September 22 Devotional (2021)

September 22, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: Jer 1:4-10  /  John 8:21-38  /  “Follow the example of good men”

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

The Breton Fisherman’s Prayer

Dear God, be good to me.

The sea is so wide,

And my boat is so small. [1]

Hymn

“Stand By Me” 

by Charles A. Tindley

Lyrics:

When the storms of life are raging, 

Stand by me; 

When the world is tossing me, 

Like a ship upon the sea; 

You who rule the wind and water, 

Stand by me. 

In the midst of tribulation, 

Stand by me; 

When the hosts of hell assail, 

And my strength begins to fail, 

You who never lost a battle, 

Stand by me. 

In the midst of faults and failures, 

Stand by me; 

When I do the best I can, 

And my friends misunderstand, 

You who know all about me, 

Stand by me. 

When I’m growing old and feeble, 

Stand by me; 

When my life becomes a burden, 

And I’m nearing chilly Jordan, 

O You “Lily of the Valley,” 

Stand by me. [2]


Morning Prayer

From The Great Litany

That it may please thee to make wars to cease in all the world; to give to all nations unity, peace, and concord; and to bestow freedom upon all peoples,

          We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord. [3]

Short Verse

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

1 John 1:5

Morning Reading: Jeremiah 1:4-10

God calls Jeremiah

4 Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

and before you were born I consecrated you;

I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” 7 But the LORD said to me,

“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;

for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,

and whatever I command you, you shall speak.

8 Do not be afraid of them,

for I am with you to deliver you,

declares the LORD.”

9 Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me,

“Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.

10 See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,

to pluck up and to break down,

to destroy and to overthrow,

to build and to plant.”

Morning Lesson

Verbs of destruction and construction

“Consecrated to the prophetic office before he was born, this youth was neither a wide-eyed visionary nor a self-appointed rabble-rouser. God commissioned Jeremiah to speak His words, charged with the power to destroy whatever opposed the kingdom of God and to build whatever would promote its coming.” [4]

St Bernard of Clairvaux remarked, “How beautifully the Divine oracle has distinguished between conception in the womb and birth from the womb! and showed that if the one was foreseen only, the other was blessed beforehand with the gift of holiness: that no one might think that the glory of Jeremiah consisted only in being the object of the foreknowledge of God, but also of His predestination.” [5]

“Though the date of Jeremiah’s birth is unknown, he was likely under 20 years old. God overcame this young man’s hesitation to assume his task just as He did in the case of others called to His service (Ex 3:1–4:17; Jgs 6:11–18; cf 1Sm 17:33, 42; Gal 1:15–16; 1Tm 4:12 ).” [6]

Verse 9 informs us that “Jeremiah’s words are God’s words. Jeremiah repeatedly uses prophetic statements such as ‘declares the LORD,’ ‘thus says the LORD,’ and ‘the word of the LORD came’… No allowance is made for the possibility that God’s Word is no longer true in all respects because it is transmitted by a fallible prophet.” [7]

In verse 10, “four verbs of destruction” – pluck . . . break . . . destroy . . . overthrow – “are used (in contrast with two verbs of construction)” – build . . . plant –  “because destruction will dominate Jeremiah’s message to sinful Judah.” [8] Reformation theologian Philip Melanchthon explained, “The voice of the Law condemning sins must constantly be set forth and taught in the church, and indeed it would be a monstrous crime to conceal God’s judgment and His voice which announces His wrath against sin.” [9]

“Thorough destruction will clear the way for the Lord to restore the nation.” [10]


Midday Prayer

From The Great Litany

That it may please thee to show thy pity upon all prisoners and captives, the homeless and the hungry, and all who are desolate and oppressed,

          We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord. [11]

Midday Intercession

[12]

Short Verse

“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”

St. Francis of Assisi
[13]
The Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles. Russian, 14th century, Moscow Museum.

