June 12 Devotional (2021)

“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground…”

June 12, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings:   “Restoration song” by Gerry Tuohy / 2 Kings 14:1-14 / Mark 4:1-20

Invitatory

O Lord, open thou our lips. 

And our mouth shall show forth thy praise.

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.

Hymn

“Wade in the Water”

Morning Prayer

BEFORE READING THE GOSPEL 

O Master, Lover of mankind, make the pure light of Your divine knowledge shine in our hearts, and open the eyes of our mind that we may understand the message of Your Gospel. Implant in us the fear of Your blessed commandments, so that, having trampled down all carnal desires, we may pursue a spiritual way of life, thinking and doing all things that are pleasing to You. For You are the illumination of our souls and bodies, O Christ our God, and to You we give glory, together with Your Eternal Father and Your All-holy, Good, and Life-giving Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages. 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

Wake up, my spirit; awake, lute and harp;* I myself will waken the dawn. 

Psalm 108:2
Manna from heaven: illumination from the Maciejowski Bible, Paris, 1240s. Morgan Library MS M.638, fol. 9v (detail).
(source)

Morning Reading

“Restoration song” 

God called forth a people, and we responded to His call, 

‘Rebuild this ancient ruin, restore my city walls.’ 

He has led us day by day, as we listened to His voice, 

and we were fed on finest wheat, and manna from the skies. 

When we started, we were strangers. 

We hardly knew each other’s names. 

Now we are brothers and sisters, 

and we will never be the same. 

As we built, brick by brick, we discovered the corner stone, 

and as we let Him mould and fashion us, He built us up in love.

Now we have seen, and we have heard, that the Lord our God 

is great, 

for a wilderness has been transformed, into His holy place. 

  • Gerry Tuohy [3]

  • Midday Prayer

    A GENERAL INTERCESSION

    GRACIOUS GOD, I PRAY for the needs of all people; that those who do not know you may come to know, love, and serve you; for your holy Church throughout the world and all people who claim the name of Christ; for our own part of the Church; for the Archbishop of Canterbury and the bishops of this province, for my diocese and for my parish, the clergy, and people, that we may witness to the Gospel and carry forward the mission that is ours: to serve the world and give witness to the cross of Christ.

    For those whose work and vocation supports others, that they may find satisfaction and a fair return for their labor; for the unemployed, that they may find work and be saved from despondency; for an economy that provides for all and for the generations yet to come. For all in adversity, that the sick will be healed, the hungry fed, the mourners comforted, that those in anguish of mind or body will be held in that deep peace which passes human understanding and that comes from you alone.

    Bless my friends, and teach me to bless my enemies and those whom I would forget or ignore; teach me to use all that you have given me—strength and time, resources and talents—for your glory and to the well-being of all whose lives I touch; grant me penitence for my sins, faith in the Gospel, joy in the sacraments and in all creation, and life everlasting through the mercies of Jesus Christ who ever lives to make intercession for us. Amen. [4]

    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

    Come, let us sing to the LORD;* let us shout for joy to the rock of our salvation. 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. In his hands are the caverns of the earth,* and the heights of the hills are his also. The sea is his, for he made it,* and his hands have molded the dry land. 

    Psalm 95:1-5
    “Thorn Bush”
    By Krasnec
    (source)

    Midday Reading: 2 Kings 14:1-14

    A thornbush confronts a cedar of Lebanon

    1 In the second year of Joash the son of Joahaz, king of Israel, Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, began to reign. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddin of Jerusalem. 3 And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, yet not like David his father. He did in all things as Joash his father had done. 4 But the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places. 5 And as soon as the royal power was firmly in his hand, he struck down his servants who had struck down the king his father. 6 But he did not put to death the children of the murderers, according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, where the LORD commanded, “Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. But each one shall die for his own sin.”

    7 He struck down ten thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt and took Sela by storm, and called it Joktheel, which is its name to this day.

