March 4 Devotional (2021)

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

March 4, 2021
Lent

Today’s Readings: Psalm 19; Exodus 19:1-9a; 1 Peter 2:4-10



Morning Invocation

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

Opening Prayer

Let our prayer ascend to the throne of Thy glory, O Lord, and let not our supplication return to us unprofitable. This we pray through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, One God world without end. R: Amen. [1]

The Hymn

“Creator of the earth and skies”

By Donald W. Hughes, 1911-1967


Morning Reading: Psalm 19

The commandments give light to the eyes

The heavens are telling the glory of God;

and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.

Day to day pours forth speech,

and night to night declares knowledge.

There is no speech, nor are there words;

their voice is not heard;

yet their voice goes out through all the earth,

and their words to the end of the world.

In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,

which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,

and like a strong man runs its course with joy.

Its rising is from the end of the heavens,

and its circuit to the end of them;

and nothing is hid from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect,

reviving the soul;

the decrees of the Lord are sure,

making wise the simple;

the precepts of the Lord are right,

rejoicing the heart;

the commandment of the Lord is clear,

enlightening the eyes;

the fear of the Lord is pure,

enduring forever;

the ordinances of the Lord are true

and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold,

even much fine gold;

sweeter also than honey,

and drippings of the honeycomb.

Moreover by them is your servant warned;

in keeping them there is great reward.

But who can detect their errors?

Clear me from hidden faults.

Keep back your servant also from the insolent;

do not let them have dominion over me.

Then I shall be blameless,

and innocent of great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

be acceptable to you,

O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Morning Lesson

The glory of grace

“The heavens continually declare God’s praise, and the forces of nature daily show forth His glory as they faithfully carry out the duties He has assigned them. Too bad we so often fail in the fulfilment of our divinely appointed tasks. Marvellous as the heavens are, and eloquent as nature’s testimony to the greatness of the Creator, God’s forgiveness and grace as revealed in His Word are even more glorious. ● ‘O Lord, my rock and my redeemer: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your site’ (v. 14); through Christ Jesus. Amen.” [2]

Short Verse

But you, O Lord my GOD, oh, deal with me according to your Name;* for your tender mercy’s sake, deliver me. For I am poor and needy,* and my heart is wounded within me. 

Psalm 109:20–21

Morning Prayer

Make haste, O God, to deliver me! 

O Lord make haste to help me! 

Hasten, O Lord, to free us from all our sins; 

for you live and reign with the Father 

and the Holy Spirit,  

one God, now and forever.

Amen. [3]

The Plea of the Church

Grant, Almighty God, that your people may recognize their weakness and put their whole trust in your strength, so that they may rejoice for ever in the protection of your loving providence; through Christ our Lord. Amen. [4]



Statue of Moses at the Library of Congress
(source)

Midday Reading: Exodus 19:1-9a

Preparation for the giving of the commandments

1 On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 They set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. There Israel encamped before the mountain, 3 while Moses went up to God. The LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

7 So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the LORD had commanded him. 8 All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the LORD. 9 And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.”

Sculpture in the U.S. House of Representatives
(source)

Midday Lesson

A royal priesthood

“Mount Sinai is one of the most sacred locations in Israel’s history. Located in the south-central Sinai Peninsula, this mountain is where Moses met God in a burning Bush, God made His covenant with Israel, and Elijah heard God in the gentle whisper. Here God gave His people the laws and guidelines for right living. They learned the potential blessings of obedience (Exod 34:4-28) and the tragic consequences of disobedience (Exod 34:7).” [5]

“Modern surveys of the area have suggested the Er-Raha plain as a potential place for a large Isrealite encampment. The peak of Gebel Musa stands close by. The traditional site is marked today by St. Catherine’s monastery. This remains the best possible site, though the absolute location where Moses received the covenant cannot be determined.” [6]

“The Son of God brought Israel to Himself from Egyptian bondage. This prefigures His Incarnation, by which He brings the Church to Himself as the Great High Priest [St. Ambrose of Milan].” [7]

