March 11 Devotional (2021)

When I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.

March 11, 2021
Lent

Today’s Readings: Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22; Genesis 9:8-17; Ephesians 1:3-6



Morning Invocation

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

Opening Prayer

We pray to you, O Most High,

as the light of the sun comes forth,

may the name of Christ arise 

and be with us, Lord; 

you reign forever. [1]

The Hymn

“O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing”

By Charles Wesley

Lyrics:

O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise, 

The glories of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace! 

My gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim, 

To spread through all the earth abroad the honors of your name. 

Jesus! The name that charms our fears, that bids our sorrows cease; 

’Tis music in the sinner’s ears, ’tis life, and health, and peace. 

He breaks the power of canceled sin, he sets the prisoner free; 

His blood can make the foulest clean; his blood availed for me. 

He speaks, and listening to his voice, new life the dead receive; 

The mournful, broken hearts rejoice, the humble poor believe. 

In Christ, your head, you then shall know, shall feel your sins forgiven; 

Anticipate your heaven below, and own that love in heaven. [2]


“Field of Joy”
By Tara Thelen
(source)

Morning Reading: Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22

God delivers from distress

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;

for his steadfast love endures forever.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,

those he redeemed from trouble

and gathered in from the lands,

from the east and from the west,

from the north and from the south.

Some were sick through their sinful ways,

and because of their iniquities endured affliction;

they loathed any kind of food,

and they drew near to the gates of death.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

and he saved them from their distress;

he sent out his word and healed them,

and delivered them from destruction.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,

for his wonderful works to humankind.

And let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices,

and tell of his deeds with songs of joy.

Short Verse

I will call upon God,* and the LORD will deliver me. In the evening, in the morning, and at the noonday, I will complain and lament,* and he will hear my voice. He will bring me safely back…God, who is enthroned of old, will hear me. 

Psalm 55:17f

Morning Prayer

Holy among the holy, 

immaculate Lamb,

glorious in the heavens,

wonderful on earth, grant us, 

O Lord, by our great mercy,

O God, what we ask and pray; 

you reign forever and ever.

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]



Double rainbow and supernumerary rainbows on the inside of the primary arc. The shadow of the photographer’s head on the bottom marks the centre of the rainbow circle (antisolar point).
(source)

Midday Reading: Genesis 9:8-17

The covenant with Noah

8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

Photograph by by John McSporran
(source)

Midday Lesson

The message of every rainbow

“Noah’s seed is Christ (Lk 3:23, 36), and the everlasting covenant (v. 16) is the new covenant God established in Him. God’s rainbow in the clouds is His sign of the covenant.” [5]

In today’s reading, “God included a word of assurance to future generations… God’s covenants are unilateral; He obligates Himself to observe the terms of His own contract (here, a reassurance to the flood’s survivors after their fearsome experience).” [6] While the covenant established in today’s reading “will only last until the end of time, it is also associate with God’s everlasting covenant relationship with His chosen people.” [7] God will always be faithful to His covenants he made.

“When the marvelous rainbow appear[ed], believers [would] recall with joy its God-given significance… Natural laws that produced rainbows were already in existence, but now they would work their giant wonders in the sky with particular significance.” [8]

“After the fearsome yearlong experience on the ark, God reassur[ed] Noah and his family that He will never again send a universal flood. As time would soon tell and continues to tell, no amount of amazing rescues and rainbow sightings can keep humankind, including God’s own people, from falling into sin. But God is faithful to His covenants, even when people are not. The massage of every rainbow tells us He is faithful to His promise to provide a Savior. ● O God, for Jesus’ sake, grant that every sighting of a rainbow may bring to mind Your promises of grace and mercy. Amen.” [9]


