March 5 Devotional (2021)

Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush…

March 5, 2021
Lent

Today’s Readings: PRAYER BEFORE AN EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE; Exodus 19:9b-15; Acts 7:30-40



Morning Invocation

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

Opening Prayer

O God Who art offended by transgression, and art appeased by penitence, behold the groaning of the afflicted, and mercifully turn away those evils which Thou dost justly permit, through our Lord Jesus Christ Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, One God world without end. [1]

The Hymn

“Eternal Lord of love, behold your Church”

By Thomas H. Cain, b. 1931

“The Confession of the Centurion”
By James Tissot
(source)

Morning Reading

PRAYER BEFORE AN EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE 

from St. Augustine’s Prayer Book [55]

        In preparation for making a sacramental confession, or simply as part of your prayer and self-reflection, these suggestions can help you reflect and consider your life and your actions in light of God’s grace and judgment. Take some pattern of Christian teaching—the Baptismal Promises, the Beatitudes, the Ten Commandments, or the Summary of the Law… Let them help you recognize sin as you think through your life—either through periods of time or in the different relationships that form your life. You might find it helpful to write briefly the ways in which you have failed or turned away from what is good and holy. 

        Do not be in a hurry, but do not vex yourself. Be as honest and thorough as you can be; this is all God asks of us. 

        If you come to a situation that you do not altogether understand, or that raises questions, make a note and take the question to someone with the experience and understanding to help clarify it. 

        As you prepare to name your sins before God or in confession, be careful that your recounting does not name others. While it is right and helpful to understand the influences on our actions, it is not helpful to use our confession to blame someone else. God knows us and all that has shaped our personality. Here, there is no need to explain or blame. 

        Do not let the weight of our sins or your inability to remember them all accurately trouble you. Remember you are trying to recall and confess them, not to be condemned, but to be forgiven. 

“A broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
— Psalm 51:18

GRACIOUS GOD, you created me of the dust of the earth and breathed life into me. Lord Jesus Christ, you sought out those who had no claim to holiness and who knew their need of your mercy; dying, you prayed for forgiveness, and, rising to new life, you spoke peace to your fearful disciples. Holy Spirit, your gifts are wisdom and counsel, you enlighten the mind and lead us to know what is right, good, and in accordance with God’s will. Amen. 

HOLY GOD, YOUR KNOWLEDGE of me exceeds what I grasp or see in any moment; you know me better than I know myself. Now, help me to trust in your mercy, to see myself in the light of your holiness, and grant me the grace that I may have true contrition, make an honest confession, and find in you forgiveness and perfect remission. Amen. 

Short Verse

Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth;* knit my heart to you that I may fear your Name. 

Psalm 86:11

Morning Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the Cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.

The Plea of the Church

Keep this your family, Lord, with your never-failing mercy, that relying solely on the help of your heavenly grace, they may be upheld by your divine protection; through Christ our Lord. Amen. [3]



Midday Reading: Exodus 19:9b-15

Preparation for the giving of the commandments

When Moses told the words of the people to the LORD, 10 the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments 11 and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. 13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall be stoned or shot; whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” 14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people; and they washed their garments. 15And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.”

Midday Lesson

Preparing to meet God

“Moses was told to consecrate the people. This meant getting them physically and spiritually ready to meet God. The people were to set themselves apart from sin and even ordinary daily routine in order to dedicate themselves to God. The act of washing and preparing served to get their minds and hearts ready. When we meet God for worship, we should set aside the cares and preoccupations of everyday life. Use your time of physical preparation to get your mind ready to meet God.” [4]

In verse 11, God told Moses that “the people would be able to see the cloud and lightning and hear the thunder (visible manifestation of God’s presence)…  The people were to come close to the mountain but not touch it (vv. 12-13).  God is holy, and people are sinners. Sinners could not approach God without being destroyed.” [5]

Sexual intercourse (v. 15) “rendered men ceremonially unclean for a short time (cf Lv 15:16-18).” [6] Furthermore, “the washing of clothes and refraining from wives [v. 14-15] speak of spiritual seed conceived through the love and fear of God in the spiritual womb, travailing and bringing forth the spirit of salvation [St. John of Damascus].” [7]

The  Cry of the Church

Even so come, Lord Jesus.

