September 30 Devotional (2021)

September 30, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: Psalm 8 / Gen 20:1-18 / Gal 3:23-29

A prayer inspire by Saint Jerome, Monk of Bethlehem and Translator of the Bible, who we remember on September 30th

O Lord, thou God of truth, whose Word is a lantern to our feet And a light upon our path: We give thee thanks for thy servant Jerome, and those who, following in his steps, have labored to render the Holy Scriptures in the language of the people; and we beseech thee that thy Holy Spirit may overshadow us as we read the written Word, and that Christ, the living Word, may transform us according to thy righteous will; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Invitatory

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: Come let us

adore him.

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.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,

    hallowed be thy Name,

    thy kingdom come,

    thy will be done,

        on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

    as we forgive those

        who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

    but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

    and the power, and the glory,

    for ever and ever. Amen.

The Hymn: “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee” 

by St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Lyrics:

1 Jesus, the very thought of thee 

with sweetness fills the breast; 

but sweeter far thy face to see, 

and in thy presence rest.

2 O hope of every contrite heart, 

O joy of all the meek, 

to those who fall, how kind thou art! 

How good to those who seek!

3 But what to those who find? Ah, this 

nor tongue nor pen can show; 

the love of Jesus, what it is, 

none but his loved ones know.

4 Jesus, our only joy be thou, 

as thou our prize wilt be; 

Jesus, be thou our glory now, 

and through eternity. [1]


A First Century Prayer for Joy and Gladness 

Blessed art You, O Lord, who have nourished me from my youth up, who gives food to all flesh. Fill our hearts with joy and gladness, that we, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work in Christ Jesus our Lord, through whom to You be glory, honour, might, majesty, and dominion, forever and ever. AMEN. 

—The Clementine Liturgy. [2]

Short Verse

Lord, have mercy upon us.

Christ, have mercy upon us.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

Morning Reading: Psalm 8

You adorn us with glory and honor

1 O Lord, our Sovereign,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.

2 Out of the mouths of babes and infants

you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,

to silence the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars that you have established;

4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them,

mortals that you care for them?

5 Yet you have made them a little lower than God,

and crowned them with glory and honor.

6 You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;

you have put all things under their feet,

7 all sheep and oxen,

and also the beasts of the field,

8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,

whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

9 O Lord, our Sovereign,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Morning Lesson

His name is wondrous!

“Psalm 8 speaks of the Incarnate Lord: (1) His name is wondrous… in all the earth, and He is exalted far beyond the heavens [v. 1; see also Php 2:9-11). (2) He brings forth praise from His humble people, who are likened to little children [v. 2; see also Mt 18:1-4; 21:16, 16]. (3) He is the Creator of the universe [v. 3; see also Heb 1:10-12]. (4) He remembered man and his mortal nature, for example, his fall into death and decay in the grave, and thus, became incarnate to redeem him from death and to crown him with glory and honor [vv. 5-8; see also Heb 26:6-10]. (5) Because of the things mentioned above, the incarnate Lord’s name is wondrous in all the earth.” [2]

Regarding this Psalm, Hesychius of Jerusalem wrote, “The church says, “

‘O Lord, our Lord.’ For after the recognition of Christ when one is freed from the slavery of idolatry, one begins to call on God and the Lord. Always the whole earth truly is full of the marvelous creations, the works of God. And even more marvelous the name of that One, namely, Christ, has been made wonderful among all the nations and foreign peoples through faith in him,” (Large Commentary on Psalms 8). [3]

Listen to Psalm 8

A Second Century Prayer 

May God the Father, and the Eternal High Priest Jesus Christ, build us up in faith and truth and love, and grant to us our portion among the saints with all those who believe on our Lord Jesus Christ. We pray for all saints, for kings and rulers, for the enemies of the Cross of Christ, and for ourselves we pray that our fruit may abound and we may be made perfect in Christ Jesus our Lord. AMEN. 

—Polycarp [5]

Midday Intercession

[6]

Short Verse

“May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.”

St. Teresa Of Avila
[7]
“Sarah and Abimelech”
By Marc Chagall

Midday Reading: Genesis 20:1-18

Abraham pretends Sarah is his sister

1 From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. 2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” 4 Now Abimelech had not approached her. So he said, “Lord, will you kill an innocent people? 5 Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.” 6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. 7 Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”

8 So Abimelech rose early in the morning and called all his servants and told them all these things. And the men were very much afraid. 9 Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done.” 10 And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you see, that you did this thing?” 11 Abraham said, “I did it because I thought, ‘There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife. 13 And when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, I said to her, ‘This is the kindness you must do me: at every place to which we come, say of me, “He is my brother.”’”

14 Then Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and male servants and female servants, and gave them to Abraham, and returned Sarah his wife to him. 15 And Abimelech said, “Behold, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you.” 16 To Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. It is a sign of your innocence in the eyes of all who are with you, and before everyone you are vindicated.” 17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children. 18 For the LORD had closed all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

Midday Lesson

Abraham protects himself instead of trusting God

Today’s reading from Genesis begins, From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” “Abraham had used this same trick before to protect himself (12:11-13). Although Abraham is one of our heroes of faith, he did not learn his lesson well enough the first time. In fact, by giving in to the temptation again, he risked turning a sinful act into a sinful pattern of lying whenever he suspected his life was in danger.” [8]

“No matter how much we love God, certain temptations are especially difficult to resist. These are the vulnerable spots in our spiritual armor. As we struggle with these weaknesses, we can be encouraged to know that God is watching out for us just as he did for Abraham.” [9]