    8 Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz, son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, “Come, let us look one another in the face.” 9 And Jehoash king of Israel sent word to Amaziah king of Judah, “A thistle on Lebanon sent to a cedar on Lebanon, saying, ‘Give your daughter to my son for a wife,’ and a wild beast of Lebanon passed by and trampled down the thistle. 10Y ou have indeed struck down Edom, and your heart has lifted you up. Be content with your glory, and stay at home, for why should you provoke trouble so that you fall, you and Judah with you?”

    11 But Amaziah would not listen. So Jehoash king of Israel went up, and he and Amaziah king of Judah faced one another in battle at Beth-shemesh, which belongs to Judah. 12 And Judah was defeated by Israel, and every man fled to his home. 13 And Jehoash king of Israel captured Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash, son of Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh, and came to Jerusalem and broke down the wall of Jerusalem for four hundred cubits, from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate. 14 And he seized all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of the LORD and in the treasuries of the king’s house, also hostages, and he returned to Samaria.

    Midday Lesson

    Amaziah Reigns in Judah

    Amaziah was a King of Judah in the eighth century BC, and the successor to Joash (2 Kgs 14:1-4). In today’s reading, the “history of Southern Kingdom, which ended at 12: 21 with the note that Amaziah succeeded Joash, his assassinated father, [is] now resum[ed].” [5]

    Verse 3 tells us that Amaziah did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, yet not like David his father. He did in all things as Joash his father had done. From the way this verse is worded, it is easy to be confused about the identity of Amaziah’s father. Was it David or was is Joash? Amaziah was the son of Joash. The phrase not like David his father simply means that his kingdom would continue to erode, unlike David’s. “Amaziah was a spiritual improvement over his father Joash, but was far from exemplary in his faith (cf. 2 Chr. 25:2, 14–16).” [6]

    “Edom had successfully rebelled against Judah in the days of Jehoram (cf. 8:20–22). Amaziah’s God-given success is detailed more fully in 2 Chronicles 25:5–16. Unfortunately, that victory aroused a foolish pride (cf. v. 10) and caused spiritual compromise, for which Amaziah was rebuked by a prophet of the Lord (cf. 2 Chr. 25:14–16).” [7]

    “Sela [v. 7]was the ancient stronghold of Petra, a city carved into a rock cliff. It was not only a stronghold for Edom but also a wealthy outpost for trade with India.” [8]

    “The provocation for Amaziah’s challenge lay in the fact that when he had dismissed some Israelite mercenaries, which he had planned to use in the Edomite campaign, they had looted certain Judean cities on their way homeward (2 Chr. 25:6–10, 13). Proud Amaziah (v. 10) foolishly thought to test the battle-proven Jehoash, king of Israel (cf. 13:25).” [9]

    “This parable [vv. 9-10] compares Judah to a small thistle. King Amaziah of Judah had become proud after defeating the Edomites. Here he was trying to pick a fight with Israel because he was sure his army was stronger. Jehoash tried to warn Amaziah not to attack by comparing his army to a thistle and Israel’s army to a cedar tree. Amaziah had overrated his strength; his ambition was greater than his ability. He didn’t listen to Jehoash and was soundly defeated.” [10]

    “A broken-down city wall [v. 13] disgraced the citizens and left them defenseless against future invasions.” [11]

    “Amaziah’s stubbornness will cost him his freedom (2 Chr. 25:23–25), and Jerusalem also paid a heavy price in Jehoash’s invasion and looting of the city.” [12]


    Eventide Prayer

    A Collect for Saturdays

    O God, the source of eternal light: Shed forth your unending day upon us who watch for you, that our lips may praise you, our lives may bless you, and our worship on the morrow give you glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [13]

    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

    In truth God has heard me;* he has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, who has not rejected my prayer,* nor withheld his love from me. 

    Psalm 66:17-18
    “The Sower”
    By Vincent van Gogh
    (source)

    Eventide Reading: Mark 4:1-20

    The parable of the sower

    1 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

    10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that

    “‘they may indeed see but not perceive,

    and may indeed hear but not understand,

    lest they should turn and be forgiven.’”

