June 27, 2022 Devotional

  • Morning Devotional:
    • Psalm 140, Prayer for deliverance
      • Lesson: To whom can the poor turn?
  • Midday Devotional:
    • Genesis 24:34-41, 50-67, Rebekah follows Abraham’s servant
      • Lesson: Isaac and Rebekah marry
  • Evening Devotional:
    • 1 John 2:7-11, Living in the light of love
      • Lesson: An old commandment made new

Invitatory

The earth is the Lord’s for he made it: 

Come let us adore him.

Hymn

“Why Me Lord”

Morning Prayers

The night has passed, and the day lies open before us… As we rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of your presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you; now and for ever. Amen. [1]

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my will—all that I have and possess. You, Lord, have given all to me. I now give it back to you, O Lord. All of it is yours. Dispose of it according to your will. Give me love of yourself along with your grace, for that is enough for me. Amen. 

  • Ignatius Loyola [2]
Proper of the Week

Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and 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 ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Alleluia.

The Cry of the Church 

Holy God,

Holy and Mighty,

Holy Immortal One,

Have mercy upon us.

Morning Reading

Psalm 140, Prayer for deliverance

Deliver me, O Lord, from evildoers;

    protect me from those who are violent,

who plan evil things in their minds

    and stir up wars continually.

They make their tongue sharp as a snake’s,

    and under their lips is the venom of vipers. Selah

Guard me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;

    protect me from the violent

    who have planned my downfall.

The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,

    and with cords they have spread a net,[a]

    along the road they have set snares for me. Selah

I say to the Lord, “You are my God;

    give ear, O Lord, to the voice of my supplications.”

O Lord, my Lord, my strong deliverer,

    you have covered my head in the day of battle.

Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;

    do not further their evil plot.[b] Selah

Those who surround me lift up their heads;[c]

    let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!

10 

Let burning coals fall on them!

    Let them be flung into pits, no more to rise!

11 

Do not let the slanderer be established in the land;

    let evil speedily hunt down the violent!

12 

I know that the Lord maintains the cause of the needy

    and executes justice for the poor.

13 

Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;

    the upright shall live in your presence.

Let us pray.
Glorious Saviour, rescue us from the subtle evils that are too strong for us, from poisonous words and the spirit of war; by your judgement overthrow the forces of violence, that all the world may join to worship you in thanksgiving and peace, now and for ever. Amen. [4]

Morning Lesson

To whom can the poor turn?

“To whom can the poor turn when they are persecuted? They lack the money to get professional help; they may be unable to defend themselves. But there is always someone on their side—the Lord will stand by them and ultimately bring about justice. This should be a comfort for us all. No matter what our situation may be, the Lord is with us. But this truth should also call us to live responsibly with others. As God’s people, we are required to defend the rights of the powerless.” [5]

Midday Prayers

I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity, by invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three. Of whom all nature hath creation; eternal Father, Spirit, Word: Praise to the Lord of my salvation, salvation is of Christ the Lord. 

  • from St Patrick’s Breastplate [6]
For The Lonely

LORD JESUS, in Gethsemane, your friends were not able to stay awake and watch with you, and, when you were taken, they all fled leaving you alone; remember with compassion and for good those who are alone; those who have lost friends or family to death; those whose lives have been solitary because of work or particular burdens. We pray also for those who in selfishness or other faults have broken every tie, those whose guilt or sin leaves them alone or despised. We pray for those who have been falsely accused and shunned for no reasons, those embittered through what they have endured, and for all caught in the isolation of mental confusion.

In all of these, O Lord, let your Spirit work forgiveness and reconciliation, renewal and hope; give to each of us such a sense of your abiding love, such a confidence in the communion of saints and such a heart that as we turn toward you, we turn also toward each other, in perfect charity and in the bonds of friendship; for you have called us friends and welcome us all into the one and eternal kingdom. Amen.

  • Adapted, The People’s Missal, 1919 [7]

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. Alleluia.

Short Verse

Your love, O LORD, for ever will I sing;* from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness. 