The children of Israel were to be a holy nation, a royal priesthood. “As a response to His covenant promise (cf 6:5), the people were to obey God… They would enjoy a relationship of grace and forgiveness… As the consecrated priests would stand between God and His people, so the people of Israel would act as priests to the world, set aside by God for service, witness, and prayer. Israel would be a priest to all nations of the world… Today, Jesus perfectly mediates between sinners and God; the church also intercedes (1Pt 2:9).” [8]

“God had a reason for rescuing the Israelites from slavery. Now he was ready to tell them what [Israel was to be]: Israel was to become a Kingdom of priests and a holy nation where anyone could approach God freely and they would represent God to the rest of the world. It didn’t take long, however, for the people to corrupt God’s plan. God then established Aaron’s descendants from the tribe of Levi as priests (Lev 8-9) representing what the entire nation should have been. But with the coming of Jesus Christ, God has once again extended His plan to all believers. We are to become holy, ‘royal priests’ (1 Pet 2:9). We are to become holy Royal priestsThe death and resurrection of Christ has allowed each of us to approach God freely.” [9]

The people of Israel “said they would obey but did not, ‘for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified’ [Rom 2:13, St. John Chrysostom].” [10]

“In Genesis 15 and 17, God made a covenant with Abraham, promising to make his descendants into a great nation.  Now that promise was being realised as God restated His agreement with the  Isrealite nation, the descendants of Abraham. God promised to bless and care for them. The people promised to obey Him. The covenant was thus sealed. But the good intentions of the people quickly wore off.” [11]

“God publicly authenticated Moses [v. 9] as His spokesman so the people would have no doubt about the source of the Law that Moses would give them.” [12]

Short Verse

But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.

Romans 1:18

Midday Prayer

For Church Musicians and Artists
O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven: Be ever present with your servants who seek through art and music to perfect the praises offered by your people on earth; and grant to them even now glimpses of your beauty, and make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [13]



Vespers Reading: 1 Peter 2:4-10

You are God’s own people

4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture:

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,

a cornerstone chosen and precious,

and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,

“The stone that the builders rejected

has become the cornerstone,”

8 and

“A stone of stumbling,

and a rock of offense.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Vespers Lesson

A spiritual house

“Peter likens the growth of the Church to the OT temple with its attending priesthood and its sacrifice and worship, Christ Himself being the fulfillment of this imagery. Thus, in Christ we become living stones, a spiritual house, a royal priesthood (v. 5; see Ex 19:5, 6), the people of God who have obtained mercy (v. 10; see Eph 2:19-22; 1Co 3:16, 17; 2Co 6:16). This is salvation in all its fullness.” [14] 

In the true temple, one sacrifice is offered, the unrepeatable sacrifice of Christ. But in Him, in baptism, we also are sacrificed, ‘a living sacrifice’ (Rom 12:2) acceptable to God. Our whole life is to be lived in this baptism as an offering to Christ our life. This is the spiritual offering of the church in the Eucharist, the offering by which she lives.” [15]

“In the true Temple there is one offer, one priest, who again is Christ. In baptism we all are anointed with grace as priest in the Kingdom of God, for the spiritual Kingdom is also the spiritual priesthood. Moreover, as the body of Christ, we have a priestly ministry to the world, fulfilling the very priesthood and intercession of the Lord Himself, so that to the whole universe we may proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.” [16]

“Christ is the cornerstone (Is 28:16) that is the foundation of the spiritual edifice of the Christian community (1 Pt 2:5). To unbelievers, Christ is an obstacle and a stumbling block on which they are destined to fall (1 Pt 2:8)… The prerogatives of ancient Israel mentioned here are now more fully and fittingly applied to the Christian people: ‘a chosen race’ (Is 43:20–21) indicates their divine election (Eph 1:4–6); ‘a royal priesthood’ (Ex 19:6) to serve and worship God in Christ, thus continuing the priestly functions of his life, passion, and resurrection; ‘a holy nation’ (Ex 19:6) reserved for God, a people he claims for his own (Mal 3:17) in virtue of their baptism into his death and resurrection. This transcends all natural and national divisions and unites the people into one community to glorify the one who led them from the darkness of paganism to the light of faith in Christ. From being ‘no people’ deprived of all mercy, they have become the very people of God, the chosen recipients of his mercy (Hos 1:9; 2:25).” [17]

