July 31 Devotional (2021)

Silence will speak more to you in a day than the world of voices can teach you in a lifetime.

A prayer inspired by Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who the Church remembers on July 31st

O God, by whose grace thy servant Ignatius, enkindled with the Fire of thy love, became a burning and a shining light in thy Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


July 31, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: Exodus 13:3-16 / “Listen to the silence” by Frances J. Roberts / Matthew 16:5-12

Invocation 

O Lord open thou my lips. 

And my mouth shall declare thy praise.

Today if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts: As in the provocation, according to the day of temptation in the wilderness: where your fathers tempted me, they proved me, and saw my works. 

O come, let us adore Him.

Hymn

“Bread of the world, in mercy broken”

By Reginald Heber, 1783-1826

Lyrics [1]:

Bread of the world, in mercy broken,

Wine of the soul, in mercy shed,

by whom the words of life were spoken,

and in whose death our sins are dead:

look on the heart by sorrow broken,

look on the tears by sinners shed;

and be thy feast to us the token

that by thy grace our souls are fed.


Morning Prayer

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. [2]

Short Verse

You have made me glad by your acts, O LORD;* and I shout for joy because of the works of your hands. 

Psalm 92:4
“Unleavened Bread”
48 x 60 oil on canvas by David Teague 2009
(source)

Morning Reading: Exodus 13:3-16

The festival of unleavened bread

3 Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. 4 Today, in the month of Abib, you are going out. 5 And when the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you shall keep this service in this month. 6 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD. 7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen with you, and no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory. 8 You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ 9 And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth. For with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt. 10 You shall therefore keep this statute at its appointed time from year to year.

11 “When the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as he swore to you and your fathers, and shall give it to you, 12you shall set apart to the LORD all that first opens the womb. All the firstborn of your animals that are males shall be the LORD’s. 13 Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. Every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem. 14 And when in time to come your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you shall say to him, ‘By a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. 15 For when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the LORD killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of animals. Therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all the males that first open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ 16 It shall be as a mark on your hand or frontlets between your eyes, for by a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt.”

Morning Lesson

A celebration of freedom

In our reading from Exodus we find the “institution of [the] annual seven-day celebration beginning the day after the Passover and ending with a feast. Israel ate bread without yeast all seven days. It became known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread.” [3]

Moses called on the people to “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (verse 3). Here we find the first usage of the phrase house of slavery. “The celebration of the feast of Unleavened Bread now constitutes the Israelites’ service, in contrast to the ‘service’ they performed for Pharaoh as his slaves.” [4] “The feast [was] now a celebration of freedom.” [5]

Verse 4 mentions the month of Abib (lit., “ear (of grain).” [6] Abib was “the old Canaanite name for this month; Israel later called it ‘Nisan.’ It was the first month in their liturgical calendar (cf. Ex 12:2).” [7]

“God furnished object lessons, such as the unleavened bread, for parents to use in teaching their children about God’s salvation [v. 8]. Cf v 14; 10:2.” [8] Martin Luther noted, “The children of Israel, whenever they turned to repentance, remembered above all their exodus from Egypt, and remembering turned back to God who had brought them out. Moses impressed this memory and this protection upon them many times, and David afterwards did the same. How much more ought we to remember our exodus from Egypt, and by this remembrance turn back to him who led us through the washing of regeneration [Titus 3:5], remembrance of which is commended to us for this very reason!” [9]

Verse 9 says And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth. For with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt. “While here observance of the feast of Unleavened Bread is likened only metaphorically to a physical sign of one’s piety that can be worn as a kind of badge in commemoration of the exodus, from ancient times Jews have seen in this verse also the basis for the wearing of phylacteries. These are small receptacles for copies of biblical verses which Jewish men bind to the arms and forehead as a kind of mnemonic device for the observance of the Law.” [10] Phylacteries “were discovered at Qumran. Devout Jews strapped them to their foreheads as an act of prayer. Over time, this practice became an empty ritual; Jesus criticized aspects of this practice in Mt 23:5.” [11]

In verses 11-12, “God repeated Himself (v 2) to underscore His promise of land and His requirement to set apart all the firstborn.” [12]

“The Lord declar[ed] to Moses that all firstborn among the Israelites and their livestock belong to the Lord [vv. 11-16], meaning that the Lord has a claim on their lives. Humans, however, shall not be sacrificed [v. 15]. That they are redeemed [v. 15] means that some substitute is to be given in their place. Although the means of redemption is not stated here, Numbers 18:16 specifies a donation of five shekels. In this way, all the firstborn of the Israelites and their livestock become an occasion to remember how the Lord killed the Egyptian firstborn in order to bring the Israelites out of Egypt [v. 16].” [13]

Notice that in verse 14, donkeys were to be redeemed by sacrifice. “The donkey was not acceptable as a sacrifice (Lv 22:19). The people were to redeem a firstborn male donkey by sacrificing a lamb or by breaking the donkey’s neck to kill it without spilling blood (blood made it a sacrifice).” [14]

“The Israelites were to consecrate their children to life rather than to death, so this command effectively prohibited human sacrifice… The offering of a lamb in place of a human points to Jesus Christ, the Lamb offered by God on our behalf.” [15]

“The Lord set Israel apart by instituting observances that help them remember their freedom won in the exodus. Today, God gives us a new start and calls us into a life that is pure and set apart for Him. But we are unfit to come into God’s presence unless someone provides a way. Jesus offered Himself as the perfect, ‘once for all’ sacrifice (Heb 10:10). He purifies us from our sin and consecrates us so that God can call us His own. • Lord, let me grasp the magnitude of what You have done for me so that I may praise and thank You for giving me a new start! Amen.” [16]


Midday Prayer

Inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness; and make me the cup of strength to suffering souls; in the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. [17]

Short Verse

Help me, O LORD my God;* save me for your mercy’s sake. 

