August 9 Devotional (2021)

“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

August 9, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings:  Psalm 81 / 1 Kings 17:1-16 / Ephesians 5:1-17

A prayer written by Mary Sumner, Founder of the Mothers’ Union and Renewer of Society, who we remember on August 9th

All this day, O Lord,

let me touch as many lives as possible for thee;

and every life I touch,

do thou by thy spirit quicken,

whether through the word I speak,

the prayer I breathe,

or the life I live.

Amen

A prayer inspired by Franz Jagerstatter, Martyr, who we remember on August 9th

Almighty and everlasting God, who didst kindle the flame of thy Love in the heart of thy holy martyr Franz Jagerstatter: Grant to us, thy humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Invitatory

Come! O Come to the well of God’s Word and meet your Savior; the water He has given will become in you a spring of eternal life. 

Collect of the Week

Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. [1]

Hymn

“The Humble Heart” 

(Traditional Shaker Hymn)

Lyrics [2]:

Whence comes the bright celestial light, 

What cause produces this? 

A heaven opens to my sight, 

Bright scenes of joy and bliss. 

O Lord Jehovah art Thou here? 

This light proclaims Thou art. 

“I am indeed, I’m always near 

Unto the humble heart.

“The proud and lofty I despise, 

And bless the meek and low, 

I hear the humble soul that cries, 

And comfort I bestow. 

Of all the trees among the wood 

I’ve chosen one little vine, 

The meek and low are nigh to me, 

The humble heart is mine.

“Tall cedars fall before the wind, 

The tempest breaks the oak, 

While slender vines will bow and bend 

And rise beneath the stroke. 

I’ve chosen me one pleasant grove 

And set my lovely vine, 

Here in my vineyard I will rove, 

The humble heart is mine.

“Of all the fowls that beat the air 

I’ve chosen one little dove, 

I’ve made her spotless white and fair, 

The object of my love. 

Her feathers are like the purest gold, 

With glory she does shine, 

She is a beauty to behold, 

Her humble heart is mine.

“Of all kinds that range at large 

I’ve chosen one little flock, 

And those I make my lovely charge, 

Before them I will walk. 

Their constant shepherd I will be, 

And all their ways refine, 

And they shall serve and reverence me, 

The humble heart is mine.

“Of all the sects that fill the land 

One little band I chose, 

And led them forth by my right hand 

And placed my love on those. 

The lovely object of my love, 

Around my heart shall twine 

My flock, my vineyard and my dove, 

The humble heart is mine.”


Morning Prayer

Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy, 

Whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy, 

Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray, 

Your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.

~ Jan Struther [3]

Short Verse

“A man will be always tripped up by that thing which he will not cut off from himself.”

Sayings of the Holy Fathers, Of the Flight from Men, and the Silent Contemplation, and of Dwelling continually in the Cell, [a work] which was composed by Bishop Palladius for the Perfect Lausus [4]
“Basket of Bread”
By Sven Van Dorst
(source)

Morning Reading: Psalm 81

God will feed us

Sing aloud to God our strength;

shout for joy to the God of Jacob.

Raise a song, sound the tambourine,

the sweet lyre with the harp.

Blow the trumpet at the new moon,

at the full moon, on our festal day.

For it is a statute for Israel,

an ordinance of the God of Jacob.

He made it a decree in Joseph,

when he went out over the land of Egypt.

I hear a voice I had not known:

“I relieved your shoulder of the burden;

your hands were freed from the basket.

In distress you called, and I rescued you;

I answered you in the secret place of thunder;

I tested you at the waters of Meribah.    Selah

Hear, O my people, while I admonish you;

O Israel, if you would but listen to me!

There shall be no strange god among you;

you shall not bow down to a foreign god.

I am the Lord your God,

who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.

Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.

“But my people did not listen to my voice;

Israel would not submit to me.

So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,

to follow their own counsels.

O that my people would listen to me,

that Israel would walk in my ways!

Then I would quickly subdue their enemies,

and turn my hand against their foes.

Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,

and their doom would last forever.

I would feed you with the finest of the wheat,

and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Listen to Psalm 81

Morning Lesson

With His Word God feeds His people

“A relationship with God was at the heart of the Old Covenant. God revealed himself through his Laws, inspirations, and directives to those he placed in authority. God invited his people to a loving response through prayer and fidelity to his Laws. Despite all that God had done for the people of Israel, however, they often strayed into sin and idolatry.” [5]

“The focal point for Christians of a dialogue with God is Jesus Christ, who is the visible expression of the love of God the Father. Through Christ God constantly invites every person to repentance and forgiveness, and in Christ we can clearly see that God desires our salvation and everlasting happiness rather than the punishment of eternal damnation.” [6]

