July 15 Devotional (2021)

Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk.

A prayer inspired by Olga and Vladimir, First Christian Rulers in Russia, who we remember on July 15th

O God, who didst call thy servants Olga and her grandson Vladimir to an earthly throne that they might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst give them zeal for thy Church and love for thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate them this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


July 15, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings:  Psalm 23 / Jeremiah 10:1-16 / Colossians 1:15-23

Invocation

O Lord open thou my lips 

And my mouth shall declare thy praise.

For the sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.

Hymn

“The Lord’s my shepherd”

By Francis Rous

Lyrics [1]:

1 The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want.

He makes me down to lie

in pastures green; he leadeth me

the quiet waters by.

2 My soul he doth restore again,

and me to walk doth make

within the paths of righteousness,

e’en for his own name’s sake.

3 Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale,

yet will I fear none ill,

for thou art with me and thy rod

and staff me comfort still.

4 My table thou hast furnished

in presence of my foes.

My head thou dost with oil anoint,

and my cup overflows.

5 Goodness and mercy all my life

shall surely follow me,

and in God’s house forevermore

my dwelling place shall be.


Morning Prayer

A Collect for Guidance

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [2]

Short Verse

Blessed be our God. 

For ever and ever. Amen.

Hand painted Byzantine Icon Of Jesus Christ The Good Shepherd
(source)

Morning Reading: Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

he leads me beside still waters;

he restores my soul.

He leads me in right paths

for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,

I fear no evil;

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff—

they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

my whole life long.


Midday Prayer

Drop thy still dews of quietness, Till all our strivings cease; Take from our souls the strain and stress, And let our ordered lives confess The beauty of thy peace. 

  • John G. Whittier [3]
  • Short Verse

    I will praise you upon the lyre for your faithfulness, O my God;* I will sing to you with the harp, O Holy one of Israel. 

    based on Psalm 71:22

    Midday Reading: Jeremiah 10:1-16

    Following scarecrows

    1 Hear the word that the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2 Thus says the LORD:

    “Learn not the way of the nations,

    nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens

    because the nations are dismayed at them,

    3 for the customs of the peoples are vanity.

    A tree from the forest is cut down

    and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman.

    4 They decorate it with silver and gold;

    they fasten it with hammer and nails

    so that it cannot move.

    5 Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field,

    and they cannot speak;

    they have to be carried,

    for they cannot walk.

    Do not be afraid of them,

    for they cannot do evil,

    neither is it in them to do good.”

    6 There is none like you, O LORD;

    you are great, and your name is great in might.

    7 Who would not fear you, O King of the nations?

    For this is your due;

    for among all the wise ones of the nations

    and in all their kingdoms

    there is none like you.

    8 They are both stupid and foolish;

    the instruction of idols is but wood!

    9 Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish,

    and gold from Uphaz.

    They are the work of the craftsman and of the hands of the goldsmith;

    their clothing is violet and purple;

    they are all the work of skilled men.

    10 But the LORD is the true God;

    he is the living God and the everlasting King.

    At his wrath the earth quakes,

    and the nations cannot endure his indignation.

    11 Thus shall you say to them: “The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”

    12 It is he who made the earth by his power,

    who established the world by his wisdom,

    and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.

    13 When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,

    and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth.

    He makes lightning for the rain,

    and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses.

    14 Every man is stupid and without knowledge;

    every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols,

    for his images are false,

    and there is no breath in them.

    15 They are worthless, a work of delusion;

    at the time of their punishment they shall perish.

    16 Not like these is he who is the portion of Jacob,

    for he is the one who formed all things,

    and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance; the LORD of hosts is his name.

    [4]

    Midday Lesson

    Idols and the Living God

    In today’s reading, “Jeremiah described and emphasized that pagan idols were the work of human hands and therefore they remain mute and inanimate, powerless to do anything. Any kind of idolatry is a violation of the belief in one true, all-powerful God. The prose here bears resemblance to parts of the ‘Letter of Jeremiah’ (cf. Bar 6).” [5]

    “Most people would like to know the future [the signs of the heavens, v. 2]. Decisions would be easier, failures would be avoided, and successes would be assured. The people of Judah wanted to know the future, too, and they tried to discern it through reading the signs in the sky. God made the earth and the heavens, including stars that people consult and worship (Jer 10:12). No one will discover the future in man-made charts of God’s stars. But God, who promises to guide you, knows your future and will be with you all the way. He will not reveal your future to you, but he will walk with you as the future unfolds. Don’t trust the stars; trust the one who made the stars.” [6]

