November 22 Devotional (2021)


November 22 Commemoration: C. S. Lewis (Anglican, Author, Scholar & Spiritual Writer)

Almighty God, whose servant C S Lewis received of thy grace singular Gifts of insight in understanding the truth in Christ Jesus, and of eloquence and clarity in presenting that truth to his readers: Raise up in our day faithful interpreters of thy Word, that we, being set free from all error and unbelief, may come to the knowledge that maketh us wise unto salvation: through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


November 22, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: 

  • Psalm 76, God is victorious
  • Daniel 7:15-28, The holy ones receive the kingdom
  • Revelation 11:1-14, The dead are filled with the breath of life

Invitatory 

O give thanks to the Lord, and call upon his Name; make known his deeds among the peoples.    

(Psalm 105:1)

Alleluia. 

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

Opening Prayer

Of the Reign of Christ

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. [1]

Intercession

For Peace

Almighty God, kindle, we beseech thee, in every heart the true love of peace, and guide with thy wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth, that in tranquillity thy dominion may increase till the earth is filled with the knowledge of thy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. [2]

Hymn

“Jesus Shall Reign” by Isaac Watts

Morning Prayer

May the spiritual songs

and sweet hymns we sing to

you, O Christ,

please your majesty,

as we offer our spiritual sacrifice;

you live and reign together

with the Father and the Holy

Spirit,

forever and ever. Amen. 

[3]

Short Verse

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Hebrews 1:3
“Victory and Romance” Mythological painting on paper with Red Rider and Horse
By Apostolos Chantzaras

Morning Reading

Psalm 76, God is victorious

In Judah God is known,

his name is great in Israel.

His abode has been established in Salem,

his dwelling place in Zion.

There he broke the flashing arrows,

the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war.    Selah

Glorious are you, more majestic

than the everlasting mountains.

The stouthearted were stripped of their spoil;

they sank into sleep;

none of the troops

was able to lift a hand.

At your rebuke, O God of Jacob,

both rider and horse lay stunned.

But you indeed are awesome!

Who can stand before you

when once your anger is roused?

From the heavens you uttered judgment;

the earth feared and was still

when God rose up to establish judgment,

to save all the oppressed of the earth.    Selah

Human wrath serves only to praise you,

when you bind the last bit of your wrath around you.

Make vows to the Lord your God, and perform them;

let all who are around him bring gifts

to the one who is awesome,

who cuts off the spirit of princes,

who inspires fear in the kings of the earth.

Morning Lesson

Salvation to God’s Chosen People

“Judah and Israel are mentioned interchangeably in this psalm, referring not to the separated kingdoms but to the whole body of the Chosen People. All the people of Israel were united especially in their divine worship in the Temple of Jerusalem. God also revealed himself to the Gentile nations through his mighty works and his punishment of the enemies of Israel. The Jewish nation was the vehicle for the advent of the Messiah who would bring the whole human race to salvation. As St. Jerome wrote: ‘Before the cross brought light to the world, even before the Lord was seen on earth, ‘in Judah God is known, his name is great in Israel’; but when the Savior did come, his voice was heard through all the world and his words reached the ends of the earth’ (Breviarium in Psalmos, 75, 1).” [4]

Commentary from the Early Church

Psalm 76:5 

Saint Augustine

“This life is a dream life; these riches are, as it were, flowing through our sleep. . . . Sometimes, too, a beggar lying on the ground, shivering with cold but still overcome with sleep, will dream of untold wealth, and rejoice and grow proud in his sleep and not deign to recognize his ragged old father, and until he wakes up he is rich. So when he goes to sleep, he finds something false and unreal to rejoice in; when he wakes up he finds something only too real and true to grieve over. So the rich person when he dies is like the poor person when he wakes up, after seeing untold wealth in his sleep. I mean, there was that man too, “clothed in purple and fine linen,” a certain rich man who was neither named nor fit to be named, a despiser of the poor man lying at his gate. He was clothed in purple and fine linen, as the Gospel testifies, and he feasted sumptuously every day. He died, he was buried; he woke up and found himself in the flames. So he slept his sleep and found nothing in his hands, that man of riches, because he had done nothing good with his hands. [See Lk 16:19-31.]”

(Sermon 345.1. [5])

Psalm 76:5 

Saint Jerome

“[W]hen we have to face the hard and cruel necessity of death, we are comforted by this consolation, that we shall shortly see again those whose absence we now mourn. For their end is not called death but a slumber and a falling asleep.” 

(Letter 75.1. [6])


Midday Prayer

Lord God of hosts,

possessor of heaven and earth,

Lord and maker,

King of kings and Lord of lords,

you are excellent, over all the

nations,

and your glory is above the

heavens.

I comment my spirit into your

mighty hands,

that you may care for it by day

and night,

hour by hour, moment by mo-

ment,

by angels, archangels, virtues,

dominions, principalities,

powers, thrones, cherubim and

seraphim….