    13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

    Eventide Lesson

    The meaning of the Parable of the Sower

    “A parable is a brief story that makes a comparison. It typically uses an illustration from everyday life to bring out a spiritual truth.” [14]

    “Shallow soil over large stones [vv. 5-6] warms up quickly after the winter cold, and so helps the seeds germinate and sprout quickly. Because such soil has no depth, however, the seedlings cannot sink healthy roots.” [15]

    “A variety of thorny weeds grow in Israel [v. 7, other seed], some as tall as 6 ft. Like all weeds, these deplete the soil of nutrients, leaving little for the plants being cultivated.” [16]

    The plant described in verse 8 “produces grain abundantly in comparison to the single grain sown. Even a hundredfold increase is attested! Cf Mt 19: 29.” [17]

    In verse 9, Jesus said “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Here, “Jesus challenges the hearer to consider carefully what has just been said and apply it to his or her life. This saying appears frequently in the NT (e.g., v 23; Mt 13:43; Lk 14:35; Rv 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22).” [18]

    “The parable of the sower [vv. 1-9] helps explain why not everyone who hears the Gospel believes it and bears the fruit of faith. Such failures are seemingly more common today than ever, even among traditionally Christian peoples . At the same time, the Word of the Lord accomplishes His good purpose . It works miracles in lives where the Spirit has His way. • Lord, continue to plant Your Word richly in us. Remove the stones and weeds that impede Your Word, and thereby bring forth a harvest of mature fruit in all who believe. Amen.” [19]

    “The disciples still did not have ‘ears to hear’ (v 9), and so had to ask Jesus for an explanation about the parable of the sower. Perhaps because they were too embarrassed to reveal their lack of understanding in public, they asked Jesus for an explanation in private.” [20]

    “The Twelve do not grasp Jesus’ meaning [v. 10]. Mark does not glorify the Twelve; they often lack understanding or are out of step with Jesus. This is part of what gives Mark its ring of genuineness, since a story embellished by the later church would surely paint more complimentary portraits of the apostles.” [21]

    “Before interpreting the parable of the sower for His disciples, Jesus first made clear that human beings cannot understand divine revelation unless given insight by God Himself… This mystery has everything to do with a proper understanding of Jesus and His mission. Unfortunately, the disciples have still not understood Jesus’ divinity and the nature of His mission. Particularly troublesome for them will be the idea that their Messiah has to suffer in order to complete His mission (cf 8:31– 33; 9:30–32; 10:35– 45).” [22] In the New Testament, the word secret (mystery) “is not a decipherable puzzle but a profound spiritual truth, which God is just now revealing to whomever He chooses. The Twelve are evidently regarded as being receptive to the deeper meaning or application of the parable just related. In this sense the parable has a positive aim: to reveal a mystery of God’s working. On the other hand, the parable obscures its meaning to those who are outside—who evidently lack the spiritual responsiveness for Jesus to divulge His story’s full import.” [23]

    “Until the disciples believe that Jesus is the Messiah and interpret His teachings in light of His sacrificial suffering and death, they will never comprehend anything about Him. In fact, much of the unfolding plot in Mk involves the struggle of the disciples to accept that the Messiah will be rejected and crucified.” [24]

    “Jesus interprets the parable [vv. 12-20]. The four soils represent four kinds of people who hear the gospel. (1) Unresponsive people, they by the way side, fail to respond to the seed or word (gospel) sown, so Satan quickly removes it lest they be saved (Luke 8:12). (2) Impulsive people, the stony ground, are those who immediately receive (v. 16) the gospel, but not counting the cost, have no root [spiritual reality] in themselves (v. 17). They believe for a while (Luke 8:13), but soon are offended (v. 17, defect from the truth) because of persecution. Their rejection of the gospel is as speedy as their reception of it. (3) Preoccupied people, those among thorns, allow legitimate matters (cares of this world) and illegitimate matters (deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things) to take priority over the gospel. And (4) some people, good ground, hear and receive (take to heart) the gospel, which bears the fruits of faith, obedience, and fidelity in them.” [25]

    “Those sowing God’s Word [v. 14] include Jesus Himself, the first disciples, and all subsequent teachers and preachers of the Gospel. The administration of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are included in this sowing activity.” [26]