    “Those who put their trust in a chunk of wood [the instruction of idols it but wood, v. 8], even though it is carved well and looks beautiful, are foolish. The simplest person who worships God is wiser than the smartest person who worships a worthless substitute because this person has discerned who God really is. In what or whom do you place your trust?” [7]

    “Tarshish [v. 9] was located at the westward limit of the ancient world, perhaps in what is now Spain (see Jon 1:3). It was a source of silver, tin, lead, and iron for Tyre (Ezek 27:12). The location of Uphaz [v. 9] is unknown. Instead [of a location], it may be a metallurgical term for ‘refined gold.’ No matter how well made or how beautiful idols are, they can never have the power and life of the true and living God.” [8]

    “Jeremiah says, ‘The gods that have not made heaven and earth will perish from the earth and from among those places that are under heaven. He that made the earth by his power and prepared the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens at his knowledge and a multitude of waters in the heaven’ [vv. 11-12]. And he adds, ‘Humankind is become a fool for knowledge’ [Jr 10:14, Vg]. How can one who pursues the corruptible things of the world and thinks that from these things he can comprehend the truth of divine nature not become a fool as he makes use of the artifices of sophistry?” (St. Ambrose). [9]

    [10]

    Eventide Prayer

    A Collect for Peace

    Most holy God, the source of all good desires, all right judgements, and all just works: Give to us, your servants, that peace which the world cannot give, so that our minds may be fixed on the doing of your will, and that we, being delivered from the fear of all enemies, may live in peace and quietness; through the mercies of Christ Jesus our Savior. Amen. [11]

    Short Verse

    I have said to the LORD, “You are my God;* listen, O LORD, to my supplication.” 

    Psalm 140:6
    “Reconciliation”
    By David Boyd
    (source)

    Eventide Reading: Colossians 1:15-23

    God reconciles all things through Christ

    15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

    21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

    Eventide Lesson

    The Preeminence of Christ

    “Paul affirmed that Christ is indeed the one God, the Creator, and, therefore, the ‘fullness of God.’ In his divine nature, Christ is the mirror image of God the Father, while in his humanity, he reveals God with a ‘human face.’ The divinity of Christ is stated unequivocally in the Nicene Creed: ‘God from God, Light from Light, / true God from true God, / begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; / through him all things were made.'” [12]

    “We were created in the image of God, but Christ is the image of God, i.e., he is one and the same with God, a distinct Person of the Trinity but of the same nature and substance [v. 15].” [13]

    “Paul identified Christ as the Head of the Church [v. 18] who guides the various parts of the Body in their assigned tasks for the common good. His analogy of the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ was a regular theme of his letters.” [14]

    Christ is the first-born of the dead [v. 18], because “Christ is the first one risen, thereby opening the way for a glorious resurrection at the end of time for every person who would die in the state of grace.” [15]

    “The rift between God and humanity, caused by the sin of Adam and by subsequent sins, has been bridged by the Death of Christ, who merited a superabundance of grace for salvation and holiness. Paul stressed the obligation of all Christians to avoid sin, to seek holiness, and to maintain steadfast faith in the Gospel that had been preached to them [v. 23]… Far from the physical body serving as an obstacle to holiness, Christ’s humanity is an integral part of God’s plan of salvation. At the end of time, our souls will be reunited with our bodies.” [16]

    Compline Prayer

    Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace. [17]


    Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers

    Citations:

    [1] Author: Francis RousRous, F. (n.d.). The lord’s my shepherd. Retrieved April 28, 2021, from https://hymnary.org/text/the_lords_my_shepherd_ill_not_want_rous

    [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] Tickle, P. (2000). August. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 372). New York, NY: Image Books.

    [4] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Major Idols Mentioned in the Bible [Chart]. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 7392). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

    [5] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Jeremiah. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 2274). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

    [6] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Jeremiah. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 6084). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

    [7] Ibid. 6

    [8] Ibid. 6

    [9] Ambrose. (2019). Jeremiah. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 2166). Nashville: Holman Bible.

    [10] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Why did Israel want to worship idols? [Chart]. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 7308). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

    [11] 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.

    [12] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Colossians. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3603). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

    [13] Ibid. 12

    [14] Ibid. 12, P. 3606

    [15] Ibid. 12

    [16] Ibid. 12

    [17] 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. 134). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

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