I ask your favor on my prayers.

Lord Jesus Christ, hear me and

have mercy on me;

you reign now and forever.

Amen. 

  • Book of Cerne, p. 139-140 [7]

Short Verse

But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.

Hebrews 1:8
The First Vision of Daniel [Dan 7]. Seascape with Daniel seen from behind and sitting on the shore at left, pointing the Archangel Gabriel towards his vision, four beasts rising from the sea at right (a lion, bear, leopard and dragon), four putti heads in the sky blowing wind, the throne of the Ancient of days issuing fire from top centre
Engraving
By Hieronymus Wierix

Midday Reading

Daniel 7:15-28, The holy ones receive the kingdom

15 “As for me, Daniel, my spirit within meb was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me. 16 I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things. 17 ‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’

19 “Then I desired to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet, 20 and about the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn that came up and before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions. 21 As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.

23 “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast,

there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth,

which shall be different from all the kingdoms,

and it shall devour the whole earth,

and trample it down, and break it to pieces.

24 As for the ten horns,

out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,

and another shall arise after them;

he shall be different from the former ones,

and shall put down three kings.

25 He shall speak words against the Most High,

and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,

and shall think to change the times and the law;

and they shall be given into his hand

for a time, times, and half a time.

26 But the court shall sit in judgment,

and his dominion shall be taken away,

to be consumed and destroyed to the end.

27 And the kingdom and the dominion

and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven

shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;

his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,

and all dominions shall serve and obey him.’c

28 “Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed, but I kept the matter in my heart.”

Midday Lesson

Daniel’s Vision of the Four Beasts Interpreted
Daniel 7:1-28

The first of Daniel’s four visions. It adapts the traditional Semitic motif of a warrior god who conquers the chaos of the sea and then claims the reward of kingship (known as the “combat myth”). Theologically, the vision is fully conformed to Israel’s faith in Yahweh as the Victor over evil and chaos in the world (cf. Job 26:12-13; Ps 74:12-14; Is 27:1).

[8]
Daniel 7:16, one… who stood

One of the angels standing before the Lord (7:10). 

[9]
Daniel 7:18, saints

Or, “holy ones”, an expression that can refer to angels (Job 15:15; Zech 14:5) as well as the faithful of Israel (Ps 34:9; Wis 18:9). In Daniel’s visions, it refers to Israel as a “people” (7:27) persecuted by earthly powers (7:21, 25; 8:24). Angels likewise figure in the judgment scene, but they are called “a thousand thousands” and “ten thousand times ten thousand” (7:10). 

[10]
Daniel 7:8, 24, 25:

The little horn is seen to be the antichrist, an eleventh king who shall appear suddenly in the midst of the ten horns, seizing power through magic and sorcery. He will exalt himself as God and make war on the Church (v. 11). But Christ will deliver the Church and establish God’s everlasting kingdom. The [o]rthodox response to the prophetic teaching of the Scriptures is not to fear, or to try to second-guess God’s timetable, but rather to practice repentance and watchfulness against sin and to engage in spreading the gospel.

[11]
Daniel 7:25: 

A time, times, and half a time refers to the “short time” (three and a half years) of tribulation that will befall the faithful just prior to the end of the age.

[12]
Daniel 7:25, time… times … half a time

The time-unit in question is probably a year, in which case the expression means three and a half years (12:7). · In the Book of Revelation, this is the time frame in which Jerusalem and its sanctuary are laid waste (Rev 11:2) and the earliest Christian believers seek refuge outside the doomed city (Rev 12:14). Historically, the Jewish revolt that sparked the Roman conquest of Jerusalem lasted about three and a half years, from  February of A.D. 67 until September of A.D. 70.

[13]
Daniel 7:28, Here … mind

The final verse written in Aramaic. The book continues in Hebrew from 8:1 to 12:13. 

[14]

Eventide Prayer

BLESSING AND HONOR, thanksgiving and praise, more than we can utter be unto thee, O glorious Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, by all angels, all mortals, the whole creation, for ever and ever. Amen. [15]

Short Verse

And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!

Revelation 15:3
The two witnesses, as depicted in the Bamberg Apocalypse, an 11th-century illuminated manuscript.