    “Just as Jesus can and will be rejected, so also His Word can suffer opposition. The human ego is not the only obstacle to the Word’s reception. Satan [v. 15] and his evil hosts also work vigorously against the Word.” [27]

    “Many converts joyfully begin a walk in the faith but then turn away when difficulties come [vv. 16-17]… Difficulties and troubles will come to all believers, even as they once came to Christ. That is why Jesus repeatedly warns people of the perils of following Him (8:34–35; Mt 10:22) and why His apostles repeatedly urge believers to persevere, despite trials (Gal 6:9; 2Tm 2:1–7; Heb 12:3–11; Jas 1:12; 1Pt 1:13–16; Rv 2:10; 3:11).” [28]

    “Like thorns that choke a growing plant [vv. 18-19], so the worries and pleasures of the world eradicate the feeble understanding of the Gospel.” [29]

    In verse 19, “as in other places, Jesus makes clear that the barometer of one’s faith is not what one says , but rather what one does. In other words, the fruits of faith (good works) are the most accurate indicators of the sincerity of belief. Cf Mt 7:15–20; 12:33; Mk 12:1–9.” [30]

    “Jesus interprets the parable of the sower for His disciples. The failures of the various soils to produce for the Lord are still common: people even now refuse to hear, fall away when hardship comes, and allow worldly concerns to overwhelm their faith. Yet, by God’s grace, many receive the Word in good faith and produce richly. Not even the gates of hell can prevail against His Church. • Lord, help us to see and perceive, to hear and understand. Remove every impediment to our faith. Let Your Word bring forth lasting fruit in our lives. Amen.” [31]

    Compline Prayer

    Lord, send me sleep that I may live,

    The wrongs I’ve done this day forgive.

    Bless every deed and thought and word,

    I’ve rightly done, or said, or heard.

    Bless relatives and friends always,

    Teach all the world to watch and pray.

    My thanks for all my blessings take,

    And hear my prayer for Jesus’ sake. Amen.


    Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers

    Citations:

    [1] N/A

    [2] Papavassiliou, V. (2014). Prayers for Various Occasions. In The ancient faith prayer book (Kindle ed., p. 97). Chesterton, IN: Ancient Faith Publishing.

    [3] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Daily Prayer. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 36819-36833). London: HarperCollins.

    [4] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 59). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

    [5] A., E. E. (2016). 2 Kings. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 2728). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

    [6] 2 Kings. (2017). In The King James study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1871). Nashville, TN, USA: Thomas Nelson.

    [7] Ibid. 6

    [8] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Ezekiel. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5842). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

    [9] 2 Kings. (2017). In The King James study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1872). Nashville, TN, USA: Thomas Nelson.

    [10] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Ezekiel. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5843). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

    [11] Ibid. 10

    [12] 2 Kings. (2017). In The King James study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1872). Nashville, TN, USA: Thomas Nelson.

    [13] 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. 123). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

    [14] Mark. (2017). In The King James study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 4523). Nashville, TN, USA: Thomas Nelson.

    [15] A., E. E. (2016). Mark. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7184). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

    [16] Ibid. 15

    [17] Ibid. 15

    [18] Ibid. 15

    [19] Ibid. 15

    [20] Ibid. 15

    [21] Mark. (2017). In The King James study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 4523). Nashville, TN, USA: Thomas Nelson.

    [22] A., E. E. (2016). Mark. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7184). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

    [23] Mark. (2017). In The King James study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 4524). Nashville, TN, USA: Thomas Nelson.

    [24] A., E. E. (2016). Mark. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7184). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

    [25] Mark. (2017). In The King James study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 4524). Nashville, TN, USA: Thomas Nelson.

    [26] A., E. E. (2016). Mark. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7184-7185). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

    [27] Ibid. 26, P. 7185

    [28] Ibid. 26, P. 7185

    [29] Ibid. 26, P. 7185

    [30] Ibid. 26, P. 7185

    [31] Ibid. 26, P. 7186

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