September 4 Devotional (2021)

September 4, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 33:1-9 / Excerpt from Carmina Gadelica / Matthew 15:21-31

A prayer inspired by Saint Birinus, Bishop of Dorchester and Evangelist to Wessex, who we remember on September 4th

We beseech thee, O Lord, to pour thy grace on all who go to other lands, publishing the Word of salvation: That, following the patient labours of Saint Birinus, who brought to us the Gospel from beyond the sea, they may gather many believers into the fold of thy holy Church; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Invitatory 

Come, O child of God. Come and drink from the well of God’s Word. Refresh your soul, revive your mind, renew your hope. 

+ Blessed is our God. Always now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,

    the Father, the Almighty,

    maker of heaven and earth,

    of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

    the only Son of God,

    eternally begotten of the Father,

    God from God, Light from Light,

    true God from true God,

    begotten, not made,

    of one Being with the Father.

    Through him all things were made.

    For us and for our salvation

        he came down from heaven:

    by the power of the Holy Spirit

        he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,

        and was made man.

    For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

        he suffered death and was buried.

        On the third day he rose again

            in accordance with the Scriptures;

        he ascended into heaven

            and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

    He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

        and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

    who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

    With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.

    He has spoken through the Prophets.

    We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

    We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

    We look for the resurrection of the dead,

        and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Hymn

“Blessed Be the Tie That Binds” 

by John Fawcett

Lyrics:

1. Blessed be the tie that binds 

our hearts in Christian love; 

the fellowship of kindred minds 

is like to that above.

2. Before our Father’s throne 

we pour our ardent prayers; 

our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, 

our comforts and our cares.

3. We share each other’s woes, 

our mutual burdens bear; 

and often for each other flows 

the sympathizing tear.

4. When we asunder part, 

it gives us inward pain; 

but we shall still be joined in heart, 

and hope to meet again. [1]


Morning Prayer

For Protection

Assist us mercifully, O Lord, in these our supplications and prayers, and dispose the way of thy servants towards the attainment of everlasting salvation; that, among all the changes and chances of this mortal life, they may ever be defended by thy gracious and ready help; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [2]

Short Verse

I wait for the LORD; my soul waits for him;* in his word is my hope. 

Psalm 130:4

Morning Reading: Isaiah 33:1-9

The fear of God is Zion’s treasure

1 Ah, you destroyer,

who yourself have not been destroyed,

you traitor,

whom none has betrayed!

When you have ceased to destroy,

you will be destroyed;

and when you have finished betraying,

they will betray you.

2 O LORD, be gracious to us; we wait for you.

Be our arm every morning,

our salvation in the time of trouble.

3 At the tumultuous noise peoples flee;

when you lift yourself up, nations are scattered,

4 and your spoil is gathered as the caterpillar gathers;

as locusts leap, it is leapt upon.

5 The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high;

he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness,

6 and he will be the stability of your times,

abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge;

the fear of the LORD is Zion’s treasure.

7 Behold, their heroes cry in the streets;

the envoys of peace weep bitterly.

8 The highways lie waste;

the traveler ceases.

Covenants are broken;

cities are despised;

there is no regard for man.

9 The land mourns and languishes;

Lebanon is confounded and withers away;

Sharon is like a desert,

and Bashan and Carmel shake off their leaves.

Morning Lesson

O LORD, Be Gracious to Us

The “destroyer” in verses 1-24 of Isaiah 33 is likely Assyria, though it could be “a number of nations that successfully battled Judah or Israel.” [3] Assyria “would in turn be destroyed after accomplishing its evil deeds. The prophecy, expressed in prayer, asked for the full measure of the Spirit to descend upon all the people. This request led to a hymn extolling the wonders of the newly restored Jerusalem.” [4]

“Assyria continually broke its promises but demanded that others keep theirs. It is easy to put ourselves in the same selfish position, demanding our rights while ignoring the rights of others. Broken promises shatter trust and destroy relationships. Determine to keep your promises; at the same time, ask forgiveness for past promises you have broken. Treat others with the same fairness that you demand for yourself.” [5]

Verse two says, O LORD, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble. This beautiful prayer is “the words of the righteous remnant who were waiting for God to deliver them from their oppression.” [6] These words show a “dramatic change in the mind-set of God’s people. In chs 29– 30, the Lord pleaded with His people to put their trust in Him and not in Egypt. They refused (30:15–16; 31:6). But here, God’s people call out to Him in trust. Ever since the exodus and the salvation the Lord brought for Israel in the morning (Ex 14:27), this time of the day indicates a time of deliverance and renewal (cf Ps 46:5; Mt 28:1; Rv 22:16).” [7] 

Verse 4 says, and your spoil is gathered as the caterpillar gathers; as locusts leap. “When these descend on a field, they devour everything of value. So the peoples and nations will have nothing left after the Lord lets their spoilers pounce on them.” [8]

