September 10 Devotional (2021)

September 10, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: Joshua 2:15-24 / “Lord, give us true happiness” / James 2:14-26

A prayer inspired by Alexander Crummell, Priest and Missionary to Liberia, who the Anglican Church remembers on September 10

Almighty and everlasting God, we thank thee for thy servant Alexander Crummell, whom thou didst call to preach the Gospel to those who were far off and to those who were near. Raise up, we beseech thee, in this and every land evangelists and heralds of thy kingdom, that thy Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Invocation

O Lord open thou my lips 

And my mouth shall declare thy praise. 

O God + come to my assistance; 

O Lord, make haste to help me. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost: As it was in the beginning, is now, * and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Opening Prayer

Oh my God!  I offer you all my actions of this day for the intentions and for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  I desire to sanctify every beat of my heart, my every thought, my simplest works, by uniting them to his infinite merits; and I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them in the furnace of his merciful love.

Saint Therese of Lisieux [1]

Hymn

Jesus Loves Even Me

Morning Prayer

Confession 

Almighty and most merciful Father,

we have erred and strayed from your ways like lost sheep. 

We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts.

We have offended against your holy laws.

We have left undone those things which we ought to have done, 

and we have done those things which we ought not to have done;

and apart from your grace, there is no health in us.

O Lord, have mercy upon us.

Spare all those who confess their faults.

Restore all those who are penitent, according to your promises declared to all people in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake,

that we may now live a godly, righteous, and sober life, 

to the glory of your holy Name. Amen. [2]

Short Verse

Lord, have mercy on us. 

Christ, have mercy on us. 

Lord, have mercy on us.

V0034410 Rahab hangs the scarlet cord from her window. Autotype after Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org Rahab hangs the scarlet cord from her window. Autotype after F.J. Shields, 1877. 1877 By: Frederick James ShieldsPublished: – Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Morning Reading: Joshua 2:15-24

An oath to save Rahab and her family

15 Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was built into the city wall, so that she lived in the wall. 16 And she said to them, “Go into the hills, or the pursuers will encounter you, and hide there three days until the pursuers have returned. Then afterward you may go your way.” 17 The men said to her, “We will be guiltless with respect to this oath of yours that you have made us swear. 18 Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household. 19T hen if anyone goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be guiltless. But if a hand is laid on anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head. 20 But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless with respect to your oath that you have made us swear.” 21 And she said, “According to your words, so be it.” Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.

22 They departed and went into the hills and remained there three days until the pursuers returned, and the pursuers searched all along the way and found nothing. 23 Then the two men returned. They came down from the hills and passed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they told him all that had happened to them. 24 And they said to Joshua, “Truly the LORD has given all the land into our hands. And also, all the inhabitants of the land melt away because of us.”

Morning Lesson

Blood-colored cord
  • Verse 15: built into the city wall “Three possibilities of construction: (1) Rahab’s house may have made use of part of the city wall for an inner wall, with its upper story extending higher than the city wall; (2) her house may have been built on timbers across two parallel city walls several yards apart; or (3) most likely, her house consisted of one or more chambers within a “casemate” wall, which has two long parallel walls subdivided by cross walls that create little rooms. Those rooms could be used for living or storage, or they could be filled in for defensive purposes. Archaeology has uncovered many examples of casemate construction in Israel.” [3]
  • Verse 16: “Ancient Hittite document stipulates that an enemy invader must be tracked for three days. Perhaps that rule was widespread and known to Rahab. She anticipates what is about to take place and devises a plan for the spies’ safety. Jas 2:25–26 shows that her actions are evidence of living faith.” [4]
  • Verse 17: guiltless “Spies are declaring by this word that they will be exempt from the obligations of their oath if Rahab does not meet certain conditions. Cf v 19: ‘his blood shall be on his own head.’” [5]
  • Verse 18: scarlet cord “Not the rope of v 15. Cord would mark the house to be safeguarded by Israel… From the time of the Early Church, Christians attached symbolism to this blood-colored cord, associating it with the blood of Jesus… However, a connection between Christ’s blood and the symbol of the cord is not absolutely certain.” [6]
  • Verses 12-18: Clement of Rome: “For her faith and hospitality Rahab the harlot was saved. . . . And moreover [the spies] gave her a sign, that she should hang out from her house a scarlet thread [v. 18], thereby showing beforehand that through the blood of the Lord there shall be redemption for all them that believe and hope on God. You see, dearly beloved, not only faith, but prophecy, is found in the woman” (1 Clement 12). [7]
  • Verse 19: blood shall be on his own head “Those who go outside the safety of Rahab’s house will be responsible for their own destruction when Israel comes to take Jericho.” [8]
  • Verse 20: business “Hbr dabar, “word, ‘instruction.’ The king of Jericho and others already know that these men are involved in the ‘business’ of spying. The specific ‘business’ that Rahab must not reveal may relate to the instructions about the scarlet cord.” [9]
  • Verse 21: they departed “The city gate had been closed (v 7). However, v 15 suggests that when Rahab let the spies down by a rope through a window, they landed outside the city wall.” [10]
  • Verse 21: Ambrose: “[S]he who in the destruction of the city lost all hope of any means of safety, because her faith had conquered, bound a scarlet thread in her window, and thus uplifted a sign of her faith and the banner of the Lord’s passion; so that the semblance of the mystic blood, which should redeem the world, might be in memory. So, from outside the city, the name of Joshua was a sign of victory to those who fought. From within, the semblance of the Lord’s passion was a sign of salvation to those in danger” (On the Christian Faith 5.10.127). [11]
  • Verse 24: “In their debriefing with Joshua, the spies all but repeat Rahab’s words in v 9. The spies’ conclusion is based on the facts they have gathered, but esp on the promises of the Lord to give this land to Israel. They thus speak from a perspective of God-given faith (cf Nu 13).” [12]

