September 15 Devotional (2021)

September 15, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 10:5-21 / John 7:25-36 / “Grant me, sweet Christ, the grace to find…

A prayer inspired by Dante Alighieri, Poet and Spiritual Writer, who we remember on September 15th

Almighty God, who didst move thy servant Dante Alighieri to Portray in magnificent poetry thy steadfast rejection of sin, thy loving correction of those who repent, and the joy of abiding in thy presence forever: Grant us the grace to acknowledge our sins and to see clearly the utter emptiness of life without thee, the grace to amend our lives and to embrace willingly the means whereby thou dost perfect us in holiness and love of thee, and the grace to abide in thy will and rejoice in thy presence both in this life and in the life to come; the which we ask through Jesus Christ our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever. Amen.

A prayer inspired by Saint Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage and Martyr, who the Church remembers on September 15th

Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant Cyprian boldness to Confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of the same our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and 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

Most merciful Father, You know our needs and the longings of our soul: Hear the prayers of those who have come here today to search Your Word. For those of us who come feeling broken, bring restoration. For those who come feeling weak, bring strength. For those who come weeping and filled with sorrow, bring joy and hope. For those who come with affliction, bring comfort and reprieve. For those who come with doubts, bring faith. For those who come feeling shame, bring liberation. For those who come feeling burdened, bring rest. For those who come feeling anxious, bring peace. This we ask through Your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Hymn

“It is well with my soul”

Morning Prayer

From The Great Litany

From all inordinate and sinful affections; and from all the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil,

Good Lord, deliver us. [1]

Short Verse

The old man Hyparchus used to say, ‘Do not abuse your neighbour, and drive not away a man who turned) towards you, so that you may be able to say to our Lord, Forgive us our sins, even as we also forgive those who trespass against us.”

Sayings of the Holy Desert Fathers
[2]

Morning Reading: Isaiah 10:5-21

Evil will be destroyed

5 Woe to Assyria, the rod of my anger;

the staff in their hands is my fury!

6 Against a godless nation I send him,

and against the people of my wrath I command him,

to take spoil and seize plunder,

and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.

7 But he does not so intend,

and his heart does not so think;

but it is in his heart to destroy,

and to cut off nations not a few;

8 for he says:

“Are not my commanders all kings?

9 Is not Calno like Carchemish?

Is not Hamath like Arpad?

Is not Samaria like Damascus?

10 As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols,

whose carved images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria,

11 shall I not do to Jerusalem and her idols

as I have done to Samaria and her images?”

12 When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the boastful look in his eyes. 13 For he says:

“By the strength of my hand I have done it,

and by my wisdom, for I have understanding;

I remove the boundaries of peoples,

and plunder their treasures;

like a bull I bring down those who sit on thrones.

14 My hand has found like a nest

the wealth of the peoples;

and as one gathers eggs that have been forsaken,

so I have gathered all the earth;

and there was none that moved a wing

or opened the mouth or chirped.”

15 Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it,

or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it?

As if a rod should wield him who lifts it,

or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood!

16 Therefore the Lord GOD of hosts

will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors,

and under his glory a burning will be kindled,

like the burning of fire.

17 The light of Israel will become a fire,

and his Holy One a flame,

and it will burn and devour

his thorns and briers in one day.

18 The glory of his forest and of his fruitful land

the LORD will destroy, both soul and body,

and it will be as when a sick man wastes away.

19 The remnant of the trees of his forest will be so few

that a child can write them down.

20 In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. 21 A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.

Morning Lesson

Judgment on Arrogant Assyria
  • Verse 9: “Calno, Carchemish, Hamath, Arpad, Samaria, and Damascus were cities conquered by Assyria. Filled with confidence because of his great victories, the king of Assyria gave an arrogant speech. He thought that Judah would be defeated just as the other kingdoms had. Little did the Assyrian king know that Judah was protected by the mightier hand of God.” [3]
  • Verse 12:  “The predicted punishment of the Assyrians soon took place. In 701 B.C., 185,000 Assyrian soldiers were slain by the angel of the Lord (37:36-37). Later, the Assyrian Empire fell to Babylon, never to rise again as a world power.” [4]
  • Verse 12: “The Assyrians were arrogant. Proud of the victories God permitted, they thought they had accomplished everything in their own power. Our perspective can also become distorted by pride if we fail to recognize that God is working his purposes through us. When we think we are strong enough for anything, we are bound to fail because pride has blinded us to the reality that God is ultimately in control.” [5]
  • Verse 15: “No instrument or tool accomplishes its purposes without a greater power. The Assyrians were a tool in God’s hands, but they failed to recognize it. When a tool boasts of greater power than the one who uses it, it is in danger of being discarded. We must not consider the resources and special talents that God has given us as something we have created or earned. All we are and have is a gift from God.” [6]
  • Verse 17:  “Assyria’s downfall came in 612 B.C. when Nineveh, the capital city, was destroyed. Assyria had been God’s instrument of judgment against Israel, but it, too, would be judged for its wickedness. No one escapes God’s judgment against sin, not even the most powerful of nations (Psalm 2).” [7]
  • Verses 20-21:  “Once Assyria’s army was destroyed, a small group of God’s people would stop relying on Assyria and start trusting God. This remnant would be but a fraction of Israel’s former population: see Ezra 2:64-65 for the small number who returned to Judah (see also Isaiah 11:10-16).” [8]
  • Verses 20-21: “Those who remained faithful to God despite the horrors of the invasion are called the remnant. The key to being a part of the remnant was faith. Being a descendant of Abraham, living in the Promised Land, having trusted God at one time—none of these were good enough. Are you relying on your Christian heritage, your participation in church, or a past experience to qualify you for a place in God’s family? The key to being a true Christian is faith in the mighty God.” [9]

Midday Prayer

From The Great Litany

From all false doctrine, heresy, and schism; from hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word and commandment,

Good Lord, deliver us. [10]

Midday Intercession

[11]

Short Verse

“The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today.”