Midday Reading: John 8:21-38

Being disciples of Jesus

21 So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” 22 So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23 He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” 25 So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. 26 I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” 27 They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” 30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him.

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”

34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

Midday Lesson

Liberation through Christ

“Jesus claims to be the light of the world, through whom people may have life, which prompts the Pharisees to question His authority. Unless individuals believe in Jesus Christ, who was sent by God the Father, they will die in their sins. Jesus’ cross reveals that He is truly the Messiah, the Son of Man sent to deliver us from spiritual darkness.” [14]

“Jews with a weak faith in Jesus balk when He says that true freedom comes through Him and His teaching. Humans are self-centered from birth and in bondage to sin, unable to please God ( Rm 8: 8 ). Through Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection, He provides liberation from sin, death, and the devil to all who believe and are baptized into His name.” [15] 

“Heavenly Father, You have made me a new person through Baptism. Now make me Your light in the world.” [16] “Grant that I may remain faithful to Your Word until my last hour, O Lord. Amen.” [17]


Eventide Prayer

From The Great Litany

That it may please thee to give and preserve to our use the bountiful fruits of the earth, so that in due time all may enjoy them,

          We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord. [18]

Short Verse

“You pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him.”

St. Teresa Of Avila
[19]

Eventide Reading

Follow the example of good men of old

        Where young and old with gladness dance with Me

        I’ll give My house of hospitality.

        Don’t store false treasure.

        Follow their example, these good men of old;

        and buy My field –with moth-strewn gold.

        True men and women who responded:

        these were empty vessels, filled with treasure

        hidden deep within them by My hand.

        Freely you have received,

        so freely you must give your plans to Me,

        right from the start; then you will truly live.

        Good men of old learned not to say,

        ‘I’m sorry I believe.’

      I look not for wary, reluctant

        followers on the fringe.

        Instead I shall allow, in full community,

        My waymarks to proclaim My truth, My name;

        empty vessels standing low awaiting

        the ebb or flow, from My deciding, guiding hand,

        of waters hidden deep within the land.

        ‘Son, they have little wine at this feast.’

      And at her request the jars are filled,

        even the best.

        The water now offered is made choicest wine.

        And the Father surely smiles.

        Oh to respond, empty vessels,

        as good men of times past,

        and carry this vintage refreshment

        to those coming last!

By Ken Lydon [20]

Compline Prayer

O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [21]


Citations:

[1] Kitch, A. E. (2004). The Breton Fisherman’s Prayer. In The Anglican family prayer book (Kindle ed., 110). Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Pub.

[2] Tickle, P. (2000). September. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 580). New York, NY: Image Books.

[3] 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. 151). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated

[4] A., E. E. (2016). Jeremiah. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 5138). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[5] Ibid. 4, P. 5139

[6] Ibid. 4, P. 5139

[7] Ibid. 4, P. 5139

[8] Ibid. 4, P. 5139

[9] Ibid. 4, P. 5139

[10] Ibid. 4, P. 5139

[11] 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.

[12] Forward Movement. (2013). Intercessions. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 672). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[13] St. Francis of Assisi. (n.d.). TOP 25 quotes by Francis OF ASSISI (of 117): A-Z Quotes. A. Retrieved September 12, 2021, from https://www.azquotes.com/author/616-Francis_of_Assisi

[14] A., E. E. (2016). John. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 6259). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[15] Ibid. 14, P. 6260

[16] Ibid. 14

[17] Ibid. 14, P. 6260

[18] 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.

[19] Dillon, M. (n.d.). 14 of the most powerful PEACE quotes from st Teresa OF AVILA. The Writings of Cora Evans. Retrieved September 12, 2021, from https://www.coraevans.com/blog/article/14-Of-The-Most-Powerful-Peace-Quotes-From-St-Teresa-Of-Avila

[20] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Daily Prayer. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 17068-17093). London: HarperCollins.

[21] 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. 134). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

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