation (see Nm 33:51-56; Is 52:11; Jer 27:8; 28:6, 46). Separation from this world is spiritual, not necessarily a physical move but a refusal to participate in the works of darkness  (2Co 6:14-18). As Babylon (Rome) has proclaimed her own sovereign greatness, sitting as queen (v. 7), so her sins have reached to heaven (v. 5), recalling the Tower of Babel (Gn 11:4), a symbol of excessive arrogance. God’s judgement will be swift, in one day (v. 8). In Hebrew day denotes not so much a chronological period as a completed act.” [23]

The kings of the earth who committed fornication will mourn (but from a distance), stunned by the judgement of Rome and the specter of their own economic loss, when they see her devastation (see Ps 76:13; Nah 3:4-7). What happened to Sodom (Gn 19:28) and Edom (Is 34:6-10) is befalling Rome.” [24]

“Like the political leaders (vv. 9, 10), the economic leaders, the merchants [vv. 11-19], stand astonished at Rome’s sudden destruction and their own loss of revenues. Verses 11-13 list luxury items in Rome’s flow of trade (see Ezek 27:12-25). It was said by the rabbis that ‘ten measures of wealth came down into the world; Rome received nine and all the world received one.’ these good together with their profit made Rome queen (v. 7) of the world. While worldly possessions are in themselves good or bad, their misuse leads to sin, complacency, and a fatal lack of poverty of spirit (see 3:17-20). Therefore, excessive wealth easily conflicts with authentic Christian discipleship (see Mt 6:24). The last item in the list, bodies and souls (c. 13), refers to slaves sold at auction as human livestock for domestic service, prostitution, and gladitorial amusements.” [28]

In verses 19-20, we see “the opposite reaction (see vv. 9-19) in heaven [than that on earth]: Justice has prevailed!” [26]

Evensong Prayer

A Collect for the Presence of Christ

Lord Jesus, stay with us, for evening is at hand and the day is past; be our companion in the way, kindle our hearts, and awaken hope, that we may know you as you are revealed in Scripture and the breaking of bread. Grant this for the sake of your love. Amen. [27]

Concluding Prayer of the Church

Lord, you now have set your servant free *

   to go in peace as you have promised;

For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, *

   whom you have prepared for all the world to see:

A Light to enlighten the nations, *

   and the glory of your people Israel.

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. [28]


Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers

Citations:

[1] LAUD, W. (1855). Thursday Prime. In The Private Devotions of Dr. William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr (Ebook ed., p. 43-44). London and Oxford: John Henry & Jas. Parker.

[2] The Hymnal 1982: According to the use of the Episcopal Church 133. O Light of Light, Love given birth. (n.d.). Retrieved January 18, 2021, from https://hymnary.org/hymn/EH1982/133

[3] Bellarmine, G. (2020). January 6: Prime. In The Roman Breviary in English, in Order, Every Day for October, November, December 2020 (Kindle ed., p. 313). Christian Books Today.

[4] 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

[5] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2007). Jeremiah. In NKJV study Bible: New King James Version (Second ed., p. 1183). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[6] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Jeremiah. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1195). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2007). Jeremiah. In NKJV study Bible: New King James Version (Second ed., p. 1183). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[8] Ibid. 7

[9] Ibid. 7

[10] Ibid. 7

[11] Ibid. 7, P. 1184

[12] Ibid. 7, P. 1184

[13] House, C. P. (2009). Jeremiah. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 1239). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[14] Ibid. 13

[15] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2007). Jeremiah. In NKJV study Bible: New King James Version (Second ed., p. 1184). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[16] Ibid. 15

[17] bid. 15

[18] bid. 15

[19] bid. 15

[20] Catholic Online. (2021). Prayers For the Christian Unity #1 – Prayers. Retrieved January 18, 2021, from https://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=663

[21] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Revelation. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1770). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[22] Ibid. 21

[23] Ibid. 21

[24] Ibid. 21, P. 1770-1771

[25] Ibid. 21, P. 1771

[26] Ibid. 21, P. 1771

[27] 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.

[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. 135). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

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