“Lord Jesus, as the cornerstone, You make us living stones in Your house and servants of Your Gospel. Bless us with a heart for the lost, that they may come to saving faith in You. Amen.” [18]

Short Verse

Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 

Genesis 18:27

Vespers Prayer

O Lord,

you surrounded your people at night as a pillar of fire 

to defend them from the plans of the Pharaoh 

and the captains of his army. 

Also send us your Holy Spirit 

from your flaming, jewelled, and awesome throne 

to take care of your people. 

Defend us this night 

with the shield of faith, 

that we may not fear the terrors of the night; 

you reign forever and ever.

Amen. [19]



“Night Time”
By Anastasia Salo
(source)

The Ebba Compline 

(from the Northumbria Community’s Daily Prayers [20])

Ebba died in the year 683. She was the sister of Oswald and Oswy, who were both kings of Northumbria. She founded the ‘double’ (i.e. there were both men and women there) monastery at Coldingham, situated on St Abbs’s Head (which was subsequently named after her). 

Ebba was consecrated a nun by Aidan. Bede described her as ‘a pious woman and a handmaid of Christ.’ 

+ 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.) 

*  Find rest, O my soul, in God alone: my hope comes from Him. 

Come I this night to the Father, 

come I this night to the Son, 

come I to the Holy Spirit powerful: 

come I this night to God. 

Come I this night with Christ, 

come I with the Spirit of kindness. 

Come I to Thee, Jesus. 

Jesus, shelter me. 

*  I will lie down and sleep. 

I wake again, 

because the Lord sustains me. 

*  By day the Lord directs His love; 

at night His song is with me – 

a prayer to the God of my life. 

*  Be strong and take heart, 

all you who hope in the Lord. 

*  This dwelling, O God, by Thee be blest; 

and each one who here this night does rest. 

*  May God be in my sleep; 

may Christ be in my dreams. 

May the Spirit be in my repose, 

in my thoughts, in my heart. 

In my soul always may the Sacred Three dwell. 

May the Father of heaven 

have care of my soul, 

His loving arm about my body,

through each slumber 

and sleep of my life. 

The Son of God be shielding me from harm, 

the Son of God be shielding me from ill, 

the Son of God be shielding me with power. 

The Son of God be shielding me this night. 

*  Sleep, O sleep in the calm of each calm. 

Sleep, O sleep in the guidance of all guidance. 

Sleep, O sleep in the love of all loves. 

Sleep, O beloved, in the Lord of life. 

Sleep, O beloved, in the God of life.

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] WOOD, F. M. (2016). LITURGY OF SAINT JOHN THE DIVINE (Kindle ed.). Kellbridge Press.

[2] House, C. P. (2009). Psalms. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 862). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[3] Stratman, P. (2001). Confession. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 22). Rossway.

[4] 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

[5] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Exodus. In Chronological life application study Bible (p. 167). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[6] House, C. P. (2009). Exodus. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 126). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[7] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Exodus. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 146). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[8] House, C. P. (2009). Exodus. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 126). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[9] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Exodus. In Chronological life application study Bible (p. 167). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[10] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Exodus. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 146). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[11] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Exodus. In Chronological life application study Bible (p. 168). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[12] House, C. P. (2009). Exodus. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 126). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[13] Episcopal Church. (1979). Prayers and Thanksgivings. 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. 819). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[14] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 1 Peter. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1715). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[15] Ibid. 14, P. 1716

[16] Ibid. 14, P. 1716

[17] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). 1 Peter. 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. 5204). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[18] HOUSE, C. P. (2009). 1 Peter. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 2152). St. Louis, MO: CONCORDIA Publishing HSE.

[19] Stratman, P. (2001). Evening Prayers. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 20). Rossway.


[20] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Ebba Compline. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 92252 – 92290). London: HarperCollins.

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