Psalm 109:25
“Five minutes of silence”
(source)

Midday Reading

Listen to the silence

By Frances J. Roberts [18]

If I choose to hide you away, it is for a reason. 

I have brought you to this place. 

Drink in the silence. Seek solitude. 

Listen to the silence. 

It will teach you. It will build strength. 

Let others share it with you. 

It is little to be found elsewhere. 

Silence will speak more to you in a day than the world of voices can teach you in a lifetime.

Find silence. Find solitude – and having discovered her riches, bind her to your heart.


Eventide Prayer

O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from me all wrong desires, incline my heart to keep your law, and guide my feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, I may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.† [19]

Short Verse

For God alone, my soul in silence waits;* from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation,* my stronghold, so that I shall not be greatly shaken

Psalm 62:1-2
“Loaf of Bread”
By Matthew Hopkins
(source)

Eventide Reading: Matthew 16:5-12

Bread as a sign of other things

5 When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. 6 Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 7 And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” 8 But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? 9 Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 11 How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Eventide Lesson

The Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees

“Jesus’ warning his disciples against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees comes immediately before his promise to confer on Peter the authority to bind and to loose on earth (Mt 16:19), an authority that will be confirmed in heaven. Such authority most probably has to do, at least in part, with teaching. The rejection of the teaching authority of the Pharisees (see also Mt 12:12–14) prepares for a new one derived from Jesus.” [20]

In verses 7–11, “the disciples, men of little faith, misunderstand Jesus’ metaphorical use of leaven, forgetting that, as the feeding of the crowds shows, he is not at a loss to provide them with bread.” [21]

Jesus said to His disciples, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” The yeast, the leven about which Christ spoke, was the doctrine and hypocrisy of those proud religious leaders. “The reason that the disciples [were] painfully slow to understand is that they [had] such little faith; they would not fully grasp Christ’s teachings until Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was given.” [22]

“Jesus did not reproach His disciples for forgetting bread, but for forgetting His miracles [vv. 8-10]. Jesus urged them to remember how twice He had fed thousands with a few loaves of bread.” [23]

“The disciples worried about their failure to bring bread rather than guarding against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees, which should have been their primary concern. Too often, like the disciples, earthly needs and worries distract us. Jesus makes it clear that one thing is necessary: a focus on His teaching (Lk 10:38–42). When we abide in the Word of Jesus, we will know the truth (Jn 8:31–32). • Lord Jesus, help me to hear Your Word and gladly keep it. Amen.” [24]

Compline Prayer 

Deliver me from the terror by night, from the pestilence that walketh in darkness. Amen.

  • Lancelot Andrewes [25]

  • Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers

    Citations:

    [1] The Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church 301. Bread of the world, in mercy broken. The Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church 301. Bread of the world, in mercy broken | Hymnary.org. (n.d.). https://hymnary.org/hymn/EH1982/301

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

    [3] A., E. E. (2016). Exodus. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 828). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

    [4] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). Exodus. In The Catholic study Bible: The New American Bible, revised edition, translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources (Third ed., p. 1378). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    [5] A., E. E. (2016). Exodus. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 828). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

    [6] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). Exodus. In The Catholic study Bible: The New American Bible, revised edition, translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources (Third ed., p. 1378). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    [7] Ibid. 6

    [8] A., E. E. (2016). Exodus. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 828). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

    [9] Ibid. 8

    [10] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). Exodus. In The Catholic study Bible: The New American Bible, revised edition, translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources (Third ed., p. 271). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    [11] A., E. E. (2016). Exodus. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 829). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

    [12] A., E. E. (2016). Exodus. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 829). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

    [13] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). Exodus. In The Catholic study Bible: The New American Bible, revised edition, translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources (Third ed., p. 271). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    [14] A., E. E. (2016). Exodus. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 829). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

    [15] A., E. E. (2016). Exodus. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 829). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

    [16] A., E. E. (2016). Exodus. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 830). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

    [17] Forward Movement. (2013). Personal Prayers. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 350). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

    [18] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Morning Prayer. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 78999). London: HarperCollins.

    [19] Tickle, P. (2000). July. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 195). New York, NY: Image Books.

    [20] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). Matthew. In The Catholic study Bible: The New American Bible, revised edition, translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources (Third ed., p. 4391). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    [21] Ibid. 20, P. 4392

    [22] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Matthew. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1329). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

    [23] A., E. E. (2016). Matthew. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 6961). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

    [24] Ibid. 23

    [25] Andrewes, Lancelot. The Private Devotions and Manual for the Sick of Launcelot Andrews (Kindle ed., p. 2659). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

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