March 16 Devotional (2021)

“Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water…”

March 16, 2021

Today’s Readings: Self-reflection on Greed; Numbers 20:1-13; 1 Corinthians 10:6-13

Morning Invocation

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

Opening Prayer

You are our hope and salvation.

You are our life and strength.

You are our helper in troubles.

You are our defender throughout life in all things, 

God of Israel; 

who lives and reigns,

one God, now and forever. 

Amen. [1]

The Hymn

“On the Crucifixion” 

By Samuel Wesley

Behold the Savior of mankind 

Nailed to the shameful tree; 

How vast the love that him inclined 

To bleed and die for me! 

Hark how he groans! While nature shakes, 

And earth’s strong pillars bend! 

The temple’s veil in sunder breaks, 

The solid marbles rend. 

It’s done! The precious ransom’s paid! 

“Receive my soul!” he cries; 

See how he bows his sacred head! 

He bows his head and dies! 

But soon he’ll break death’s envious chain 

And in full glory shine. 

O Lamb of God, was ever pain, 

Was ever love, like thine? [2]

By Crescent Seo

Morning Reading

Self-reflection on Greed

From St. Augustine’s Prayer Book [3]

GREED is the refusal to respect the integrity of other creatures and the desire or the actual misuse of things or people. It is expressed in the inordinate accumulation of material things, in the use of other persons for personal advantage, or in the quest for status, power, or security. 

Inordinate ambition: Pursuit of status, power, influence, reputation, or possession at the expense of the moral law, of one’s other obligations, or in disregard of the rights and well-being of others. Ruthless or unfair competition. Putting self or family or other connections first. Participation in what we know to be dishonest or wrong in order to get ahead. Intrigue or conspiracy for self-advancement. 

Domination: Seeking to use or control others for our own ends or needs; overprotection of children or other dependents. Refusal to correct or punish them for fear of losing affection. Insistence that they conform to our ideal or expectations though it be contrary to their own vocation and interests. Imposing our will on others by force, guile, whining, or by withholding affections or support. Putting others in a position of dependence or compliance in an unfair manner. Any habit of using others for our own comfort or well-being or seeing them only in relation to our desires or needs. 

Favoritism: Partiality, flattery, or fawning to win support or affection. Dishonest praise and refusal to speak for what is true or right in order to ingratiate oneself. Silence in the face of prejudice, abuse, bullying, or cruelty for fear or for desire of favor or acceptance. Leading or encouraging others toward sin in order to be held in esteem or respect. 

Avarice: Inordinate pursuit of wealth or material things. Theft or dishonesty. Failure to pay fair and reasonable wages. Cheating in business, taxes, academic work, or at games. Making worldly success the goal of our life and the standard for judging others. Use of funds or resources we hold in trust for our own benefit. 

Prodigality: Waste of resources. Waste of personal possessions or misuse of things held in trust for another. Extravagances and expenditures beyond our income to impress others or satisfy our own desires. Failing to pay debts or honor obligations. Gambling more than we can afford to lose or in a desperate attempt to gain wealth. Waste of possessions that are needed for the welfare of those dependent on us. Contempt of normal restraints and disregard of those with less than we have. Waste of natural resources. 

Miserliness: Undue protection of wealth. Delight in wealth as an end in itself. Stinginess. Accepting others’ support when we could provide for our own needs. Refusal to support those who have a rightful claim on us. Refusal to develop the habit of generous giving to church and institutions that serve the common good. Lack of gratitude and joy in the material blessings we have received.

By Jorge Cortés

Short Verse

As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters,* and the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to you, O LORD our God. adapted from 

Psalm 123:2–3

Morning Prayer

O Lord, 

let everyone hear you,

let the rich and the poore bow down their hearts to you. 

May our souls seek you alone. 

May we praise you, with all your saints in eternal joy, 

and find you our exceedingly great reward.

Amen. [4]

The Plea of the Church

Look with compassion, O Lord, upon this your people; that, rightly observing this holy season, they may learn to know you more fully, and to serve you with a more perfect will; through Christ our Lord. Amen. [5]

“Moses Striking Water from the Rock
end of the 16th century
Attributed to Jacob de Backer

Midday Reading: Numbers 20:1-13

God gives water from the rock

1 And the people of Israel, the whole congregation, came into the wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh. And Miriam died there and was buried there.

2 Now there was no water for the congregation. And they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. 3 And the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Would that we had perished when our brothers perished before the LORD! 4 Why have you brought the assembly of the LORD into this wilderness, that we should die here, both we and our cattle? 5 And why have you made us come up out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place? It is no place for grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, and there is no water to drink.” 6 Then Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting and fell on their faces. And the glory of the LORD appeared to them, 7 and the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 8 “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.” 9 And Moses took the staff from before the LORD, as he commanded him.

10 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. 12 And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” 13 These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the LORD, and through them he showed himself holy.

Gioacchino Assereto, Moses and the Isrealites after the Miracle of Water from the Rock
Italian, c. 1640
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

Midday Lesson

Moses draws water from a rock

“The Desert of Sin [Zin] was characterised as a place where nothing is sown, neither figs nor vines nor pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink (v. 5). The people had the opportunity to respond in one of two ways: be thankful or be frustrated. They chose frustration.” [6]

“Moses struck the rock in unbelief, and this action would keep him from leading Israel into the land of promise. It is unbelief to disobey the Lord’s direction, for He told Moses to take the rod and speak to the rock (v. 8). However, he struck the rock twice. So he had violated the type. The rock represented the spiritual Rock, Christ Himself, for it was He who ordered Moses to speak to the rock (1Co 10:4). After His Incarnation, He would be smitten once, not twice, for the sins of the world (Rom 6:10). From His life-giving cross would come the waters of life, ‘springing up into everlasting life’ (Jn 4:14).” [7]

“This event in vv. 1-12 was called the Water of Contention for two reasons: first, because of Israel’s scoffing, and second, because the Lord was sanctified among them. In spite of Israel’s scoffing, Christ in His power gave them water to drink.” [8]

Joachim Wtewael, Moses Striking the Rock
Dutch, 1624
Washington, National Gallery of Art

Short Verse

I will bless the Lord at all times And his praise shall be always in my mouth. Glory to the Father and the Son And the eternal Spirit. 