“The horror of warfare is pictured in these images [vv. 7-9].” [9] The fruitful, productive areas named in verse 9 “would become deserts. Lebanon was known for its huge cedars. Sharon was very fertile. Bashan was very productive in grain and cattle. Carmel was thickly forested.” [10] “Sennacherib’s siege on Judah in 701 BC brought about crying and weeping, as well as empty highways and a wasted land.” [11] 

“Isaiah’s hearers lived to see Jerusalem delivered from the Assyrians. Believers have stability , because they know their times are in God’s hands.” [12] “The Lord [would] arise and rescue His people from the hand of Assyria (cf ch 37). When the Lord arises, it is a sign of deliverance. The psalmists pray for Him to arise (Ps 7:6; 17:13; 35:23). The resurrection of Jesus is the ultimate act of God’s rising to defeat death, the last enemy (1Co 15:26).” [13]


Midday Prayer

PRAYER OF ST. AIDAN OF LINDISFARNE 

Leave me alone with God as much as may be.  As the tide draws the waters close in upon the shore,  Make me an island, set apart,  Alone with You, O God, holy to You. Then with the turning of the tide Prepare me to carry Your presence to the busy world beyond, The world that rushes in on me, Till the waters come again and take me back to You. [14]

Short Verse

All nations you have made will come and worship you, O LORD,* and glorify your Name. 

Psalm 86:9

Midday Reading

Excerpt from the Carmina Gadelica

I believe, O God of all gods, that you are the eternal Father of life.

I believe, O God of all gods, that you are the eternal Father of love.

I believe, O God of all gods, that you are the eternal Father of the saints

I believe, O God of all gods that you are the eternal Father of each person.

I believe, O God of all gods, that you are the eternal Father of humanity

I believe, O God of all gods, that you are the eternal Father of the world.

I believe, O God of the peoples,

that you are the Creator of the high heavens,

that you are the Creator of the skies above,

that you are the Creator of the oceans below.

I believe, O God of the peoples,

that you are the One who created my soul and set its warp,

who created my body from dust and from ashes,

who gave to my body breath, and to my soul its endowment.

Father eternal and Lord of the peoples,

I believe that you have put right my soul in the Spirit of healing,

that you gave your loved Son in covenant for me,

that you have purchased my soul with the precious blood of your Son.

Father eternal and Lord of life,

I believe that you poured on me the Spirit of grace at my baptism. 

  • Carmina Gadelica [15]

  • Eventide Prayer

    O Lord, heavenly King, let your peace always remain in our hearts, that we need not fear the terror of the night; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. [16]

    Short Verse

    Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,* which cannot be moved, but stands fast for ever. 

    Psalm 125:1

    ‘The Judgement Day’ behind at the altar in the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo

    Eventide Reading: Matthew 15:21-31

    Jesus heals

    21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

    29 Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. 30 And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, 31 so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel.

    Eventide Lesson

    The Faith of the Canaanite Woman

    “The story of ministry to this Gentile woman illustrates the Jewish orientation of Matthew’s gospel. This account is also mentioned in Mk 7:24-30, but with two major differences: (1) Matthew records Christ’s words concerning the lost sheep of Israel (v. 24), while Mark does not, and (2) Matthew records the woman using the title Son of David, a Jewish term for the Messiah, while Mark does not. Christ went to the Gentile cities not to preach, but to withdraw from the faithless Pharisees. This is confirmed in Mark’s gospel, where we read that Christ ‘wanted no one to know’ He was there, and here, where Christ says that He was only sent to the house of Israel.” [17] However, “some Gentiles, such as the Canaanite woman, also looked forward to the Messiah promised to the Jews. The woman’s persistence serves as an example of how we must pray even if our prayers do not seem to be answered immediately or even if followed by more suffering. As with the Roman centurion (cf. Mt 8:10), Christ admired and acted upon the great faith of the Canaanite woman.” [18]

    “This woman show[ed] immeasurable love – she so identifi[ed] with the sufferings of her daughter that she [cried] ‘Have mercy on me,’ for she [saw] her daughter’s well-being as her own and her daughter’s suffering as her own.” [19]

    “Christ refus[ed] to answer, not only because His ministry before His Passion [was] first to the Jews, but also to reveal this woman’s profound faith and love.” [20] Several of the Fathers of the Church saw “the disciples’ request to send her away as an attempt to persuade Jesus to heal the daughter, as if to say, ‘Give her what she wants so that she will leave.’ Christ’s response indicated this interpretation is correct, for He again refuses to heal the daughter.” [21]

    “Having evoked this woman’s love and persistent faith, Christ now reveals her humility. She accepts her place beneath the Jews, who were the chosen people of God, yet still desires a share in God’s grace. Christ’s hesitance was not a lack of compassion, but a conscience means of revealing the virtues of this woman, both to the disciples and for her own sake. Her ultimate acceptance by Christ also points to the gathering of the Gentiles into the Church after Pentecost, no longer as dogs, but as children who are invited to eat the bread of eternal life.” [22]