—Psalm 89:1

Isaac’s servant tying the bracelet on Rebecca’s arm (Wikipedia)

Midday Reading

Genesis 24:34-41, 50-67, Rebekah follows Abraham’s servant

34 So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant. 35 The Lord has blessed my master abundantly, and he has become wealthy. He has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys. 36 My master’s wife Sarah has borne him a son in her old age, and he has given him everything he owns. 37 And my master made me swear an oath, and said, ‘You must not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live, 38 but go to my father’s family and to my own clan, and get a wife for my son.’

39 “Then I asked my master, ‘What if the woman will not come back with me?’

40 “He replied, ‘The Lord, before whom I have walked faithfully, will send his angel with you and make your journey a success, so that you can get a wife for my son from my own clan and from my father’s family. 41 You will be released from my oath if, when you go to my clan, they refuse to give her to you—then you will be released from my oath.’

50 Laban and Bethuel answered, “This is from the Lord; we can say nothing to you one way or the other. 51 Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has directed.”

52 When Abraham’s servant heard what they said, he bowed down to the ground before the Lord. 53 Then the servant brought out gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave costly gifts to her brother and to her mother. 54 Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night there.

When they got up the next morning, he said, “Send me on my way to my master.”

55 But her brother and her mother replied, “Let the young woman remain with us ten days or so; then you e may go.”

56 But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that the Lord has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so I may go to my master.”

57 Then they said, “Let’s call the young woman and ask her about it.” 58 So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?”

“I will go,” she said.

59 So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham’s servant and his men. 60 And they blessed Rebekah and said to her,

“Our sister, may you increase

to thousands upon thousands;

may your offspring possess

the cities of their enemies.”

61 Then Rebekah and her attendants got ready and mounted the camels and went back with the man. So the servant took Rebekah and left.

62 Now Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi, for he was living in the Negev. 63 He went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. 64 Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel 65 and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?”

“He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself.

66 Then the servant told Isaac all he had done. 67 Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

Midday Lesson

Isaac and Rebekah marry

“Wishing to avoid intermarriage with the local Canaanites and the resulting assimilation with the pagan culture, Abraham sent his chief servant to Mesopotamia to find a wife for his son, Isaac. Marriages often were arranged between the heads of households. The providential hand of God is clear throughout the narrative.” [8]

Re-read verses 50-54. Let us explore a bit of cultural background regarding marriage contracts in the Near East during this time period. 

“In addition to the nose ring and bracelets initially presented in Ge 24:22, the remainder of the bride price is summarized here [in vv. 50-54]. Marriage customs included an exchange of wealth between the families with several purposes. The marriage price indicated here is given from the groom’s family to the bride’s family. This transfer is part of the socioeconomic system of provision and should not be thought of as purchase of chattel. In Sumerian sources, one form of bride wealth (nigmussa) is made up primarily of foodstuffs presented just before the wedding feast. This type of gift would have been an impractical option for Abraham’s servant because of the long trip. Provision of foodstuff by the family brings to mind our modern practice of the groom’s parents bearing the responsibility for the rehearsal dinner and the bride’s family bearing the responsibility for the reception. A less common form (nigdea) sometimes includes precious objects and is presented when the agreement is made between the families. The latter is more likely represented here.

“The transfer often took place in two parts: a small “down payment” offered as surety that the wedding would take place, with the remainder changing hands shortly before the wedding. These two stages are approximated in Ge 24:22, 53. In the Nuzi texts of the mid-second millennium BC, bride prices averaged 30 to 40 shekels of silver, or three to four years of average income.

“The dowry was given by the bride’s family to the bride (a transaction from father to daughter, not between families per se) and represented her inheritance from the family since she typically did not inherit land. Movable property and valuables were common dowry items. Its function was to provide for the support of the woman should the husband die, desert or divorce her. At times, part of the dowry remained the personal property of the wife, but whatever its disposition, it could not be sold without her consent. In like manner, however, she was not free to dispose of it. If it were not used to support her at some stage in life, it would become part of the inheritance of her children. The dowry of Rebekah is not detailed, though her nurse may have been part of it (24:59).

“It is neither typical nor necessary for the woman to be consulted with regard to marriage arrangements by the family (24:57), though certainly the ones to be married were known to express their opinions or even exercise choice through various legitimate and less-than-legitimate options. It should be noted here, however, that it is possible that Rebekah’s opinion is only asked when the question concerns the unusual circumstance of her being so quickly and completely removed from the potential protection provided by her family. Until a woman conceived and bore a child to her new family, her status within the family was tenuous, and the proximity of her father’s family would have been a strong motivator for her husband not to mistreat her or discard her.”