Midday Prayer

For those in the Armed Forces of our Country

Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [9]

“The Faithful Hound”
By Sir Edwin Landseer RA (1802 – 1873)

Vespers Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:6-13

God is faithful

1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” 8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Vespers Lesson

Israel’s unfaithfulness

“Paul often uses I do not want you to be unaware or a similar formula (Rom 11:25; 12:1; 2Co 2:1; 1Th 4:13) to introduce a matter vital to the Christian faith.” [10]

“Israel’s liberation from Egypt by Moses prefigures our liberation from sin by Christ. The cloud is a symbol of the Holy Spirit; the sea, of water and baptism; the Rock (v. 4), of the body of Christ, His humanity; and the spiritual drink, of Christ’s blood. Jesus Himself linked these events of the Passover with the Eucharist when He established it (Mt 26:17-29).” [11]

“In spite of her baptism in the Red Sea (v. 2) and her spiritual eating and drinking (vv. 3, 4), Israel still fell into idolatry and sexual immorality.” [12]

“The lessons of the OT, here those surrounding the Passover (vv. 1-5), are examples for us, that we might not repeat the same mistakes.” [13]

Short Verse

Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry;…For I am but a sojourner with you,* a wayfarer, as all my forebears were. 

Psalm 39:13–14

Vespers Prayer

Hear, O Lord, your servants, offering evening praises to your Name. Through the silent hours of the night deign to watch over us, whom You have protected in all dangers of the day. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Anglo-Saxon, Traditional [14]

John Singer Sargent, “Repose (Nonchaloire),” 1911

The Cuthbert Compline 

(from the Northumbria Community’s Daily Prayers [15])

+ 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.) 

*  I will lie down and sleep in peace 

for You alone, Lord,

make me dwell in safety. 

O God, and Spirit, and Jesu, the Three, 

from the crown of my head, O Trinity, 

to the soles of my feet mine offering be. 

Come I unto Thee, O Jesu, my King – 

O Jesu, do Thou be my sheltering. 

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

in every place where they are. 

*  Whoever has chosen to make 

the shelter of the Most High their dwelling place 

will stay in His over-shadowing. 

*  He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; 

He is my God, and I am trusting Him. 

*  He will rescue you from the traps laid for your feet, 

and save you from the destroying curse. 

*  His faithful promises are your armour. 

You need no longer be afraid of any terror by night, 

or the death-arrow that flies by day. 

*  The Lord Himself is your refuge; 

you have made the Most High your stronghold. 

*  Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe, 

for You are my crag and my stronghold. 

*  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 will not lie down tonight with sin, 

nor shall sin,

nor sin’s shadow, 

lie down with me. 

O God of life, this night, 

O darken not to me Thy light. 

O God of life, this night, 

close not Thy gladness to my sight. 

O God of life, this night, 

Thy door to me, O shut not tight, 

O God of life, this night. 

O darken not to me Thy light. 

*  Be it on Thine own beloved arm, 

O God of grace, 

that I in peace shall waken. 

(For optional use, sung as a hymn or spoken reflectively by individual readers.) 

As the bridegroom to his chosen, 

as the king unto his realm, 

as the keep unto the castle, 

as the pilot to the helm, 

so, Lord, art Thou to me. 

As the fountain in the garden, 

as the candle in the dark, 

as the treasure in the coffer, 

as the manna in the ark,

so, Lord, art Thou to me. 

As the music at the banquet, 

as the stamp unto the seal, 

as the medicine to the fainting, 

as the wine-cup at the meal,

so, Lord, art Thou to me. 

As the ruby in the setting, 

as the honey in the comb, 

as the light within the lantern,

as the father in the home, 

so, Lord, art Thou to me. 

As the sunshine in the heavens, 

as the image in the glass, 

as the fruit unto the fig-tree, 

as the dew unto the grass, 

so, Lord, art Thou to me. 

*  Jesu, Son of Mary! 

my helper, my encircler. 

Jesu, Son of David! 

my strength everlasting. 

Jesu, Son of Mary! 

my helper, my encircler. 

The peace of all peace be mine this night 

+  in the name of the Father, 

and of the Son, 

and of the Holy Spirit. 


Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers


[1] Stratman, P. (2001). Morning Prayers. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 15). Rossway.

[2] Tickle, P. (2006). March. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 192). New York, NY: Image Books

[3] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 97-98). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[4] Stratman, P. (2001). Lent. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 75). Rossway.

[5] The Episcopal Church. (2018). Seasonal Blessings. In The Book of Occasional Services (PDF ed., p. 12). Then Episcopal Church. Retrieved November December 15, 2020, from

[6] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Numbers. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 241). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Ibid. 6

[8] Ibid. 6

[9] 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. 823). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[10] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 1 Corinthians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1593). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[11] Ibid. 10

[12] Ibid. 10

[13] Ibid. 10

[14] Tickle, P. (2006). February. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 47). New York, NY: Image Books.

[15] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Cuthbert Compline. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 92138-92194). London: HarperCollins.

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