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Apr 27, 2022 Devotional Bible Study

April 27, 2022
Eastertide

Today’s Readings: 

Invitatory

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. 

Alleluia!

Opening Prayers

In God’s presence, think through the day ahead: the work you will do, the people you will encounter, the dangers or uncertainties you face, the possibilities for joy and acts of kindness, any particular resolutions you need to renew, consider what might draw you from the love of God and neighbor, the opportunities you will have to know and serve God and to grow in virtue, remember those closest to you and all for whom you have agreed to pray, ask God’s blessings, guidance, and strength in all that lies before you. Gather up these thoughts and reflections in the words Our Savior taught us to say: Our Father…

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.

O COME, LET US SING unto the Lord; * let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, * and show ourselves glad in him with psalms.

Hymn

“Love’s redeeming work is done”

(1982 Hymnal # 188)

By Charles Wesley, 1707-1788

Lyrics [2]:

1. Love’s redeeming work is done,

fought the fight, the battle won.

death in vain forbids him rise;

Christ has opened paradise.

2. Lives again our glorious King;

where, O death, is now thy sting?

Once he died our souls to save,

where thy victory, O grave?

3. Soar we now where Christ has led,

following out exalted Head;

made like him, like him we rise,

ours the cross, the grave, the skies.

Morning Prayer

May God, who through the water of baptism has raised us from sin into newness of life, make us holy and worthy to be united with Christ for ever. Amen. [3]

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. 

Alleluia!

Short Verse

Christ has died. 

Christ is risen. 

Christ will come again. 

Genius of Art, 1903 (Oil on Canvas), by Howard Pyle

Morning Reading

Esther 9:1-5, 18-23, Purim celebrates victory

1 Now in the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s command and edict were about to be carried out, on the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them. 2 The Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who sought their harm. And no one could stand against them, for the fear of them had fallen on all peoples. 3 All the officials of the provinces and the satraps and the governors and the royal agents also helped the Jews, for the fear of Mordecai had fallen on them. 4 For Mordecai was great in the king’s house, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces, for the man Mordecai grew more and more powerful. 5 The Jews struck all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and did as they pleased to those who hated them.

18 But the Jews who were in Susa gathered on the thirteenth day and on the fourteenth, and rested on the fifteenth day, making that a day of feasting and gladness. 19 Therefore the Jews of the villages, who live in the rural towns, hold the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a day for gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and as a day on which they send gifts of food to one another.

20 And Mordecai recorded these things and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, 21 obliging them to keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same, year by year, 22 as the days on which the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor.

23 So the Jews accepted what they had started to do, and what Mordecai had written to them.

Morning Lesson

By faith, she turned her people’s ruin into feasting. 

“Nine months have passed since Mordecai’s edict was sent out… Both his edict (8:12) and that of Haman (3:13) were to be carried out on the same day. Enemies of Judeans had the legal right to kill them. Judeans had the right to defend themselves and destroy their attackers. [T]he reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them. The theme of [Esther] is summarized by this single phrase. Hatred of Judeans was obviously widespread, and many people in Persia hoped to annihilate this foreign race. Instead, the attackers found themselves overwhelmed.” [4]

“When the 13th of Adar arrives , the Judeans ably defend themselves. They destroy those who hate them but take no plunder from their enemies. In this way, God preserves His OT people because from them would come the Savior of the world. God controls history to preserve His elect and fulfill His promises. That is still true today. The Church has been called to witness to the Gospel in a world that is often contemptuous and hostile. By God’s grace, we can be sure that no matter how “the nations rage and the peoples plot” ( Ps 2: 1 ), “the gates of hell shall not prevail” against the Church ( Mt 16: 18 ). God keeps us close to our Savior so that we might be His throughout all eternity. • Praise be to Your name, Lord God, for calling me to faith in Your Son and promising Your loving protection for me and all believers, now and forever. Amen.” [6]

Purim “became a major holiday, along with the festivals commanded in Mosaic Law. Purim is not mentioned in the NT (nor is Est quoted), but shortly after the time of Christ, official Jewish worship regulations included a whole section devoted to its observance. Today, it is usually celebrated on only one day, the 14th of Adar (Feb/ Mar). An important aspect is the public reading of the Book of Esther. During this reading, people use noisemakers, cheer at the mention of Mordecai’s name, and hiss when Haman’s name is mentioned. Children wear costumes and paint their faces for this victory celebration.” [7]