“Abimelech had unknowingly taken a married woman to be his wife and was about to commit adultery. But God somehow prevented him from touching Sarah and held him back from sinning. What mercy on God’s part! How many times has God done the same for us, holding us back from sin in ways we can’t even detect? We have no way of knowing—we just know from this story that he can. God works just as often in ways we can’t see as in ways we can.” [10]

“Because Abraham mistakenly assumed that Abimelech was a wicked man, he made a quick decision to tell a half-truth. Abraham thought it would be more effective to deceive Abimelech than to trust God to work in the king’s life. Don’t assume that God will not work in a situation that has potential problems. You may not completely understand the situation, and God may intervene when you least expect it.” [11]

“Why did God punish Abimelech when he had no idea Sarah was married? (1) Even though Abimelech’s intentions were good, as long as Sarah was living in his harem he was in danger of sinning. A person who eats a poisonous toadstool, thinking it’s a harmless mushroom, no doubt has perfectly good intentions—but will still suffer. Sin is a poison that damages us and those around us, whatever our intentions. (2) The punishment, striking all the women of Abimelech’s household with infertility, lasted only as long as Abimelech was in danger of sleeping with Sarah. It was meant to change the situation, not to harm Abimelech. (3) The punishment clearly showed that Abraham was in league with almighty God. This incident may have made Abimelech respect and fear Abraham’s God.” [12]


A Second Century Prayer for Soul Cleansing 

O God, who have taught us Your divine and saving oracles, enlighten the souls of us sinners for the comprehension of the things which have been before spoken, so that we may not only be seen to be hearers of spiritual things, but also doers of good deeds, striving after guileless faith, blameless life, and pure conversation.

—Liturgy of St. James [13]

Short Verse

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

James 1:19

Eventide Reading: Galatians 3:23-29

Children of God in Christ

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

“You Are Not Alone”
By Laur Iduc

Eventide Lesson

It’s all about Christ!

“Paul is addressing the Judaizers’ thought that Gentiles must become Jews to be acceptable in God’s sight. Paul states that in God’s eyes, there is no distinction between His children—Jews have no priority over Greeks, free people have no priority over slaves, men have no priority over women. Gentiles do not need to become Jews, and women do not need to become men.” [14] 

“God gave His Gospel promise directly to Abraham 430 years before He gave Israel the Law on Mt. Sinai through Moses. God gave that Law because Abraham’s descendants continued in sin and transgression. It acted as a guardian until Christ came and we could be free to enjoy the inheritance He earned for us all.” [15]

“Think back to your childhood understanding of Christianity. Would you consider it to be oriented more toward Law or Gospel? How has your understanding changed since then? Sadly, Many of us came to understand Christianity as a series of rules for how to act in God’s house, what we should do and should not do. For many, the focus seemed to be on ourselves and what we have to do rather than what God has done. As we mature, we hopefully learn that Christianity is all about Christ and the forgiveness and salvation He freely gives us as a gift.” [16]

Compline Prayer

Abide with me, for it is toward evening, and the day of this toilsome life is now far spent. (—Jer. vi. 4.) Amen.


Citations:

[1] Tickle, P. (2000). AUgust. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 394). New York, NY: Image Books.

[2] Potts, J. M. (2020). First Century Prayers. In Prayers of the Early Church (Kindle, pp. 20). essay. 

[3] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Psalms. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 716). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Hesychius of Jerusalem. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1535). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[5] Potts, J. M. (2020). Second Century Prayers. In Prayers of the Early Church (Kindle, pp. 21). essay.

[6] Forward Movement. (2013). Intercessions. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 676). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

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

[8] Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (2013). Study Notes: Genesis. In Life application study Bible: King James version (Kindle ed., p. 6522). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House.

[9] Ibid. 8

[10] Ibid. 8

[11] Ibid. 8, P. 6568

[12] Ibid. 8, P. 6568

[13] Potts, J. M. (2020). Second Century Prayers. In Prayers of the Early Church (Kindle, pp. 22). essay. 

[14] Palmer, W. (2017). Gal 3:15-29. In Books of the Bible Study Questions: Galatians (PDF ed., pp. 6). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. Retrieved at: https://communication.cph.org/cs/c/?cta_guid=6fc63b56-9536-4a7c-b633-4110877634b3&signature=AAH58kEVlndrIrwbaJDFjNcGj74ePtDuXQ&pageId=12528320923&placement_guid=1c5e3c1d-323b-418d-8351-8e78bd812d16&click=22835780-ac26-44c5-a66f-5bf73f4025ff&hsutk=b63eb4971a63591bed02e597a8add3bc&canon=https%3A%2F%2Fcommunication.cph.org%2Fbooks-of-the-bible-study-questions%2Fthank-you&portal_id=487463&redirect_url=APefjpHLytYqo400H5S0iJL6Rjmet0_j5P0cCI31pDIkuFMFOX1EwlBTFqDAftGpd9JM4jAAeNIPx4fRvX-lBu_OA56uSiViWcLZgTGw1hZlcPWgPfsZxl36kLkeBR_1X1sRBFVye8fiW05B9QmDUDwl66xojrUQoWEdhMuZ4hy5ZlmzyYdJdO9v9Y5jF4ftz0hKOYLy-vW04vnrQOxnwQIcs9xRZfv-uez-_JvSm5BEqUSIGfPrMew&__hstc=25153893.b63eb4971a63591bed02e597a8add3bc.1631613806632.1631613806632.1631613806632.1&__hssc=25153893.1.1631613806634&__hsfp=1550108260&contentType=standard-page

[15] Ibid. 14

[16] Ibid. 14

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