Midday Prayer

For the Church
O God of all the nations of the earth: Remember the multitudes who have been created in thine image but have not known the redeeming work of our Savior Jesus Christ; and grant that, by the prayers and labors of thy holy Church, they may be brought to know and worship thee as thou hast been revealed in thy Son; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. [8]



Henry Ossawa Tanner, Study for Moses and the Burning Bush, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum
(source)

Vespers Reading: Acts 7:30-40

God spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai

30 “Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush. 31 When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and as he drew near to look, there came the voice of the Lord: 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and did not dare to look. 33 Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.’35 “This Moses, whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’—this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. 37 This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers.’ 38 This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. He received living oracles to give to us. 39 Our fathers refused to obey him, but thrust him aside, and in their hearts they turned to Egypt, 40 saying to Aaron, ‘Make for us gods who will go before us. As for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’

Vespers Lesson

Christ at Mount Sinai

“This Angel of the Lord [v. 30] is the Son of God Himself, before He became Man.  Angel means ‘messenger’ and is a term used for the pre-eternal Christ as the Word of God, the One who speaks to the people (see Is 9:6). Note that this Angel speaks with the voice of the Lord (v. 31) and declares Himself to be God v. 32).” [9]

“The place of God’s revelation is holy ground, for God’s presence makes creation to be holy. Church buildings are included in this sanctified space because God’s revelation comes to the faithful there, and God’s presence is experienced through the sacraments there.” [10]
“The congregation of Israel under the Old Covenant was a type or picture of the New Covenant Church. Just as the Isrealite congregation journeyed with the Angel, now the Church journeys toward the Kingdom in the presence of Christ.” [11]

Short Verse

O God, you know my foolishness,* and my faults are not hidden from you. Answer me, O LORD, for your love is kind;* in your great compassion, turn to me. 

Vespers Prayer

Be favourable, spare us, O Lord: Be favourable, deliver us, O Lord: From all evil deliver us, O Lord: By Thy Cross deliver us. [12]



Movement of time. Winter. Night Painting by Kudarova Oksana
(source)

The Boisil Compline 

(from the Northumbria Community’s Daily Prayers [13]) 

+ 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.) 

*  Lord, You will keep us safe 

and protect us forever. 

I am placing my soul and my body 

in Thy safe keeping this night, O God, 

in Thy safe keeping, O Jesus Christ, 

in Thy safe keeping, O Spirit of perfect truth. 

The Three who would defend my cause 

be keeping me this night from harm. 

*  I call on You, O God, 

for You will answer me; 

give ear to me and hear my prayer. 

*  Show the wonder of Your great love,

You who save by Your right hand 

those who take refuge in You from their foes. 

*  Keep me as the apple of Your eye; 

hide me in the shadow of Your wings. 

Lighten my darkness, Lord. 

Let the light of Your presence 

dispel the shadows of night. 

*  Christ with me sleeping, 

Christ with me waking, 

Christ with me watching, 

each day and each night. 

*  Save us, Lord, while we are awake, 

guard us while we are asleep; 

that, awake, we may watch with Christ, 

and, asleep, may rest in His peace. 

God with me protecting, 

the Lord with me directing,

the Spirit with me strengthening 

for ever and for evermore. 

*  In the name of the Father precious, 

and of the Spirit of healing balm. 

In the name of the Lord Jesus, 

I lay me down to rest. 

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] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 92-93). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[3] 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

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

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

[6] Ibid. 5

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

[8] Episcopal Church. (1979). Collects: For Various Occasions. 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. 206). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[9] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Acts. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1511). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[10] Ibid. 9

[11] Ibid. 9, P. 1511-1512

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


[13] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Boisil Compline. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 92298-92324). London: HarperCollins.

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