Chapter 2 of Joshua “sends two spies to Jericho, where they find a people filled with fear, but they also find a person who shares their faith: Rahab the prostitute. Our deepest human fears arise from a sense of guilt and the deserved judgment of God. Although these fears flourished at Jericho, as they do today, the God of free and faithful grace grants forgiveness, safety, and peace to repentant sinners, who are justified by grace through faith in Christ and who perform works that prove their God-given faith (Rm 3: 22, 24; Jas 2:25–26). • We praise You, Lord, that You call people of all kinds out of the darkness of their sin and haunting fears into the light and safety of Your grace. Amen.” [13]


Midday Prayer

A PRAYER OF HOPE 

For Your mercy’s sake, O Lord my God, tell me what You are to me. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.” So speak that I may hear, O Lord; my heart is listening; open it that it may hear You, and say to my soul, “I am your salvation.” After hearing this word, may I come in haste to take hold of You. Hide not Your face from me. Let me behold Your face even if I die, lest I die with longing to see it. The house of my soul is too small to receive You; let it be enlarged by You. It is all in ruins; do You repair it. There are things in it—I confess and I know—that must offend Your sight. But who shall cleanse it? Or to whom besides You shall I cry out? From my secret sins cleanse me, O Lord, and from those of others spare Your servant. AMEN.

By St. Augustine Of Hippo [14]

Short Verse

Let the peoples praise you, O God;* let all the peoples praise you. Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,* for you judge the peoples with equity and guide all nations upon the earth. Let the peoples praise you, O God;* let all the peoples praise you.

Psalm 67:3-5

Midday Reading

Lord, give us happiness, true happiness:

the happiness of knowing we are called by you,

the happiness of knowing we are cleansed people,

the happiness of knowing we are Christ’s instruments,

the happiness of knowing we are set free from addiction to created things,

the happiness of cherishing others and being cherished by them,

the happiness of being on a journey toward joy overflowing.

[15]

Eventide Prayer

Tune thou my harp; 

There is not, Lord, could never be, 

The skill in me.

Tune thou my harp;

That it may play thy melody,

Thy harmony.

Tune thou my harp;

O Spirit, breathe thy thought through me,

As pleaseth thee. Amen.

—Amy Carmichael [16]

Short Verse

My very bones will say, “LORD, who is like you?* You deliver the poor from those who are too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.”