St. Francis of Assisi
[12]

Midday Reading: John 7:25-36

Jesus the Messiah

25 Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, “Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? 26 And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? 27 But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.” 28 So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. 29 I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” 30 So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31 Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?”

32 The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. 33 Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. 34 You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.” 35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? 36 What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?”

Midday Lesson

Can This Be the Christ?

“When Jesus’ actions did not match their expectations for the Messiah, the residents of Jerusalem joined in the effort to kill Him for blasphemy.” [13] “Why were the Jewish leaders and people unable to lay their hands on Jesus, even though they wanted to arrest Him? God the Father was the only one who could decide the time when His Son would be handed over (betrayed) into their hands. That time was coming soon—at the spring Passover. But not here at the fall Feast of Booths.” [14]


Eventide Prayer

From The Great Litany

From lightning and tempest; from earthquake, fire, and flood; from plague, pestilence, and famine,

Good Lord, deliver us. [15]

Short Verse

“Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they enkindle and melt the soul.”

St Teresa Of Avila
[16]

Eventide Reading

Grant me, sweet Christ, the grace to find…

Grant me, sweet Christ, the grace to find, Son of the Living God, small hut in a lonesome spot to make it my abode.

A little pool but very clear, to stand beside the place where every sin is washed away by sanctifying grace.

A pleasant woodland all about, and make a home for singing birds before it and behind.

A southern aspect for the heat, a stream along its foot, a smooth green lawn with rich topsoil propitious to all fruit

My choice of those to live with me and pray to God as well; quiet friends of humble mind their number I shall tell.

A lovely church, a home for God, bedecked with linen fine, where o’er the whitened Gospel page the Gospel candles shine.

A little house where all may dwell, and body’s care be sought, where none shows lust or arrogance, none thinks an evil thought.

And all I ask for housekeeping I get and pay no fees, leeks from the garden, poultry, game, salmon, fruit and bees.

My share of clothing and of food from the King of fairest face, and I to sit at times alone and pray in every place.

– Abbot Munteith, The Hermit’s Prayer, sixth century [17]

God of the secret, quiet place, 

I hide myself in you.

[18]

Compline Prayer

Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [19]


Citations:

[1] Episcopal Church. (1979). The Great Litany. 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. 149). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[2] Of Scrupulous Watchfulness (1907). In The Sayings of the Holy Fathers: Books I and II (Kindle ed., p. 107).  W. Budge (Ed.)

[3] Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (2013). Study Notes: Isaiah. In Life application study Bible: King James version (Kindle ed., p. 7677). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House.

[4] Ibid. 3

[5] Ibid. 3

[6] Ibid. 3, P. 7677-7678

[7] Ibid. 3, P. 7678

[8] Ibid. 3, P. 7678

[9] Ibid. 3, P. 7678

[10] Episcopal Church. (1979). The Great Litany. 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. 149). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[11] Forward Movement. (2013). Intercessions. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 652). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[12] St. Francis of Assisi . (n.d.). TOP 25 quotes by Francis OF ASSISI (of 117): A-Z Quotes. A. https://www.azquotes.com/author/616-Francis_of_Assisi

[13] Palmer, W. (2018). John 7:25-36. In Books of the Bible Study Questions:John (PDF ed., pp. 10). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. Retrieved at: https://communication.cph.org/cs/c/?cta_guid=99253c62-bb2b-42bc-b01d-16f12325322a&signature=AAH58kG0bRgnmKoDNsqHJqhCQ6XsB0il_A&pageId=12528320923&placement_guid=76bc4298-0e14-4b31-bba7-3e8ffd1fdd05&click=a0d2322a-782d-4d2f-a86d-8a2ff2c69f8f&hsutk=67a6ab24719ac4fc4b95b8d288ec6a5d&canon=https%3A%2F%2Fcommunication.cph.org%2Fbible-study-download&portal_id=487463&redirect_url=APefjpFbCmKGS1XaLrdsFQUCM0jK8ZIg_nppl-gya45heOP9x5If92KmuioOyZZFniKnzDzOe-grSPlh3Z3QmvZScUkp5_VQXUDvEE6rbq-lAJcyTn5DgpfAZwczSBOK2UPEFvysneOtbfZDRWS3Ibz2d6cYAMTeYRR4X19Ugv6wTwNuQZ4njZHCBQhQ9l4gtd–cCagtKcFCT41HQTg-Aui7m8xUvkyOZvMMfiA8_MUz1SPfpioK_RRPTpgbvJVVDX8MFFpdOO1VrXFDKNhPiwQiizhrLPc1qGbb8g221_dbFs61n6NHeVqugs7yFHWA7NU_yPDT_r1ZhEzU49h6gxb76CXLycjaqrZ51SXNIWa_bng8ByMUXI&__hstc=25153893.67a6ab24719ac4fc4b95b8d288ec6a5d.1626717651643.1628103149041.1628186733466.12&__hssc=25153893.1.1628186733466&__hsfp=1550108260&contentType=standard-page

[14] Ibid. 13

[15] Episcopal Church. (1979). The Great Litany. 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. 149). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[16] St Teresa Of Avila. (2017). 14 of the most powerful PEACE quotes from st Teresa OF AVILA. The Writings of Cora Evans. https://www.coraevans.com/blog/article/14-Of-The-Most-Powerful-Peace-Quotes-From-St-Teresa-Of-Avila

[17] 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. 102). essay, Anamchara Books. 

[18] Ibid. 17

[19] 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. 133). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated

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