February 22 Devotional (2021)

Listen carefully to the sufferer and learn to share the pain...

February 22, 2021
Lent

Today’s Readings: Psalm 77; Job 4:1-21; Ephesians 2:1-10



Morning Invocation

The Lord is full of compassion and mercy: Come let us adore him.

Opening Prayer

Protect us this day,

O Lord, holy Father, 

almighty and eternal God,

and in your compassion and mercy,

help and guide us. 

Enlighten our hearts 

and keep our thoughts, words, and works 

pleasing in your sight,

that we may do your will 

and walk in your path of righteousness 

our whole life long. 

Amen. [1]

The Hymn

“Lord Jesus, Sun of Righteousness”

By Anne K. LeCroy, b. 1930


“Beggar pleading to heaven”
Modern School, 1958
(source)

Morning Reading: Psalm 77

Prayer for God to remember us

I cry aloud to God,

aloud to God, that he may hear me.

In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;

in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;

my soul refuses to be comforted.

I think of God, and I moan;

I meditate, and my spirit faints.    Selah

You keep my eyelids from closing;

I am so troubled that I cannot speak.

I consider the days of old,

and remember the years of long ago.

I commune with my heart in the night;

I meditate and search my spirit:

“Will the Lord spurn forever,

and never again be favorable?

Has his steadfast love ceased forever?

Are his promises at an end for all time?

Has God forgotten to be gracious?

Has he in anger shut up his compassion?”    Selah

And I say, “It is my grief

that the right hand of the Most High has changed.”

I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord;

I will remember your wonders of old.

I will meditate on all your work,

and muse on your mighty deeds.

Your way, O God, is holy.

What god is so great as our God?

You are the God who works wonders;

you have displayed your might among the peoples.

With your strong arm you redeemed your people,

the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.    Selah

When the waters saw you, O God,

when the waters saw you, they were afraid;

the very deep trembled.

The clouds poured out water;

the skies thundered;

your arrows flashed on every side.

The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;

your lightnings lit up the world;

the earth trembled and shook.

Your way was through the sea,

your path, through the mighty waters;

yet your footprints were unseen.

You led your people like a flock

by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Morning Lesson

“I believe; help my unbelief!”

Psalm 77 “is Christ (the End, v. 1) teaching the importance of using the memory, especially in the day of affliction (v. 3). For what is to remember God (v. 4), the eternal years (v. 6), and the Lord’s works (v. 12). Verses 5-21 describe the numerous benefits of this remembrance.” [2]

“Even strong believers and spiritual leaders among God’s people may find themselves troubled by times of weakness in their faith.  But God’s powerful Word strengthens us.  As we focus on the Gospel, the message of God’s mighty deeds for our redemption, He will strengthen our faith. ●  Lord, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’ (Mk 9:24). Amen.” [3]

Short Verse

O LORD, your love endures for ever;* do not abandon the works of your hands. 

Psalm 138:9

Morning Prayer

Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. [4]

The Plea of the Church

Look down in mercy, Lord, on your people who kneel before you; and grant that those whom you have nourished by your Word and Sacraments may bring forth fruit worthy of repentance; through Christ our Lord. Amen. [5]



Fresco from the Cathedral of the Annunciation depicting Job and his friends.
(source)

Midday Reading: Job 4:1-21

Eliphaz speaks of sin

1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

2 “If one ventures a word with you, will you be impatient?

Yet who can keep from speaking?

3 Behold, you have instructed many,

and you have strengthened the weak hands.

4 Your words have upheld him who was stumbling,

and you have made firm the feeble knees.

5 But now it has come to you, and you are impatient;

it touches you, and you are dismayed.

6 Is not your fear of God your confidence,

and the integrity of your ways your hope?

7 “Remember: who that was innocent ever perished?

Or where were the upright cut off?

8 As I have seen, those who plow iniquity

and sow trouble reap the same.

9 By the breath of God they perish,

and by the blast of his anger they are consumed.

10 The roar of the lion, the voice of the fierce lion,

the teeth of the young lions are broken.

11 The strong lion perishes for lack of prey,

and the cubs of the lioness are scattered.

12 “Now a word was brought to me stealthily;

my ear received the whisper of it.

13 Amid thoughts from visions of the night,

when deep sleep falls on men,

14 dread came upon me, and trembling,

which made all my bones shake.

15 A spirit glided past my face;

the hair of my flesh stood up.

16 It stood still,

but I could not discern its appearance.