Psalm 35:10

Eventide Reading: James 2:14-26

Abraham and Rahab’s faith

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Eventide Lesson

Faith Without Works Is Dead

In today’s reading, “James challenges the notion that faith is simple head knowledge. This was a huge problem with the Jews after they returned from the Babylonian captivity. Their religious practice became a list of outward rules to follow, without repentant trust in God to save them, and all genuine love turned in on themselves, not toward God or their neighbor. Jesus addressed this sin in Matthew 23. True faith is a saving relationship with Jesus Christ characterized by repentance and trust, and embodied in love.” [17]

“Students can easily think of catechism class as a set of facts they must memorize and repeat. It can become an academic task that engages their mind but not their heart. As James says, even the demons know Jesus is Lord, and they shudder. Confirmation is all about a young man or woman affirming the vow made in their stead by their parents, sponsors, and congregation when they were baptized as infants. Discipleship is a relationship between Christ and the maturing child of God.” [18]

“Early on, Martin Luther had trouble with 2:24, “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” But as Luther later came to realize, James was not debating the value of works over faith. He was confronting the people who tried to divide works from faith. The nature of the true faith the Holy Spirit works in us is such that it is always accompanied by works of love, never stands alone without them. The same way Jesus demonstrated His grace by acts of loving service to people in need around Him.” [19]

“James holds up the examples of Abraham and Rahab, who took great risks and did great things because of their faith. How do their examples inform and encourage your life as a Christian? How does Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection do the same?” [20]

“When we look at any of the great works God did through His believers, we are given the long view, to see how our life is leading toward heaven and how God is at work every day. We are motivated, encouraged, and empowered to follow in their footsteps and do great deeds of love for our neighbor’s sake.” [21]

Compline Prayer

I am going now into the sleep: O be it in Thy dear arm’s keep, O God of grace, that I shall awake. Amen. [22]


Citations:

[1] Admin–. (2018, April 30). 5 Daily Offering prayers from 5 different saints. Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network. https://popesprayerusa.net/2018/05/08/5-daily-offering-prayers-5-different-saints/

[2] Morning Office, Anglican Church in North America 2019 Book of Common Prayer

http://bcp2019.anglicanchurch.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/06-Daily-Morning-Prayer-11.21.2019.docx

[3] A., E. E. (2016). Joshua. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 1734). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[4] Ibid. 3

[5] Ibid. 3

[6] Ibid. 3

[7] Clement of Rome. (2019). Joshua. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 720). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[8] A., E. E. (2016). Joshua. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 1734). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[9] Ibid. 8, P. 1734-1735

[10] Ibid. 8, P. 1735

[11] Ambrose. (2019). Joshua. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 720). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[12] A., E. E. (2016). Joshua. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 1735). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[13] Ibid. 13

[14] Papavassiliou, V. (2014). Prayers of the Saints. In The ancient faith prayer book (Kindle ed., p. 118). 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. 264). essay, Anamchara Books. 

[16] Forward Movement. (2013). Prayers for Guidance and Surrender. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 475). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[17] Palmer, W. (2017). James 2:14-26. In Books of the Bible Study Questions: Isaiah (PDF ed., pp. 6). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. Retrieved at: https://communication.cph.org/cs/c/?cta_guid=58749082-508f-4ff8-8f16-1ecfbbe07194&signature=AAH58kGOo2vpogXWUfppj0kP2QBSxrilwQ&pageId=12528320923&placement_guid=af76bdd6-b98e-424c-bdfc-d97f6274e84a&click=2f63bac8-7a74-48e5-ad1d-cefa73e53fff&hsutk=67a6ab24719ac4fc4b95b8d288ec6a5d&canon=https%3A%2F%2Fcommunication.cph.org%2Fbible-study-download&portal_id=487463&redirect_url=APefjpFDucKNq7sGa1UrhqVyxcz36NQ5vT55R-KOIh_zInYarFN4oc5IgNedkND_OBwlnFH_pQLzC2AqLPVeSbtWsv-aWRQfpx6mbdPCnFA1fTVBqvcWLQv-5l2g-G11P1cvwrILUPF8EfqWzm6NL0Urq9cDVUKmwEDxMS_NNiXf3ohBxBN9xRcOklZxaO4vtPVCji4XglKSI8Ar3oKILMvg8y9eiug_kcV5VNLZ-MMIg79SZni5gtzOziOawJ2SDSw9vPkR661xay8-WXhTPmYziP48c9EatA4Ntx93Qf597_ACEzpp4en_igOcUlYlFiPwHVMjcVCj&__hstc=25153893.67a6ab24719ac4fc4b95b8d288ec6a5d.1626717651643.1628103149041.1628186733466.12&__hssc=25153893.1.1628186733466&__hsfp=1550108260&contentType=standard-page

[18] Ibid. 17, P. 7

[19] Ibid. 17, P. 7

[20] Ibid. 17, P. 7

[21] Ibid. 17, P. 7

[22] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Compline. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 92113). London: HarperCollins.

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