    In the verses which follow, “Christ’s healing of the multitudes here [vv. 29-31] shows that these Jews actually had less faith than the Canaanite woman (vv. 21-28). Christ healed the woman ‘with much delay, but these immediately, because she is more faithful than they. He delays with her to reveal her perseverance, while here He bestows the gift immediately to stop the mouths of the unbelieving Jews’ [St. John Chrysostom].” [23]

    Matthew 15 Commentary from the Early Church

    Verses 21-28

    “Having seen her advocates unsuccessful, the woman then appeals for herself and does not stop but in effect says to the Lord, ‘Help me, I haven’t been asking this for my own sake.’ Then the Savior in turn says, ‘It is not good to take the children’s bread and to cast it to dogs.’ He uses the term dog on account of the Gentiles’ unclean lifestyle and proneness to idolatry, while he calls the Jews children on account of the fact that they appeared to be devoted to God. But he uses the word bread not only to speak of his teaching, which was through words, but also of that which nourished the faithful by means of signs. But in this case the word preceded the condemnation of the Jews, since when life in the Lord had been given to them as bread, they did not accept it. The woman does not complain, even when insulted. What does the Savior do? By his answer, he showed what he had premeditated from the outset. For it was for this reason that he postponed giving a reply: that the woman might cry aloud with this word. Thereby he would show her to be worthy of a thousand crowns. For it was not because he did not want to give her the gift that he delayed but because he sought and took care beforehand to reveal her faith. With his accolades he honors her as presenting a type of the church that is from the Gentiles. Note that he did not say, ‘Let your child be healed,’ but ‘Be it done for you as you desire,’ in order to show that it was the power of her faith that elicited the healing. Even if she were worthy of even greater things, nevertheless that which she wanted was what was given to her.”

    • Theodore of Mopsuestia, Fragment 83 [24]

    Verse 31

    “Remember that the context is the plea of the Canaanite woman. Remember that the Lord’s silence with her had proceeded from a consideration of the gradual timing of revelation and not from any problem of her volition. So when he said, ‘O woman, great is your faith,’ she is now certain of being saved. Indeed, he also comes to the whole Gentile community, when those who accordingly believe will at once be freed like the girl from any power of the unclean spirits. And faith in the deed therefore follows. What follows immediately after the Gentile people are prefigured in the daughter of the Canaanite woman? Those afflicted with different kinds of diseases are offered by the crowd to the Lord on the mountain. That is, the faithless and the sick are instructed by the believers to fall down and adore. They are made well again, and all the functions of mind and body are being restored for hearing, contemplating, praising and following the Lord.”

    • Hilary of Poitiers, On Matthew 15 [25]

    Compline Prayer

    Calm me, O Lord, as You stilled the storm. Still me, O Lord, keep me from harm. Let all the tumult within me cease. Enfold me, Lord, in Your peace. [26]


    Devotionals compiled/written by S. P. Rogers

    Citations:

    [1] Tickle, P. (2000). September. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 503). New York, NY: Image Books.

    [2] Episcopal Church. (1979). Prayers and Thanksgivings. 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. 832). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

    [3] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Isaiah. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 2110). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

    [4] Ibid. 3

    [5] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Isaiah. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5985). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

    [6] Ibid. 5

    [7] A., E. E. (2016). Isaiah. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 5070). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

    [8] Ibid. 7

    [9] Ibid. 7

    [10] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Isaiah. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5985). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

    [11] A., E. E. (2016). Isaiah. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 5070). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

    [12] Ibid. 11

    [13] Ibid. 11

    [14] Papavassiliou, V. (2014). Prayers of the Saints. In The ancient faith prayer book (Kindle ed., p. 114). Chesterton, IN: Ancient Faith Publishing.

    [15] Simpson, R. (2013). Summer. In The Celtic Book of Days: Ancient Wisdom for Each Day of the Year from the Celtic Followers of Christ (Kindle, pp. 199). essay, Anamchara Books. 

    [16] Stratman, P. C. (Trans.). (2018). Office of Vespers. In The Antiphonary of Bangor and The Divine Offices of Bangor: The Liturgy of Hours of the ancient Irish church (Kindle, p. 155). essay, Crossway. 

    [17] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Matthew. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1327-1328). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

    [18] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Matthew. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 2929). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

    [19] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Matthew. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1328). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

    [20] Ibid. 19

    [21] Ibid. 19

    [22] Ibid. 19

    [23] Ibid. 19, P. 1328-1329

    [24] Theodore of Mopsuestia. (2019). Matthew. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 2729). Nashville: Holman Bible.

    [25] Hilary of Poitiers. (2019). Matthew. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 2729). Nashville: Holman Bible.

    [26] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Compline. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 92224). London: HarperCollins.

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