“The Festival of Purim is established by Mordecai and Esther to celebrate the destruction of Haman and other Persian enemies. God works behind the scenes to bring about this victory. Later, God intervenes in a very public, yet mysterious, way to overcome the spiritual enemies of all people: sin, death, and the devil. We were helpless, but God rescued us by sending His Son, who took our sin, our punishment, and our death upon Himself, paying the price for our redemption. We have gotten relief from our enemies. Our sorrow has been turned to joy and our mourning into feasting because the Holy Spirit has worked faith in our hearts. We celebrate our victory at the festivals of Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. • Loving Father, You sent Jesus to rescue me from eternal death and the Spirit to create faith in my heart. My celebration of joy and gladness has begun, and I look forward to it continuing with You forever in heaven. Amen.” [8]

“On the 13th of Adar, the day scheduled for doom, the Jewish people of Persia turn the tables on their enemies. This is the final and climactic reversal of the storyline [of the Book of Esther]: just as the de-crowning of Vashti (Ch. 1) made way for the coronation of Esther and the fall of Haman prepared for the rise of Mordecai, so the defeat of anti-Jewish Gentiles leads to the founding of a new Jewish holiday. • When the whole of Israel was about to perish, the blessed Esther prevailed over the anger of the tyrant by fasting and praying. By faith, she turned her people’s ruin into feast days for Israel, for they used to celebrate a feast when an enemy was slain and Israel was delivered from conspiracy. Now [= at Easter] the devil is slain, that tyrant who opposes the whole world, and so our feast relates not merely to history but to eternity. It is not merely a shadow or a type but the reality (St. Athanasius, Festal Letters 4).” [5]

Midday Prayer

A Prayer For The Noon Hour 

O God and Lord of powers, Maker of all creation, through the compassion of Your unfathomable mercy You sent down Your Only-begotten Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for the salvation of our race, and through His precious Cross tore up the record of our sins, and by it triumphed over the principalities and powers of darkness. Do You Yourself, O Master and Lover of mankind, accept also our supplications of thanksgiving and entreaty, and deliver us from transgressions of destruction and darkness, and from all our enemies, seen and unseen, who seek to harm us. Nail down our flesh through fear of You; let not our hearts be inclined to words or thoughts of evil, but wound our souls with longing for You, that ever gazing upon You and guided by the light that comes from You, we may behold Your unapproachable and everlasting light, and give thanks to You, the Eternal Father, with Your Only-begotten Son and Your All-holy, Good, and Life-giving Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages. AMEN. [9]

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. 

Alleluia!

Short Verse

Yours are the heavens; the earth also is yours;* you laid the foundations of the world and all that is in it. 

Psalm 89:11

Midday Reading

Luke 12:4-12, The courage to confess Christ

4 “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority[a] to cast into hell.[b] Yes, I tell you, fear him! 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. 7 But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

8 “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; 9 but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11 When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how[c] you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say.”

Midday Lesson

We are very valuable to God.

“Fear of opposition or ridicule (vv. 4-5) can weaken our witness for Christ. Often we cling to peace and comfort, even at the cost of our walk with God.” [10] “The question of “whom you should fear refers to God (Pr 9:10).” [11] “The body will die eventually, one way or another. St. Ambrose even states that the death of the body is not itself a punishment, but rather it marks the end of earthly punishments. The soul continues for all eternity; since God is the judge of the soul, our efforts in this world are to please Him alone.” [12] “Jesus reminds us here that we should fear God who controls eternal, not merely temporal, consequences. Don’t allow fear of a person or group to keep you from standing up for Christ.” [13] “If God watches over the least of his creatures (v. 6), he will care all the more for human persons, who were given dominion over all other creatures and made in his image and likeness.” [14]

“When [in Lk 21:18] our Lord said, ‘not a hair [of your head will be lost],’ he was not thinking of length but of the number of hairs, as we see from these words, ‘The hairs of your head are numbered’ [v. 7]. I still think that nothing that was a natural part of the body should be lost. Ugly outgrowths, which have the purpose of reminding us of the penal condition of mortal life, will be integrated into the substance as a whole so that no deformity will appear in any one part. After all, a human artist can make a botch of a statue and then reshape it into beauty without a loss of any of his material. It is not a matter of chiseling away some particular part that was ugly or out of proportion. He can break down and remold the same mass of material so that nothing but the blemish disappears. Of course, the omnipotent Artist can do this even better. There is no deformity of any human body, whether normal, exceptional or even monstrous, which he cannot so eliminate as to leave the total substance intact, while the ugliness disappears. Such outgrowths are not out of place among the other miseries of temporal existence, but they are incompatible with the happiness of the saints in the life to come” (St. Augustine, City of God 22.19). [15]