[9]

“Even in arranged marriages, the daughter had the option of remaining with her own family for a while. By not exercising this option and leaving her home with the servant, Rebekah showed her ardent desire to fulfill God’s will (vv. 55-59).” [10] “Rebekah went with Abraham’s servant of her own free will. She freely submitted her will to the Lord’s will.” [11]

Verse 63 tell us, He went out to the field one evening to meditate… “Meditation is prayer that seeks to understand the meaning of God’s Revelation and his will; connected to meditation is a humble plea for strength to fulfill God’s will. Christians are called to meditate habitually on the Word of God.” [12]

“When Rebekah learned that the man coming to greet them was Isaac, her husband-to-be, she followed two Oriental customs (vv. 64-65). She dismounted from her camel to show respect, and she placed a veil over her face as a bride.” [13]

“Veils (v. 65) were used in a variety of ways in different cultures and different times, but they always signified something of the woman’s status. Some veils might cover only the hair (a scarf or turban), while others covered the lower part of the face. More common, the veil in the ancient Near East covered both hair and lower face. These were not sheer or gauzy. In the Middle Assyrian laws, married women or concubines were not to appear in public without face and head veiled, whereas veils were prohibited to prostitutes and slave girls. In the Code of Hammurapi, the betrothed wears a veil. In texts from the ancient Near East, veils are most often mentioned in connection with marriage, as here [in verse 65]. It is more usual, however, that the husband veils the wife-to-be in a legal act. In a Mari text from about the time of the patriarchs, when the king’s legal emissaries bring a bride from her country to be presented to the king, her future husband, it is the emissaries who cover her with a particular garment.” [14]

Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebeka (v. 67). “Sarah’s status was mistress of the household, and her tent would have been empty since her death (23:1–2). By taking Rebekah into his mother’s tent, Isaac demonstrates that she is now the mistress of the household.” [15]

Eventide Prayers

As our evening prayer rises before you, O God, so may your mercy come down upon us to cleanse our hearts and set us free to sing your praise now and for ever. Amen. [16]

Let us confess our faith in the words of the Nicene Creed:

We believe in one God,

    the Father, the Almighty,

    maker of heaven and earth,

    of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

    the only Son of God,

    eternally begotten of the Father,

    God from God, Light from Light,

    true God from true God,

    begotten, not made,

    of one Being with the Father.

    Through him all things were made.

    For us and for our salvation

        he came down from heaven:

    by the power of the Holy Spirit

        he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,

        and was made man.

    For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

        he suffered death and was buried.

        On the third day he rose again

            in accordance with the Scriptures;

        he ascended into heaven

            and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

        and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

    who proceeds from the Father.

    With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.

    He has spoken through the Prophets.

    We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

    We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

    We look for the resurrection of the dead,

        and the life of the world to come. Amen.

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. Alleluia.

Short Verse

I am bound by the vow I made to you, O God;* I will present to you thank-offerings; For you have rescued my soul from death and my feet from stumbling,* that I may walk before God in the light of the living. 

— Psalm 56:11-12

Eventide Reading

1 John 2:7-11, Living in the light of love

7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment but an old commandment that you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 Yet I am writing you a new commandment that is true in him and in you, because[a] the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says, “I am in the light,” while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness. 10 Whoever loves a brother or sister abides in the light, and in such a person[b] there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates a brother or sister is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has brought on blindness.

Eventide Lesson

An old commandment made new

Our passage begins with Paul writing, I am not writing you a new command but an old one . . . Yet I am writing you a new commandment (vv. 7-8). “Ancient sages used paradox to provoke deeper consideration of their meaning. Jesus had already noted the earlier Biblical command to love (Mk 12:30–31, citing Dt 6:5; Lev 19:18); John’s audience knows that Jesus also made it new, based on a new and ultimate example (Jn 13:34). (Even this might not be technically new to John’s core audience, as opposed to others, since they had heard it “since the beginning” of the gospel reaching them, v. 7; cf. v. 24; 3:11).” [17] “This is the same command they have known since they were born of God, the same commandment God’s people have always had through the enduring Word of God ‘from the beginning’ —  to love one another.” [18]