Eventide Reading

Revelation 11:1-14, The dead are filled with the breath of life

1 Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, 2 but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. 3 And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”

4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5 And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. 6 They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. 7 And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, 8 and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, 10 and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. 11 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. 13 And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

14 The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come.

Eventide Lesson

The Two Witnesses

The measurement of the temple (vv. 1-2) “recalls Ezekiel’s vision (Ezk 40-42). Here the measurement indicates the preservation of the temple, not restoration. Commentators variously interpret the temple as (1) a literal temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem in the future, (2) a symbol of the Church (see Eph 2:19-21; 1Pt 2:5), or (3) the Jewish-Christian Church of the first century. The holy city (v. 2) shows the setting to be Jerusalem. The Synoptic Gospels also taught that Jerusalem would fall (Mt 24; Mk 13; Lk 21); Luke mentioned specifically that the Gentiles would trample Jerusalem for a period (21:24). In patristic tradition the second interpretation is preferable. The court outside (v. 2) is for both Jews and Gentiles. It will not be measured because of the large number of Christians.” [16]

“The forty-two months (v. 2) is three and a half years, one-half of seven, symbolizing what is not full or final but temporary, incomplete. It derives from Daniel’s “a time, two times, and half a time” (12:7), the three-and-a-half-year period when the temple was to be profaned (Dan 9:27). John affirms the true temple, the Church, will be preserved during this Gentile onslaught. ‘Temple’ is a frequent NT symbol for the Church (1Co 3:16, 17; 2Co 6:16; Eph 2:19-22).” [17]

“The identity of the two witnesses [v. 3] is much disputed. The most common opinion of the church fathers is that they represent Elijah and Enoch, who were believed to have ascended to heaven. In Jewish tradition, Moses is frequently substituted for Enoch on the basis of the tradition that he, too, ascended to heaven. It was Moses who appeared with Elijah at the Transfiguration of Jesus. John most likely drew on the Jewish tradition that Elijah would return to preach in the last days (Mal 3:22; Mt 4:5). Although Jesus identified the Elijah figure with John the Baptist, many continued to believe in an actual appearance of Elijah before the end. Sackcloth was the ancient garb of penitence (see Jer 4:8; Mt 11:21). The prophecy of the two witnesses will continue for 1,260 days (42 months or 3-1/2 years; see Dan 7:25; 12:7). This period may be interpreted as “fullness” (i.e., seven) arrested halfway, imperfect, impermanent, not necessarily to be taken in a numerically literal manner.” [18]

“These two olive trees and the two lampstands who stand before. God [v. 4] are the eschatological agents of God at work on earth. This symbolic description of the witnesses is derived from Zechariah’s vision concerning Zerubbabel the governor and Joshua the high priest, who are described as standing ‘beside the Lord of all the earth’ (Zec 4:14).” [19]

Verses 5-6 tell us, And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. “These features are reminiscent of Elijah’s ministry (3Kg 17) and the plagues God visited upon the Egyptians through Moses (Ex 7-11).” [20]

The beast of verse 7 “is either the Antichrist or the Roman Empire (see 13:1-10; Dan 7).” [21]

In verse 8, “the great city … where also our Lord was crucified, is clearly Jerusalem (which kills the prophets; Lk 13:34). Like Sodom and Egypt, Jerusalem becomes self-sufficient and rebels against God.” [22]

“The peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations (v. 9) represent the whole world in rebellion against God. They rejoice at the sight of the dead prophets because the prophets’ preaching had tormented the rebels’ consciences.” [23]

Verse 11 says, But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. The breath of life “is a biblical term for the animating life-force manifest in the breath. The resurrection of the witnesses is conceivable because of the traditions regarding the ascensions of Enoch, Elijah, and Moses (see, as well, the dry bones of Ezk 37).” [24]

Compline Prayer

I give God thanks for all that

      was good in the day

      that is ending.

I ask God’s mercy on my sins

      and omissions this day.

I seek God’s peace in my home

      and in all the world 

      this night. 

Amen. [25]


Citations:

[1] Episcopal Church. (1979). Collects. 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. 254). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[2] Episcopal Church. (1979). Collects. 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. 207). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[3] Stratman, P. (2001). Praise to God. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 39). Crossway.

[4] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Psalms. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 1606). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[5] Augustine. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1665). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[6] Jerome. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1665). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[7] Stratman, P. (2001). Praise to God. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 44). Crossway.

[8] Hahn, S., Mitch, C., & Walters, D. (2013). Commentary. In Daniel (Sec Catholic ed., p. 2094). San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press.

[9] Ibid. 8, P. 2153

[10] Ibid. 8, P. 2153

[11] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Daniel. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1293). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[12] Ibid. 11

[13] Hahn, S., Mitch, C., & Walters, D. (2013). Commentary. In Daniel (Sec Catholic ed., p. 2159). San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press.

[14] Ibid. 13

[15] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Doxologies. In Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 75). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[16] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Revelation. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1759). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[17] Ibid. 16

[18] Ibid. 16, P. 1760

[19] Ibid. 16, P. 1760

[20] Ibid. 16, P. 1760

[21] Ibid. 16, P. 1760

[22] Ibid. 16, P. 1760

[23] Ibid. 16, P. 1760

[24] Ibid. 16, P. 1760

[25] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Brief Forms of Daily Prayer. In Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 43). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

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