“Even while worshiping the one true God, His people were not listening to His Word. Here [in Psalm 81] God laments the plugging of their ears (v 11), longing for the day they will turn again in repentance. God loves to speak to His people! He especially loves to tell you repeatedly of His great love for you, shown to you in the death and resurrection of His Son. With His Word God feeds His people (v 16), nourishing them with eternal life. • Let me never grow sated, dear heavenly Father, but allow me always to hunger for Your Word and to listen attentively to it. Amen.” [7]

Psalm 81 Commentary from the Early Church 

Verse 9

“[I]t is none other than God the Word, who exists in the form of God the Father, the impress of his very being, who is equal in all things to the one who begot him, who has emptied himself out. And what is this “emptying out”? It is [Christ’s] life in the form of a slave, in the flesh that he assumes, it is the likeness to us of one who is not as we are in his own nature, since he is above all creation. In this way he humbled himself, economically submitting himself to the limitations of humanity.” 

  • Cyril of Alexandria, On the Unity of Christ [8]
  • Verse 16

    “[Christ] also is the rock who quenches the thirst of the Israelites in the desert. He satisfied their thirst spiritually with honey, and not with water, so that they who believe and receive the food taste honey in their mouth. “How sweet to my palate are your promises, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” [Ps 119:103]. Lastly, that is why our Lord ate honeycomb after the resurrection [in Lk 24:42] and was satisfied with honey from the rock. I am going to tell you something new. The Rock himself ate honey . . . so that they who in the law had drunk myrrh, or bitterness, might afterwards eat the honey of the Gospel.”

  • St. Jerome, Homilies on the Psalms [9]

  • Midday Prayer

    Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith, 

    Whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe, 

    Be there at our labors, and give us, we pray, 

    Your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.

    – Jan Struther [10]

    Short Verse

    “A dead man cannot be the heir of a living one.”

    Sayings of the Holy Fathers, Of Voluntary Poverty [11]
    A sculpture at Sayn Abbey
    (source)

    Midday Reading: 1 Kings 17:1-16

    God feeds the widow of Zarephath

    1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” 2 And the word of the LORD came to him: 3 “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 4 You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 5 So he went and did according to the word of the LORD. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. 6 And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. 7 And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.

    8 Then the word of the LORD came to him, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 And she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” 13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.’” 15 And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke by Elijah.

    Midday Lesson

    When miracles seem out of reach

    “God sent the prophet Elijah to confront the northern kingdom of Israel about their idolatry. Elijah performed many miracles in God’s name, demonstrating God’s power over nature, other gods, and even life itself. Elijah was a complex person, noted both for his bold dependence on God in the confrontation at Mount Carmel as well as for his bouts with despair in thinking he was the only one who served God. He was a bright light for God in a dark time.” [12]

    “Elijah was the first in a long line of important prophets God sent to Israel and Judah. Israel, the northern kingdom, had no faithful kings throughout its history. Each king was wicked, actually leading the people in worshiping pagan gods. Few priests were left from the tribe of Levi (most had gone to Judah), and the priests appointed by Israel’s kings were corrupt and ineffective. With no king or priests to bring God’s word to the people, God called prophets to try to rescue Israel from its moral and spiritual decline. For the next 300 years these men and women would play vital roles in both nations, encouraging the people and leaders to turn back to God.” [13]

    “Those who worshiped Baal believed he was the god who brought the rains and bountiful harvests. So when Elijah walked into the presence of this Baal-worshiping king and told him there would be no rain for several years, Ahab was shocked. Ahab had built a strong military defense, but it would be no help against drought. He had many priests of Baal, but they could not bring rain. Elijah bravely confronted the man who led his people into evil, and he told of a power far greater than any pagan god—the Lord God of Israel. When rebellion and heresy were at an all-time high in Israel, God responded not only with words but with action.” [14]

    “In a nation that was required by law to care for its prophets, it is ironic that God turned to ravens (unclean birds) and a widow (a foreigner from Jezebel’s home territory) to care for Elijah. God has help where we least expect it. He provides for us in ways that go beyond our narrow definitions or expectations. No matter how bitter our trials or how seemingly hopeless our situation, we should look for God’s caring touch. We may find his providence in some strange places!” [15]

    “When the widow of Zarephath met Elijah, she thought she was preparing her last meal. But a simple act of faith produced a miracle. She trusted Elijah and gave him all she had to eat. Faith is the step between promise and assurance. Miracles seem so out of reach for our feeble faith. But every miracle, large or small, begins with an act of obedience. We may not see the solution until we take the first step of faith.” [16]


    Eventide Prayer

    Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace, 

    Your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace, 

    Be there at our homing, and give us we pray, 

    Your love in our hearts at the eve of the day.

    ~ Jan Struther [17]

    Short Verse

    One of the old men said concerning Lazarus, the poor man, ‘We cannot find that Lazarus ever did one excellent thing except that he never murmured against the rich man as being one who had never shewn him an act of mercy ; but he bore his infirmity with the giving of thanks, and because of this God took him to Himself.’

