June 15 Devotional (2021)

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit…”

A prayer inspired by Evelyn Underhil, Poet and Author, who we remember on June 15th

O God, Origin, Sustainer, and End of all creatures: Grant that Thy Church, taught by thy servant Evelyn Underhill, guarded evermore by thy power, and guided by thy Spirit into the light of truth, may continually offer to thee all glory and thanksgiving, and attain with thy saints to the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast promised us by our Savior Jesus Christ; who with thee and the same Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

June 15, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings:   Jeremiah 21:11-14 / The Eternal Kingdom / Revelation 21:22—22:5

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

“Down to the River to Pray”

Morning Prayer

Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon me, that in thy light I may see light: The light of thy grace today, and the light of thy glory hereafter. Amen. 

—Lancelot Andrewes [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

… if you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved. It is by believing with the heart that you are justified, and by making the declaration with your lips that you are saved. 

Romans 10:9-10
“Forest Fire”
By Andrea Allegrone
(source)

Morning Reading: Jeremiah 21:11-14

A fire in Judah’s forest

11 “And to the house of the king of Judah say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, 12 O house of David! Thus says the LORD:

“‘Execute justice in the morning,

and deliver from the hand of the oppressor

him who has been robbed,

lest my wrath go forth like fire,

and burn with none to quench it,

because of your evil deeds.’”

13 “Behold, I am against you, O inhabitant of the valley,

O rock of the plain,

declares the LORD;

you who say, ‘Who shall come down against us,

or who shall enter our habitations?’

14 I will punish you according to the fruit of your deeds,

declares the LORD;

I will kindle a fire in her forest,

and it shall devour all that is around her.”

Morning Lesson

Message to the House of David

Just prior to today’s passage from Jeremiah, in verses 1-10, “God reveal[ed] His judgment on Jerusalem to the political and religious leaders of Judah [through Jeremiah]: only those who surrender[ed] to the Chaldeans will live. God disciplin[ed] them for their lack of repentance and for ignoring His warnings.” [4]

“Even though Zedekiah was a descendant of the house of David, with whom God had made a solemn covenant (2Sm 7:1–17), he would have no successors. Kings of Israel were not to be arbitrary despots. If they ignored the demand to execute justice, they incurred God’s unquenchable wrath [vv. 12-14]. The royal city and palace will not offer protection, though situated on a rock towering over the surrounding plain… Justice was urgent business to be transacted without delay.” [4]


Midday Prayer

FOR LOVED ONES WHEN AWAY FROM HOME 

O GOD OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, we entrust to thine unfailing providence our families and homes, beseeching the angel of thy presence to guard them from hurt and to watch between them and us continually, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [5]

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

“Be still, then, and know that I am God;* I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.” 

Psalm 46:11
“Heaven Angels”
(source)

Midday Reading

The Eternal Kingdom

“Few saints have been blessed with a vision of heaven while still in this life. Isaiah saw heaven (Is 6:1-8), as did Ezekiel (Ezk 1:1-28), and the apostle John saw a new heaven – God’s eternal Kingdom revealed as a city (Rev 21:1-22:5).” [6]

“When we read these passages, we note an abundance of mystical, apocalyptic imagery. But the strong similarities between these passages suggests an inspired consistency of reporting on the visions. The living creatures, the light, the cherubic beings, the throne, and the glory of the Lord all work together to unveil a Kingdom of celestial majesty and splendor.” [7]

“While confessing with the prophet Isaiah and the apostle Paul that ‘eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him’ (1Co 2:9), we nonetheless find, taking the Scriptures as a whole, that certain things can be said about the eternal Kingdom.” [8]

First, “the saints who inhabit God’s Kingdom live in active fulfillment of His eternal plan. In the Kingdom, humanity becomes all it is meant to be. There is nothing at all in Scripture to suggest that eternal life means people passively afloat on huge white clouds strumming harps unto the ages of ages.” [9]

“Originally created to inhabit Paradise, our first parents chose to sin against God and were expelled from the Garden. The Kingdom of God was closed to mankind (Gn 3:24). But God in His love called His creation back to Himself, speaking to us from the law and the prophets and ultimately through His incarnate Son. Through new life in Jesus Christ, we are brought back by God’s mercy into the new creation, His everlasting Kingdom. As kings and priests we will reign with Him forever (Rev 1:6).” [10]

Second, “we experience a foretaste of the Kingdom in the Church.” [11] At worship, the Church is joined “with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven… [to] laud and magnify [God’s] glorious Name; evermore praising [Him].” [12] “In worship we join the heavenly hosts – the saints and the angels – in giving praise to our God.” [13] In worship, we ascend “to the heavenly Kingdom. For it is in the Church that we are seated ‘together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ (Eph 2:6) and re raised to ‘where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God’ (Col 3:1).” [14]

“As the body of Christ, we participate with that ‘great cloud of witnesses’ (Heb 12:1) surrounding us as we come to ‘the throne of God’ (Heb 12:2). We come liturgically ‘to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all’ (Heb 12:22, 23).” [15]

Third, “knowledge of the Kingdom motivates us to live in complete devotion to Christ. In this life, we have a foretaste of the Kingdom that inspires us to seek its fullness. In Paul’s words, ‘For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face’ (1Co 13:12). Worship is not a solitary act. Rather it is the Bride of Christ, the one Church – those on earth joining with those in heaven – giving thanks to our God and King, who has made us citizens of His magnificent domain.” [16]

“The apostle John [wrote], ‘Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure’ (1Jn 3:2, 3).” [17]


Eventide Prayer

Show us your mercy, O Lord;

      And grant us your salvation.

