May 18 Devotional (2021)

All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers…


May 18, 2021
Eastertide

Today’s Readings:   Numbers 8:5-22 ; THE THIRTEENTH STATION: THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY AND THE DISCIPLES REMAIN IN PRAYER (Acts 1:12-14) ; Titus 1:1-16


Invitatory

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. 

Alleluia!

Opening Prayer

Most merciful Father, You know our needs and the longings of our soul: Hear the prayers of those who have come here today to search Your Word. For those of us who come feeling broken, bring restoration. For those who come feeling weak, bring strength. For those who come weeping and filled with sorrow, bring joy and hope. For those who come with affliction, bring comfort and reprieve. For those who come with doubts, bring faith. For those who come feeling shame, bring liberation. For those who come feeling burdened, bring rest. For those who come feeling anxious, bring peace. This we ask through Your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Hymn

“The day of resurrection”


Morning Prayer

A Collect for Peace

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries; through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [2]

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. 

Alleluia!

Short Verse

May God himself order my days and make them acceptable in his sight. Blessed is the Lord always, my strength and my redeemer. 

Traditional
The Levites
(source)

Morning Reading: Numbers 8:5-22

The Levites consecrated for service

5 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 6 “Take the Levites from among the people of Israel and cleanse them. 7 Thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: sprinkle the water of purification upon them, and let them go with a razor over all their body, and wash their clothes and cleanse themselves. 8 Then let them take a bull from the herd and its grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, and you shall take another bull from the herd for a sin offering. 9 And you shall bring the Levites before the tent of meeting and assemble the whole congregation of the people of Israel. 10 When you bring the Levites before the LORD, the people of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites, 11 and Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD as a wave offering from the people of Israel, that they may do the service of the LORD. 12 Then the Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, and you shall offer the one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering to the LORD to make atonement for the Levites. 13 And you shall set the Levites before Aaron and his sons, and shall offer them as a wave offering to the LORD.

14 “Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the people of Israel, and the Levites shall be mine. 15 And after that the Levites shall go in to serve at the tent of meeting, when you have cleansed them and offered them as a wave offering. 16 For they are wholly given to me from among the people of Israel. Instead of all who open the womb, the firstborn of all the people of Israel, I have taken them for myself. 17 For all the firstborn among the people of Israel are mine, both of man and of beast. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I consecrated them for myself, 18 and I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the people of Israel. 19 And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and his sons from among the people of Israel, to do the service for the people of Israel at the tent of meeting and to make atonement for the people of Israel, that there may be no plague among the people of Israel when the people of Israel come near the sanctuary.”

20 Thus did Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the people of Israel to the Levites. According to all that the LORD commanded Moses concerning the Levites, the people of Israel did to them. 21 And the Levites purified themselves from sin and washed their clothes, and Aaron offered them as a wave offering before the LORD, and Aaron made atonement for them to cleanse them. 22 And after that the Levites went in to do their service in the tent of meeting before Aaron and his sons; as the LORD had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did to them.

Morning Lesson

Blood atonement 

“Before the Levites began to carry out their assignments (chs 3– 4), they were formally inducted into office (vv 5– 19). The rites included ceremonial and physical purification (vv 7– 8 ), the transfer of the people’s guilt to the Levites and from them to the sacrificial animals (vv 8– 12), the dedication of the Levites as a ‘wave offering’ (v 11).” [3]

“People’s sins were laid symbolically on the Levites as a substitutionary oblation (cf Lv 3: 12– 13 ). Levites in turn laid their hands on the heads of the bulls that were slain ‘to make atonement’ (v 12).” [4]

Verse 11 mentions a wave offering. What was that? “To perform this ritual, Aaron likely led them to the altar and then drew them back (Cf Lv 8: 27).” [5]

“Israel’s sin [was] transferred to the Levites, who [would then] transfer this sin to sacrificial animals. Only by the blood of sacrificial animals are the Levites cleansed of their sin and allowed to serve the priests of the Most High God. ‘It is the blood that makes atonement by the life’ (Lv 17: 11). At Calvary, Jesus redeemed all humans from sin (Heb 9: 15) as foreshadowed in the OT sacrifices. Rejoice, for Christ’s sacrifice sets you free! • ‘Lamb of God, pure and holy, Who on the cross didst suffer, Ever patient and lowly, Thyself to scorn didst offer. All sins Thou borest for us, Else had despair reigned o’er us: Have mercy on us, O Jesus! O Jesus!’ Amen.” [6]



Midday Prayer

For Quiet Confidence

O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee, to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [7]

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. 

Alleluia!

Short Verse

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving* and raise a loud shout to him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God,* and a great King above all gods. 

Psalm 95:2–3
The Virgin Mary and the Disciples in Prayer
(source)

Midday Reading: THE THIRTEENTH STATION: THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY AND THE DISCIPLES REMAIN IN PRAYER 

From St. Augustine’s Prayer Book [8]

Reading: Acts 1:12-14

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers. 

Oh, how good and pleasant it is, alleluia. 

When brethren live together in unity, alleluia. 

LET US PRAY. 

Gracious Lord, as you call us to yourself, you call us into companionship with all your people. Turn our hearts and our affections toward one another in charity, and let our prayer answer your own, that we may all be one. Amen. 

Joy filled the blessèd mother’s heart 

When she beheld her risen son 

And with th’ disciples she remained 

In prayer and fellowship divine.



Eventide Prayer

For Obedience.

O eternal God and merciful Father, grant, I humbly beseech Thee, that I may love all those things which Thou commandest, and desire that which Thou dost promise; that among  the sundry and manifold changes if the world, my heart may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

~ William Laud, Abp of Canterbury & Martyr [9]

Short Verse

I lie down and go to sleep;* I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. 