A form was before my eyes;

there was silence, then I heard a voice:

17 ‘Can mortal man be in the right before God?

Can a man be pure before his Maker?

18 Even in his servants he puts no trust,

and his angels he charges with error;

19 how much more those who dwell in houses of clay,

whose foundation is in the dust,

who are crushed like the moth.

20 Between morning and evening they are beaten to pieces;

they perish forever without anyone regarding it.

21 Is not their tent-cord plucked up within them,

do they not die, and that without wisdom?’

“Job” 
1905, 
Painting shows human suffering stripped bare
By Sir William Orpen
(source)  

Midday Lesson

Listen carefully to the sufferer, and learn

Fear of God “includes saving faith as well as submission to God’s will. Eliphaz challenges Job [v. 6] to remember the relationship he has had with God up to now and the way he has lived his faith.” [6]

The main point of Job’s friends (v. 7) was that “bad times are God’s punishment for sin. If you have not done anything wrong, you do not have anything to fear.” [7] We know this thinking to be in error. “Eliphaz thinks God always rewards the righteous with good things and punishes the evildoers during their earthly lives [v. 9]. If Eliphaz is right, then Job is trying to hide some secret sin that God is punishing.” [8]

“A lion projects strength and ferocity and often serves as a symbol for the wicked [vv. 9-10] [e.g., Ps 22:12, 21). God ‘breaks the teeth’ of these lions (Ps 58:6), and they are destroyed. Eliphaz uses this image as an illustration from nature of God’s judgement and punishment of the wicked (v. 9).” [9]

In verse 12, Eliphaz “relates a supernatural experience to back up his point and to add the idea that nobody is perfect. Even the righteous should expect to suffer a little because even they are not entirely without fault before God.” [10] “Eliphaz makes the point that there are no human beings who can be righteous on their own before God. Eliphaz’s own reaction of terror in the presence of the Lord (or an angel) illustrates this point.  But this does not really help Job or answer the more serious question: how can God justify a sinful person (9:2)?” [11]

“Eliphaz, the first friend who tries to comfort Job, only adds to Job’s misery.  His ‘encouragement’ discourages Job because Eliphaz never really connects with Job or his pain. He only offers platitudes. When you reach out to a friend for a family member, do not give answers that simply bandage deep hurts. Listen carefully to the sufferer and learn to share the pain. God does use adversity to discipline His people, as Eliphaz pointed out (5:17-18; cf Heb 12:1-13). In the midst of trial, we might doubt God’s love for us. But the cross shows us the measure of God’s love. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can see suffering as a tool to refine faith and strengthen our relationship with God in Jesus Christ… ● Father, strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit so that we do not despair or falter when pressed by trial and tribulation; for Jesus’s sake. Amen.” [12]

The Cry of the Church

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. 

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. 

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant us your peace.

Midday Prayer

Let us bless the Lord God living and true! Let us always render him praise, glory, honor, blessing, and all good things! Amen. Amen. So be it! So be it! 

St. Francis of Assisi [13]



“Such Is the Kingdom of God”
Jesus welcomes children as within the scripture, Let the children come unto me for such is the Kingdom of God.
By Daniel Bonnell
(website)

Vespers Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10

The death of sin, the gift of grace

1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Vespers Lesson

Two unequal kingdoms

“Two unequal kingdoms are at war. Each is spiritual in nature; each stamps its image on its subjects and requires strict obedience. Yet they are opposites.  The king of the lesser around is a created being, Satan. His domain is of the air (v. 2), neither fully of earth nor of heaven.  He is the author of disobedience (v. 2), rebellion. The beginning of his rule is spiritual death (v. 1). The desires of his subjects are lustful, of the flesh and of the mind (v. 3). Their deeds are trespasses and sins (v. 1).  Start result of his rule is wrath (v. 3), and hence eternal death.” [14]

“The king of the other Kingdom is uncreated, God the Father (v. 4). His realm is the heavenly places (v. 6). He rules by mercy and love (v  4). The beginning of His rule is redemption to eternal life (v. 5). The desires of His subjects are thankfulness and glorifying God. Their deeds are righteousness, as is proper to those who reign with Christ. The result of His rule is exceeding [spiritual] riches and kindness (v. 7), and hence eternal life.” [15]

“How can one get from the one kingdom to the other (vv. 1-7)?” [16] By the unity of grace and lived faith (v. 9). “Not that these are equal, for grace is uncreated and infinite, whereas our faith is limited and can grow; good works flow out of authentic faith. Works cannot earn us this great treasure –  it is a pure gift – but those who receive this gift do good. We are not saved by good works but for good works (v. 10).” [17]