“Our Lord’s love for us has made the old commandment to ‘love your neighbor’ (Lv 19:18) new and powerful. true in Him and in you. This new commandment is true in Jesus and in those who believe in Him. The beloved child, born of God, loves his brother because the love of Christ is at work in him. the darkness . . . the true light. Since Christ’s death and resurrection, the old age of this corrupted world is running out. As the darkness passes, it does so in the light of His Gospel, which shines through His Word and Sacrament to a world lost in the darkness of this old age.” [19]

“John’s teaching should have been familiar to his audience, as it was an important teaching handed down from the Apostles who knew Christ personally. In the same manner, all Church doctrine is derived from the teachings of the Apostles. Christ, who left us the Deposit of Faith, is the fullness of God’s Revelation, and his public revelation ended with the death of John the Apostle.” [20]

In verse 8, John writes that the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. “Some Jewish writers (especially in the Dead Sea Scrolls) viewed evil, thus darkness, as prevailing in the present age, but saw themselves as children of light who would inherit the imminent coming age.” [21] 

“Ancient speakers often used antithesis, contrasts between opposites [as is here in vv. 9-11, hate and love] to emphasize a point.” [22] “‘Hate’ and ‘love’ are a common word pair in human language. They are difficult emotions for sinners to handle. God calls us to love good and hate evil (cf Ps 45:7; Heb 1:9). Popular sayings such as ‘Hate the sin, but love the sinner’ try to express this thought… Among Christian brethren, hatred cannot prevail, because they share genuine love for the same heavenly Father.” [23] 

To hate a brother or sister “is to walk in darkness and become unable to see the truth.” [24]

“There are two senses in which we can ‘know’ God. We can know academic facts about him, e.g., knowing about his attributes, or we can know him through love, e.g., as a child knows a parent or as a person knows a friend. It is this latter sense that John has in mind. If we truly know God, we will love God, and if we truly love God, we will keep his Commandments in imitation of his Son. True love of God is expressed by love for those around us.” [25]

Further reading: What is love?

Concluding Prayer of the Church

Father, We thank thee for the night,

And for the pleasant morning light;

For rest and food and loving care,

And all that makes the day so fair.

Help us to do the things we should,

To be to others kind and good;

In all we do, in work or play,

To grow more loving every day.”

Amen. [26]

Citations:

[1] Church House Publishing. (2005). Morning Prayer in Ordinary Time. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 162). 

[2] Forward Movement. (2013). Prayers for Guidance and Surrender. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 432). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

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

[4] Church House Publishing. (2005). Psalter. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 1018).

[5] Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (2013). Study Notes: Psalms. In Life application study Bible: King James version (Kindle ed., p. 8125). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House.

[6] Church House Publishing. (2005). Prayer During the Day. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 57).

[7] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Various Prayers. In Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 59-60). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[8] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Genesis. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 157). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[9] Keener, C. S., Walton, J. H., & Matthews, V. A. (2016). Genesis 24:50-54: Marriage Contracts [Article]. In NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Kindle, pp. 492-493). essay, Zondervan.

[10] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Genesis. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 157). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[11] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Genesis. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 95). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[12] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Genesis. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 157). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[13] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Genesis. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5678). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[14] Keener, C. S., Walton, J. H., & Matthews, V. A. (2016). Genesis footnotes. In NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Kindle, pp. 494). essay, Zondervan.

[15] Ibid. 14

[16] Church House Publishing. (2005). Evening Prayer in Ordinary Time. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 169). 

[17] Keener, C. S., Walton, J. H., & Matthews, V. A. (2016). 1 John footnotes. In NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Kindle, pp. 10943-10944). essay, Zondervan.

[18] A., E. E. (2016). 1 John. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 8655). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[19] Ibid. 18

[20] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). 1 John. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3399). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[21] Keener, C. S., Walton, J. H., & Matthews, V. A. (2016). 1 John footnotes. In NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Kindle, pp. 10944). essay, Zondervan.

[22] Ibid. 21

[23] A., E. E. (2016). 1 John. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 8655). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[24] Ibid. 23

[25] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). 1 John. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3398). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[26] 12 Popular Bedtime Prayers for Children, retrieved at: https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/10-popular-bedtime-prayers-for-children/

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