Psalm 3:5
Saint Titus
Bishop, Martyr and Companion of Paul
(source)

Evensong Reading: Titus 1:1-16

The ministry entrusted to Titus by Paul

Greeting

1 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their acknowledgement of the truth, which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began 3 and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;

4 To Titus, my true child in a common faith:

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

5 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— 6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 12 One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

Evensong Lesson

Characteristics of True and False leaders

“In the Roman world, a bondservant (Gr. doulos) [v. 1] was in an unenviable position: he had no name, rights, will, or even time of his own. But in the world of the OT, a bondservant was often the king’s right-hand man – one of the most honored titles. Moses and other OT prophets were the bondservants of the Lord. Paul, of course, knew of both usages. An apostle, ‘one sent out,’ was a New Covenant equivalent to a bondservant.” [10]

Acknowledgement (v. 1), epignosis in Greek, “is deeper than mental knowledge; it is experiential, not theoretical. Knowledge (the truth) and action (godliness) are a unity.” [11] Knowledge that does not change one’s life is of little use.

Verse 5 says, This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you… “When Paul evangelize an area, he did not leave it unattended (1co 3:6-10; Col 1:7).” [12]

“All Christians are priests in Christ.” [13] Candidates for the priesthood within the organized church “should exhibit a wholesome and united family life (v. 6),  control over passions and emotions (v. 7), loving and righteous relations with others (v. 8), and careful adherence to tradition (v. 9; see also 1Ti 3:1-16; 5:21; 2Ti 2:2).” [14]

In verse 9, Paul mentions Patmos, “a small rocky island 40 miles off the western coast of modern Turkey, 50 miles south of Ephesus, to which the Romans exiled criminals. John’s teaching must have been considered a seditious threat to the public interest if he was indeed a prisoner there.” [15]

“False leaders also exhibit certain characteristics. They upset rather than reconcile (v. 11), have an eye for personal profit (v. 11), lack discipline and integrity (vv. 12, 13), misjudge reality – here setting up external laws when the uncleanness is internal (vv. 14, 15), and are immoral. Bad theology leads to bad behavior (v. 16).” [16]


OPTIONAL FURTHER READING:
About Titus

Circumstances of Writing 

“As stated in the opening of each letter, Titus was written by Paul (Ti 1:1). However, many scholars today assume that Paul did not write them. This opinion is based on the differences from his other letters in vocabulary and style, alleged differences in theology, and uncertainties about where these letters fit chronologically in the life of the apostle. But the differences in style and vocabulary are not troublesome when one considers that authors often use different vocabulary when addressing different groups and situations. Rather than addressing churches in these letters, Paul was writing to coworkers who were in unique ministry settings. Hence we would expect different vocabulary. Also, the traditional view of the historical situation in which Paul wrote this letter is reasonable and defensible. Therefore, in spite of significant opposition by some scholars, there is a solid basis for accepting the Pastoral Epistles as Pauline.” [17]

“Paul most likely wrote Titus after the time covered in the book of Acts. Acts closes with Paul in prison. Traditionally it has been believed that Paul was released from this imprisonment, then continued his work around the Mediterranean, perhaps even reaching Spain (Rm 15:22-29). During this time, he visited Crete and other places. Titus was written during this period of further mission work. Titus had been left in Crete after the initial work to set up the church there (Ti 1:5). Eventually Paul was imprisoned again, and this led to his execution.” [18]

Contribution to the Bible 

“Titus is rich theologically and ethically. One of the key contributions is the clear way it shows the connection between doctrine and ethics, belief and behavior. While this letter was not intended to provide a detailed account of church government, it does provide some significant insights on this topic.” [19]

Structure 

“Titus follows the typical pattern of a Greek epistle. While there are some lexical differences with many of Paul’s other letters, keep in mind that this letter is written to a specific individual. One thing unique to the structure of this letter is the focus on church leadership.” [20]

Chrysostom on Titus 2:11-12 

“You hear that the prophets foretold and predicted that men will no longer be bound to come from all over the earth to offer sacrifice in one city or in one place but that each one will sit in his own home and pay service and honor to God. What time other than the present could you mention as fulfilling these prophecies? At any rate listen to how the Gospels and the apostle Paul agree with Zephaniah. The prophet said:  The Lord shall appear’; Paul said: ‘The grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people.’ Zephaniah said: ‘To all nations’; Paul said: ‘To all people.’ Zephaniah said: ‘He will make their gods waste away’; Paul said: ‘training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions and to live sober, upright and godly lives in this world.'” [21]


Compline Prayer 

Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit; For you have redeemed me, O Lord, O God of truth. Keep me, O Lord, as the apple of your eye; Hide me under the shadow of your wings. †

Lord, you now have set your servant free to go in peace as you have promised; for these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, whom you have prepared for all the world to see: a Light to enlighten the nations, and the glory of your people Israel. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. 

Alleluia!


Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers 

Citations:

[1] N/A

[2] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office. 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. 99). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated

[3] A., E. E. (2016). Numbers. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 1281). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[4] Ibid. 3

[5] Ibid. 3

[6] Ibid. 3, P. 1282

[7] 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. 832). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[8] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 227). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[9] LAUD, W. (1855). Tuesday Compline: For Obedience. In The Private Devotions of Dr. William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr (Ebook ed., p. 21). London and Oxford: John Henry & Jas. Parker.

[10] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Titus. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1679). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[11] Ibid. 10

[12] Ibid. 10

[13] Ibid. 10

[14] Ibid. 10

[15] Ibid. 10

[16] Ibid. 10

[17] Titus. (2019). In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 3432). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[18] Ibid. 17

[19] Ibid. 17

[20] Ibid. 17

[21] Ibid. 17

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