Short Verse

“Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” 

Esther 4:16

Vespers Prayer

May God, the Lord, bless us with heavenly benediction, and make us pure and holy in his sight. May the riches of his glory abound in us. May He instruct us with the word of truth, inform us with the Gospel of salvation, and enrich us with his love, Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

Gelasian Sacramentary [18]



St. Aiden of Lindisfarne
(source)

The Aidan Compline 

(from the Northumbria Community’s Daily Prayers [19])

Aidan came to Lindisfarne from Iona in the year 635 at the request of King Oswald. He was a man of deep prayer who meditated on the words of Scripture, equipping himself in quiet for an active and highly effective apostolate. He remained at Lindisfarne for sixteen years. 

In 651, Aidan was taken ill at Bamburgh and died. Cuthbert, who was at that moment looking after a flock of sheep on the Lammermuir hills, saw a vision of angels taking Aidan’s soul to heaven. 

+ indicates that you may make the sign of the cross. 

* indicates a change of reader. 

All say together the sections in bold type. 

The words in bold italic type set between lines should be said by each in turn. 

+ (silently.)

*  O Christ, Son of the living God, 

may Your holy angels guard our sleep, 

may they watch over us as we rest 

and hover around our beds. *  

Let them reveal to us in our dreams 

visions of Your glorious truth, 

O High Prince of the universe, 

O High Priest of the mysteries. 

*  May no dreams disturb our rest 

and no nightmares darken our dreams. 

May no fears or worries delay 

our willing, prompt repose. 

*  May the virtue of our daily work 

hallow our nightly prayers. 

May our sleep be deep and soft 

so our work be fresh and hard. 

I will lie down and sleep in peace 

for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. 

My dear ones, O God, bless Thou and keep, 

in every place where they are. 

*  Into Your hands I commit my spirit; 

I give it to You with all the love of my heart. 

*  How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! 

How vast is the sum of them! 

Were I to count them, 

they would outnumber the grains of sand. 

When I awake, I am still with You. 

I make the cross of Christ upon my breast, 

+  over the tablet of my hard heart, 

and I beseech the Living God of the universe – 

may the Light of Lights come 

to my dark heart from Thy place; 

may the Spirit’s wisdom come to my heart’s tablet 

from my Saviour. 

*  Christ without sin, Christ of wounds, 

I am placing my soul and my body 

under Thy guarding this night, 

Christ of the poor, Christ of tears. 

Thy cross be my shielding this night, 

O Thou Son of tears, of the wounds, of the piercing. 

I am going now into the sleep: 

O be it in Thy dear arm’s keep, 

O God of grace, that I shall awake. 

*  My Christ! my Christ! 

my shield, my encircler, 

each day, each night, 

each light, each dark. 

*  My Christ! my Christ! 

my shield, my encircler, 

each day, each night, 

each light, each dark. 

Be near me, uphold me, 

my treasure, my triumph. 

Circle me, Lord, 

keep protection near 

and danger afar. 

*  Circle me, Lord, 

keep light near 

and darkness afar. 

*  Circle me, Lord, 

keep peace within; 

keep evil out.

The peace of all peace be mine this night 

+  in the name of the Father, 

and of the Son, 

and of the Holy Spirit. 

Amen.


Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers

Citations:

[1] Stratman, P. (2001). Morning Prayers. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 13). Rossway.

[2] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Psalms. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 762-763). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[3] House, C. P. (2009). Psalms. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 921). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[4] Episcopal Church. (1979). Collects: Seasons of the Year. 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. 218). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[5] The Episcopal Church. (2018). Seasonal Blessings. In The Book of Occasional Services (PDF ed., p. 11). Then Episcopal Church. Retrieved November December 15, 2020, from https://episcopalchurch.org/files/lm_book_of_occasional_services_2018.pdf

[6] House, C. P. (2009). Job. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 787). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[7] Ibid. 6

[8] Ibid. 6

[9] Ibid. 6

[10] Ibid. 6

[11] Ibid. 6, P. 788

[12] Ibid. 6, P. 789

[13] Tickle, P. (2006). February. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 41). New York, NY: Image Books.

[14] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Ephesians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1631). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[15] Ibid. 14

[16] Ibid. 14

[17] Ibid. 14

[18] Tickle, P. (2006). February. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 56). New York, NY: Image Books


[19] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Aiden Compline. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 92076-92131). London: HarperCollins.

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