March 26 Devotional (2021)

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may shine as stars in the world..

March 26, 2021
Lent

Today’s Readings: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Jeremiah 33:1-13; Philippians 2:12-18



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

(adapted from THE SHORT BREVIARY [2])

Father of mercies infinite 

Ruling all things that be, 

Who shrouded in the depth and height 

Are One, and yet are Three: 

Accept our words, accept our tears, 

A mingled stream we pour; 

Such stream the laden bosom cheers 

To taste Your sweetness more. 

Most holy Father hear my cry 

Through Jesus Christ the Lord Most High, 

Who with the Holy Ghost and Thee 

Shall live and reign eternally.


Morning Reading: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

Blessed is the one who comes

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

his steadfast love endures forever!

Let Israel say,

“His steadfast love endures forever.”

Open to me the gates of righteousness,

that I may enter through them

and give thanks to the Lord.

This is the gate of the Lord;

the righteous shall enter through it.

I thank you that you have answered me

and have become my salvation.

The stone that the builders rejected

has become the chief cornerstone.

This is the Lord’s doing;

it is marvelous in our eyes.

This is the day that the Lord has made;

let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!

O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.

We bless you from the house of the Lord.

The Lord is God,

and he has given us light.

Bind the festal procession with branches,

up to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;

you are my God, I will extol you.

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

for his steadfast love endures forever.

Short Verse

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

John 17:17

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.

PRAYER AFTER CONFESSION

I THANK THEE, MY GOD, for forgiving my sins through the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ my Savior. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his Holy Name. Amen. [3]



Midday Reading: Jeremiah 33:1-13

God will restore and cleanse from sin

1 The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the guard: 2 “Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it—the LORD is his name: 3 Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. 4 For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city and the houses of the kings of Judah that were torn down to make a defense against the siege mounds and against the sword: 5 They are coming in to fight against the Chaldeans and to fill them with the dead bodies of men whom I shall strike down in my anger and my wrath, for I have hidden my face from this city because of all their evil. 6 Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security. 7 I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first. 8 I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me. 9 And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.

10 “Thus says the LORD: In this place of which you say, ‘It is a waste without man or beast,’ in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man or inhabitant or beast, there shall be heard again 11 the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD:

“‘Give thanks to the LORD of hosts,

for the LORD is good,

for his steadfast love endures forever!’

For I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the LORD.12 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: In this place that is waste, without man or beast, and in all of its cities, there shall again be habitations of shepherds resting their flocks. 13 In the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the Shephelah, and in the cities of the Negeb, in the land of Benjamin, the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, flocks shall again pass under the hands of the one who counts them, says the LORD.

Midday Lesson

Jeremiah’s last days

In today’s reading, “Jerusalem’s last days are sketched in terse language suggesting the frantic efforts to save the city. Houses were wrecked for material to replace gaps in the walls (Is 22:10).” [4]

Verse 5 says, “They are coming in to fight against the Chaldeans and to fill them with the dead bodies of men whom I shall strike down in my anger and my wrath, for I have hidden my face from this city because of all their evil.” “Bodies, not reinforcements, would fill the buildings.” [5] Yet, the people have reason to hope…

In verse 9, the Lord says, “And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.” “No longer [would] the nations ‘be horrified… because of all its wounds’ (18:16; 19:8)… Jerusalem would become a renewed power.” [6]
Verse 13 says, “In the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the Shephelah, and in the cities of the Negeb, in the land of Benjamin, the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, flocks shall again pass under the hands of the one who counts them, says the LORD.” The phrase under their hands in this verse refers to “the method by which a shepherd would count the sheep in the morning and evening as they walked out of or into the sheepfold.” [7]

[8]

“Eventually, the Lord [would] restore the fortunes of His people, and the empty streets [would] once again ring with joy and laughter. God’s discipline [had to] work itself out at this point before He [would] show mercy to His rebellious people. God plan[ned] a wonderful future for His people, ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ.” [9]

“In the midst of our struggles, it may seem like we will never be freed and things will never get better. But Christ will return to this world and restore His creation, and whatever physical ill that afflicts us will be gone forever as our body is made glorious and immortal forever.” [10]

Strengthen us, O Lord, in trial and temptation. Keep our eyes on Christ and on our heavenly home. Amen.” [11]

Short Verse

And Jesus said unto them, “Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.”