“Our true value is God’s estimate of our worth, not our peers’ estimate. Other people evaluate and categorize us according to how we perform, what we achieve, and how we look. But God cares for us, as he does for all of his creatures, because we belong to him. Thus, we can face life without fear; we are very valuable to God.” [16]

“To say a word against the Son of Man (v. 10) is to reject Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus seemed to be a mere man to many people before their conversion. The scandal caused by the Incarnation and Crucifixion of the Son of God (iCo 1:23) makes this sin more easily forgiven. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is without bodily form and invisibly works divine goodness. According to St. John Chrysostom and many other Fathers, the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit would be forgivable if a person were to repent of it. Jesus never calls the sin itself ‘unforgivable.’ Jesus makes this declaration knowing that those who blaspheme the Spirit are calling pure, divine goodness ‘evil,’ and are beyond repentance by their own choice.” [17]

Our reading ends with a comforting promise: When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say (vv. 11-12). “The disciples knew they could never get the upper hand in a religious dispute with the well-educated Jewish leaders. Nevertheless, they would not be left unprepared. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would give them the appropriate words in their time of need.” [18]

St. Basil the Great wrote, “The Christian should not fear or be distressed in difficult circumstances and thus be distracted from trust in God. He should take courage as if the Lord were at hand directing his affairs and strengthening him against all his adversaries. It is as if the Holy Spirit were instructing him even as to the very replies he should make to his enemies” (The Morals 63). [19]

Eventide Prayer

Lord, I offer up unto Thee my evening sacrifice, even a troubled spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, which Thou wilt not despise, in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

  • William Laud, Abp of Canterbury [20]

Short Verse

Bless God in the congregation;* bless the LORD, you that are of the fountain of Israel. 

Psalm 68:26

Eventide Meditation

The Sixth Station Of The Resurrection: In The Breaking Of The Bread 

(From St. Augustine’s Prayer Book[21])

Reading: Luke 24:28-32 

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 

The disciples knew the Lord Jesus, alleluia. 

In the breaking of the bread, alleluia. 

Let us pray. O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

— The Book Of Common Prayer, P. 224 

O Risen Lord, be with us still

and open thou our blinded eyes.

Break thou the bread, our hearts to fill

That joy throughout the world may rise.

Concluding Prayer of the Church

Visit this place, O Lord, and drive far from it all snares of the enemy; let your holy angels dwell with us to preserve us in peace; and let your blessing be upon us always; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [22]

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. 

Alleluia!


Citations:

[1] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 36). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[2] The hymnal 1982: According to the use of the Episcopal Church 188. Love’s REDEEMING work is done. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2021, from https://hymnary.org/hymn/EH1982/188

[3] The Episcopal Church. (2018). Seasonal Blessings. In The Book of Occasional Services (PDF ed., p. 12). Then Episcopal Church. Retrieved November December 15, 2020, from https://episcopalchurch.org/files/lm_book_of_occasional_services_2018.pdf

[4] A., E. E. (2016). Esther. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 3049). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[5] Hahn, S., Mitch, C., Villeneuve André, & Walters, R. D. (2019). In Tobit, Judith, and Esther: With introduction, commentary, and Notes (Kindle, pp. 4435). essay, Ignatius Press. 

[6] A., E. E. (2016). Esther. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 3050). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[7] Ibid. 6, P. 3051

[8] Ibid. 6, P. 3052

[9] Papavassiliou, V. (2014). Midday Prayers. In The ancient faith prayer book (Kindle ed., p. 26). Chesterton, IN: Ancient Faith Publishing.

[10] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Luke. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 7121). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[11] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Luke. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1418). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[12] Ibid. 11

[13] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Luke. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 7121). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[14] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Luke. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 2874). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[15] Augustine. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 3722). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[16] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Luke. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 7121). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[17] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Luke. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1418). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[18] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Luke. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 7122). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[19] Basil the Great. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 3722). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[20] LAUD, W. (1855). Wednesday Compline: For Penitence. In The Private Devotions of Dr. William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr (Ebook ed., p. 28). London and Oxford: John Henry & Jas. Parker.

[21] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 239). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[22] 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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