    Sayings of the Holy Fathers, Of Patient Endurance [18]
    “Let Us Walk in the Light”
    By Vonda Drees
    (source)

    Eventide Reading: Ephesians 5:1-17

    Fruits of the light

    1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

    3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

    “Awake, O sleeper,

    and arise from the dead,

    and Christ will shine on you.”

    15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

    Eventide Lesson

    Walk in the light of your baptism

    In Ephesians 4:1 Paul urged the Christians in Ephesus to walk worthily of their calling in Christ, as opposed to the way they once walked, in trespass and sin (Eph 2:1). In today’s passage from Ephesians, Paul defined this new walk: “Walk in love (v 2); walk in light (v. 8); walk in wisdom (v. 15).” [19] The word walk “implies a slow, steady pace; a daily effort; a marathon, not a sprint.” [20] 

    “Ephesus, with its pagan temple dedicated to the Roman goddess Diana (see Acts 19:23-31), was similar to our society in that sexual immorality and green ran rampant. Paul warned the believers in Ephesus to avoid these pitfalls.” [21]

    “Paul’s sharp contrast between the two ways, the way of darkness and the way of light, begins here [with verse 6]. The animosity between the two ways is in thoughts, words (vv. 6-10), and actions (vv. 8-12).” [22] “The believer’s position has changed from darkness (sin) to light (righteousness). Believers are to change their walk to correspond to their position in Christ (see Rom 12:2).” [23] “Believers are to follow the example of God’s actions. He loved us when we were still His enemies. As imitators, believers should demonstrate that type of self-sacrificial love,” and “we must judge what the world says is reasonable on the basis of what God says is true.” [24] [25]

    In verse 11, Paul wrote, Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. “Besides separating from darkness, Christians are also to expose (v. 11) it. But we must first come out of hiding in order to be exposed ourselves. That is, we must confess our sins and repent of them (see Jn 3:19-21).” [26] 

    “Awake, O sleeper,

    and arise from the dead,

    and Christ will shine on you.”

    (verse 14)

    Verse 14 contains “an early baptismal hymn: baptism is illumination (see Acts 26:18; 2Co 4:6; Heb 6:4; 10:32).” [27] (See also the evening lesson on Paul’s Enlightenment linked HERE.) “To walk in the light is to walk in one’s baptism.” [28]

    Our passage from Ephesians closes with the following exhortation: Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. It is important for us to keep in mind that “the goal is not to abandon the world, but to keep oneself in Christ and salvage as much as possible from the evil world. Christians renounce the fallenness of the world, not creation itself.” [29]

    Compline Prayer

    Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,  Whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,  Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,  Your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.

    ~ Jan Struther [30]

    Devotionals compiled/written by S. P. Rogers

    Citations:

    [1] Episcopal Church. (1979). Collects. 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. 232). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

    [2] Tickle, P. (2000). August. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 357). New York, NY: Image Books.

    [3] Tickle, P. (2000). July. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 216). New York, NY: Image Books.

    [4] Of the Flight from Men, and the Silent Contemplation, and of Dwelling continually in the Cell, [a work] which was composed by Bishop Palladius for the Perfect Lausus (1907). In The Sayings of the Holy Fathers: Books I and II (Kindle ed., p. 16).  W. Budge (Ed.)

    [5] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Psalms. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 1609). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

    [6] Ibid. 5

    [7] A., E. E. (2016). Psalms. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 4092). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

    [8] Cyril of Alexandria. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1678). Nashville: Holman Bible.

    [9] Jerome. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1678). Nashville: Holman Bible.

    [10] Tickle, P. (2000). July. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 216). New York, NY: Image Books.

    [11] Of Voluntary Poverty (1907). In The Sayings of the Holy Fathers: Books I and II (Kindle ed., p. 49).  W. Budge (Ed.)

    [12] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). 1 Kings. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 2001). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

    [13] Ibid. 12, p. 5808

    [14] Ibid. 12, p. 5808

    [15] Ibid. 12, p. 5809

    [16] Ibid. 12, p. 5809

    [17] Tickle, P. (2000). July. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 216). New York, NY: Image Books.

    [18] Of Patient Endurance (1907). In The Sayings of the Holy Fathers: Books I and II (Kindle ed., p. 69).  W. Budge (Ed.)

    [19] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Ephesians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1635). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

    [20] Ibid. 19

    [21] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2007). Ephesians. In NKJV study Bible: New King James Version (Second ed., p. 1865). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

    [22] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Ephesians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1635). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

    [23] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2007). Ephesians. In NKJV study Bible: New King James Version (Second ed., p. 1866). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

    [24] Ibid. 23, P. 1865

    [25] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Ephesians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1635-1636). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

    [26] Ibid. 25, P. 1636

    [27] Ibid. 25, P. 1636

    [28] Ibid. 25, P. 1636

    [29] Ibid. 25, P. 1636

    [30] Tickle, P. (2000). July. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 216). New York, NY: Image Books.

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