Matthew 9:15

Midday Prayer

For Education

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom: Enlighten by thy Holy Spirit those who teach and those who learn, that, rejoicing in the knowledge of thy truth, they may worship thee and serve thee from generation to generation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. [12]



  This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of the cluster Westerlund 2 and its surroundings has been released to celebrate Hubble’s 25th year in orbit and a quarter of a century of new discoveries, stunning images and outstanding science. The image’s central region, containing the star cluster, blends visible-light data taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys and near-infrared exposures taken by the Wide Field Camera 3. The surrounding region is composed of visible-light observations taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys. (source)

Evensong Reading: Philippians 2:12-18

Shine like stars in the world

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as stars in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

Evensong Lesson

Live with righteousness 

“[B]ecause of Christ’s sacrifice, we are to take hold of what God offers, accepting His grace and work toward becoming mature in Christ.” [13] “God’s action is the cause of the Philippians’ salvation and good works… The congregation cannot boast about its accomplishments, least of all their salvation. Paul commanded that fear and trembling accompany the lives of believers to keep our rebellious, sinful human nature (Rm 5:6-10) subdued in the service of God and our neighbor.” [14]

“We live with our fallen human nature. But God works in us by subduing our sinful nature, regenerating our souls, and giving us His Spirit of grace… God is pleased when His creation lives and thrives, meets all its potential, and has life to the fullest.” [15]

“God provides regeneration so that by His Word in Spirit we are a new creation according to the inner person. This nature, generated by God Himself, is inclined to live as His child… Everything that is wrong with us has been forgiven by the Lord Jesus. According to our new nature, there is nothing wrong (1Jn 3:8-9)… God created us to live in perfect harmony with Him, His creation, and one another at every point of contact, in every way. Since the fall, our human nature contradicts that design at every point; nothing matches or fits right… Light  directed or reflected. We reflect God’s light (His truth and grace) by receiving it and directing that light to shine on others.” [16]

“God gives life through the Word, as creation and the Gospel show… Paul took pride in the Word of God he preached… Paul uses the word ‘walk’ to describe the Christian life… Life is active, with a path to follow, and a goal. Because Paul’s life was vigorous, he ran rather than walked. He laboured because of his confidence in the word of God.” [17]

“Faith produces a sacrificial attitude (cf vv 4-8), which frees us to lay down our temporary physical life in the interest of eternal life (Rm 12:1-3).” [18]

“Service is literally ‘liturgy.’ St. Paul sees himself being poured out as an offering, a participation in Christ’s sacrifice, for he also participates in Christ’s sufferings. In all this, we see the attitude that prevailed throughout the early Church: there is no separation between worship and life. To worship Christ is to live for Him and in Him.” [19]

“Paul’s exhortation flows from the previous section revealing the significance of Jesus’s life and sacrifice. Like Paul, our labor would be meaningless and of no use to others if we lived crookedly and perversely as the world around us lives. But God is at work in us moving us to hold fast to His word of life by which He extends His image and kingdom to others. ●  Dear Lord Jesus please work in us to will and to do your good pleasure that we may be blameless in this crooked generation and blameless in the day of your return. Amen.” [20]

Short Verse

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

John 13:1

Evensong 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. [21]



The Boisil Compline 

(from the Northumbria Community’s Daily Prayers [22])

+ 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] Tickle, P. (2006). March. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 233). New York, NY: Image Books

[3] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 103). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[4] House, C. P. (2009). Jeremiah. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 1262). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[5] Ibid. 4

[6] Ibid. 4

[7] Ibid. 4, P. 1263

[8] House, C. P. (2009). Color Map 2: Old Testament Regions [Image]. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[9] House, C. P. (2009). Jeremiah. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 1263). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[10] Palmer, W. (2018). PROMISES OF RESTORATION AND THE NEW COVENANT—JEREMIAH 30–33. In Books of the Bible Study Questions: Jeremiah (PDF ed., pp. 21). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. Retrieved at: https://communication.cph.org/hubfs/_books/2018/Books%20of%20the%20Bible%20Study%20Questions/Jeremiah%20Bible%20Study%20Questions%20201810010900_prf.pdf?hsCtaTracking=ff268b99-fa22-4703-b11e-7e9ba928e743%7C07e92f41-f826-405a-badd-74fdcf6a50b5

[11] House, C. P. (2009). Jeremiah. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 1263). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[12] Episcopal Church. (1979). Collects. 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. 209). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[13] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Philippians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1644). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[14] House, C. P. (2009). Philippians. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 2035). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[15] Ibid. 14

[16] Ibid. 14

[17] Ibid. 14

[18] Ibid. 14

[19] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Philippians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1644). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[20] House, C. P. (2009). Philippians. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 2035). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

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


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

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