OPTIONAL FURTHER READING:
The Flood
The Flood

“In contrast to the goodness that God saw in creation in Genesis 1, here God sees such human wickedness that it causes God to be grieved and to regret having created humanity. The violation of the boundary between divine and human seems implicated in the spread of wickedness. God’s response is to wipe out humanity with a flood. The present account combines a Priestly version with other materials attributed to the J source. In 7:11, the Priestly writer explains the flood in terms of a reversal of the process of creation described in Genesis 1. There, God separated the waters by creating a dome to hold back the waters above the sky and separated the land from the waters below. Here, God allows the waters to burst through the open windows in the dome, and the waters from under the earth to gush forth so that the earth disappears. See Figure 1, rg 122.” [10]

“The story bears strong resemblance to a flood tradition preserved in stories from Mesopotamia. One version is well preserved in the second part of a lengthy narrative, Atrahasis, the first part of which describes the creation of humans from the earth to relieve the gods of their difficult labor. In the second part, the rationale for the gods’ sending the flood is that the rapidly expanding human population is making so much noise that the gods cannot sleep. The gods resolve to wipe them out with a series of plagues, the third of which is a universal flood. Ea (the god of magic and wisdom) tips off his favorite human, Atrahasis, who builds a boat and rides out the flood. In the absence of human servants, however, the gods come to regret their decision. When Atrahasis is found, the gods are relieved and create anew, but this time with inbuilt population control devices, e.g., infancy diseases, and an order of celibate women. In contrast to Atrahasis, in Genesis what prompts God to enact the flood is human wickedness rather than an inability to sleep because of human noise. Moreover, rather than a self-serving motive like that of the gods in Atrahasis, the turning point in Genesis is God’s concern for humanity: God “remembers” Noah (8:1). This is the first of several instances in the Pentateuch in which God “remembers” and then rescues, culminating in God’s remembering of the covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, leading to the rescue of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt (Ex 2:24–25).” [11]

“After the flood, Noah’s family represents humanity’s new beginning. God addresses Noah in words partially quoting God’s instructions to the first humans (Gn 1:28). Making a covenant with Noah, preserving his family, and promising never to destroy the earth by flood, dramatize God’s desire and capacity to preserve a favorable relationship with humanity, even in the wake of violence and destruction. Alongside God’s promise, however, comes legislation concerning murder and the symbolically related prohibition against eating meat with blood in it. It is as if each time people consume meat, not consuming its blood serves as a reminder of the sacredness of life. This is the origin of the Jewish practice of salting meat in order to absorb the blood before cooking. The explanation in Lv 17 supplements this theology.” [12]


Short Verse

Bow down before the Lord. 

Midday Prayer

For Congress or a State Legislature
O God, the fountain of wisdom, whose will is good and gracious, and whose law is truth: We beseech thee so to guide and bless our Senators and Representatives in Congress assembled (or in the Legislature of this State, or Common-wealth), that they may enact such laws as shall please thee, to the glory of thy Name and the welfare of this people; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [13]



A “Blue Marble” image of the Earth taken from the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA’s most recently launched Earth-observing satellite, Suomi NPP. This composite image uses a number of swaths of the Earth’s surface taken on Jan. 4, 2012. (Image credit: NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring)
(source)

Vespers Reading: Ephesians 1:3-6

Blessed be God, who chose us in Christ

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 

Vespers Lesson

God is the initiator

“God blesses and so is blessed. The Christian life is a response to God’s initiative, especially that of the Father but also that of the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Spiritual blessing is primarily the work of the Spirit. The heavenly places, where the risen and ascended Christ reigns, are experienced in Christ, that is, by the life that is begun when one is joined with Christ in baptism (Rom 6:3-5).” [14]

“Everything comes from God, and everything should be drawn back to Him.  God’s original intent for the Incarnation was not redemption from the Fall but adoption as sons of God (v. 5), that is, deification. For when God contemplated creating the world, He planned on bringing it into union with Himself through the Incarnation of His Son, that is, through the Son’s union with human nature. Set is why Saint Athanasius [could] say, ‘God became man that may and might become God.’” [15]

“The Father chose us (v. 4) in Him, the Son. Christ, who is God by nature, became Man by choice. If we choose Him, we, who are human by nature, become ‘gods’ by grace. If we are in Christ, the Son of God, we are sons of God. Paul is not addressing individuals as such but us, the community, the Church. And he is not addressing the issue of human will in salvation but the will of God, which is that all are chosen (see Rom 11:32; 1Ti 2:4; 2Pt 3:9). But being predestined (v. 5) by God does not nullify human will: in everything, God is the originator, the initiator; we merely respond, but our response is necessary. Becoming a Christian is not so much inviting Christ into one’s life as getting oneself into Christ’s life. What is true of Christ must become true of one who is in Him.” [16]

This is described in our Articles of Religion of the Anglican Church, specifically, Article XVII: Of Predestination and Election [17].

Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of

the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from

curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring

them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which

be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God’s purpose by his

Spirit working in due season: they through Grace obey the calling: they be justified freely:

they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only-begotten

Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God’s mercy, they

attain to everlasting felicity…

Furthermore, we must receive God’s promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth to

us in Holy Scripture: and, in our doings, that Will of God is to be followed, which we

have expressly declared unto us in the word of God.

“Anglicanism was careful not to depart from antique teaching. Henry, no less than Elizabethan Articles, refuted Calvin’s ‘irresistible grace’. Anglicanism indeed taught man might resist grace (article 16). That being said, it is also true by Anglican theology that man is not saved by ‘freewill alone’ (sola arbitrium). Man has an inability to turn to God unless working with grace. A preventing grace is thus required to free man’s will from original corruption, so man might then desire God’s generous help and benefit. The thirty-nine articles plainly say regarding this ‘preventing’ grace:” [18]

The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us that we may have a good will, and working with us when we have that good will. (Article 10) 

Thus, “Anglicanism teaches that grace woos the soul and that man must cooperate freely with God’s grace. God always acts first through prevenient grace [and no one can come to faith without God’s grace], but man must cooperate with that grace. We are predestined, yet free.” [19] As Proverbs 9:6 says, “Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”

Short Verse

It is better to rely on the LORD* than to put any trust in flesh. It is better to rely on the LORD* than to put any trust in rulers. 

Psalm 118:8–9

Vespers Prayer

O Lord God,

Life of mortals,

Light of the faithful,

Strength of those who labor,

and the rest for your saints, 

give us a peaceful night 

free of all trouble,

that after quiet sleep 

we may enjoy your blessings 

at the return of the light,

and be empowered by your Holy Spirit,

and moved to give you thanks.

Amen.

Mozarabic Rite, 7th-8th Century [20]



“ROAD TO MILKY WAY” CAPTURED ON A FARM TRACK THAT DOUBLES AS A ROUTE TO THE COASTAL PATH IN DURLSTON COUNTRY PARK. THIS BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY PARK NEAR SWANAGE IS JUST A SMALL PART OF THE JURASSIC COAST.  CLEAR SKIES AND A WARM NIGHT SO A CAPTURE OF THE MILKY WAY WAS IN ORDER.
(source)

The Ebba Compline 

(from the Northumbria Community’s Daily Prayers [21])

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

[2] Tickle, P. (2006). March. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 174). New York, NY: Image Books

[3] Stratman, P. (2001). Lent. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 75). 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] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Genesis. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 95). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[6] House, C. P. (2009). Genesis. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 28). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[7] Ibid. 6

[8] Ibid. 6

[9] Ibid. 6, P. 29

[10] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). Genesis. 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. 243). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[11] Ibid. 10

[12] Ibid. 10, P. 244

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

[14] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Ephesians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1629). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[15] Ibid. 14

[16] Ibid. 14

[17] Episcopal Church. (1979). Historical Documents of the Church: Articles of Religion. 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. 871). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[18] Article on freewill. (2013, December 20). Retrieved February 15, 2021, from https://anglicanrose.blog/2009/12/22/article-on-freewill/

[19] Novak, V. E. (2012, April 10). Catholicism, Calvinism And The Thirty-nine Articles: VirtueOnline – The Voice for Global Orthodox Anglicanism. Retrieved December 26, 2020, from https://virtueonline.org/catholicism-calvinism-and-thirty-nine-articles

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


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

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