Clothe your ministers with righteousness;

      Let your people sing with joy.

Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;

      For only in you can we live in safety.

Lord, keep this nation under your care;

      And guide us in the way of justice and truth.

Let your way be known upon earth;

      Your saving health among all nations.

Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;

      Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.

Create in us clean hearts, O God;

      And sustain us by your Holy Spirit. [18]

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

Out of the depths have I called to you, O LORD; LORD, hear my voice;* let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication. 

Psalm 130:1
“Tree of Life”
By Gustav Klimt
(source)

Eventide Reading: Revelation 21:22—22:5

The tree of life

22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Eventide Lesson

The tree of life gives immortality

“There is no temple [v. 22] in the old sense in the Sew Jerusalem (Jn 4:21). It’s temple is the presence of God in all (v. 22; 1Co 15:28; Col 3:11; 1Pt 2:4-10).” [19]

“The OT prophecies concerning the glorification of Jerusalem are fulfilled in the eternal Kingdom (see Is 60). Created light is unnecessary. For the everlasting Uncreated Light will illuminate all (Ps 35:10) with true and clear vision to see things as they really are. The true Light, the Light of the world (Jn 8:12), was incarnate (Jn 1:9), and even while on earth He shown with Uncreated Light (Mk 9:2-8; 2Pt 1:16-18). As prophesied, all the earth will stream to the Holy City to honor it (Is 55:5; Jer 16:19-21; Tb 13:13) – it has no enemies – but only the pure will live within it (Mt 5:8).” [20]

“The river of water of life [22:1] manifests the Giver of life, the Holy Spirit (see 21:6; also Ezk 47:1-12; Zec 14:8; see also 2En 8:5). The OT Feast of Tabernacles, the festival of the Messianic Kingdom, emphasized light and water. As in his Gospel, so here John shows these themes are fulfilled by Christ and His Church. Christ is the Light of the World (21:23-26; 22:5 with Jn 8:12); the Holy Spirit is the Water of Life (22:1, 2; 21:6 with Jn 7:37-39). The Church is the Messianic Kingdom.” [21]

“God the Father and the Lamb, the Son incarnate, share one throne, for they are consubstantial and one worship is offered them. With the Spirit proceeding from the throne [22:1], the entire Trinity is here.” [22]

“The tree of life [vv. 22:2-3], a symbol of Christ Himself, gives immortality. It fulfills the tree of life in Paradise (Gn 3:22) and the other tree of life, the Cross of the Savior,  the tree of obedience (1Pt 2:24), a tree of curse (Gal 3:13). But there is no more curse (v. 3) in the Holy City: a reversal of the curse of Gn 3:16-19. The fruits and leaves of the tree are completely and universally therapeutic, reversing the effects of the fruit of the tree of disobedience (Gn 3:6).” [23]

“The face [v. 4] of God is that of the glorified Christ (see Jn 14:9; 1Jn 3:2). The face which cannot be seen is the hidden essence of God Jn 1:18; 1Ti 6:16). Normally, even to see His energy is not possible in this life (Ex 33:20-23; Mt 5:8; Jn 1:18; 1Co 13:12; Heb 12:14; 1Jn 3:2(. But in the age to come, the faithful who bear Jesus’ name . . . On their foreheads, may see Him ceaselessly. In the OT only the high priest bore the unspeakable name of God on his forehead, and that he did externally, on a holden headband around his turban (Ex 28:31-33; see Ezk 9:4-6; Rev 3:12; 6:3). In the NT, all who believe are granted His name.” [24]

The Lord gives them light [v. 5] perfects the [Aaronic] priestly blessing of Num 6:23-26, a concluding benediction of the daily morning and evening sacrifices of the OT temple. When you have God’s uncreated light, there can be no night (see 21:23; Is 60:19, 20).” [25]

Compline Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

If I should live another day,

I pray the Lord to guide my way. 

Amen.


Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers

Citations:

[1] N/A

[2] Forward Movement. (2013). Prayers for Guidance and Surrender. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 465). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[3] A., E. E. (2016). Jeremiah. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 5500). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[4] Ibid. 3, P. 5500-5501

[5] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 62). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[6] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). The Eternal Kingdom (Revelation). In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1776). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Ibid. 6

[8] Ibid. 6

[9] Ibid. 6

[10] Ibid. 6

[11] Ibid. 6

[12] Episcopal Church. (1979). The Holy Eucharist: Rite I. 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. 334). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[13] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). The Eternal Kingdom (Revelation). In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1776). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[14] Ibid. 13

[15] Ibid. 13

[16] Ibid. 13

[17] Ibid. 13

[18] 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. 121). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[19] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Revelation. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1775). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[20] Ibid. 19

[21] Ibid. 19, P. 1776-1777

[22] Ibid. 19, P. 1777

[23] Ibid. 19, P. 1777

[24] Ibid. 19, P. 1777

[25] Ibid. 19, P. 1777

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