Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Saturday, April 02, 2005

'Twas the Night Before Setup

Daily Readings
Psalm 52 + Exodus 39 + Leviticus 19 + Matthew 8

Verse for the Day
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:18

Daily Text Exodus 39:32-33a, 42, 43
32 In this way all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished; the Israelites had done everything just as the LORD had commanded Moses. 33Then they brought the tabernacle to Moses, the tent and all its utensils….42The Israelites had done all of the work just as the LORD had commanded Moses. 43When Moses saw that they had done all the work just as the LORD had commanded, he blessed them.

‘Twas the Night Before Setup
Moses has heard God’s command, has relayed it to the people and finally they have followed the command. Chapter 39 is the second repetition, the third time these words have been written. Each repetition is more beautiful than the previous, though faithful to the original. One thinks of the detail of gold leaf being hammered out and cut into threads for Aaron’s vestments in verse 2 or the description of the opening of the robe of the ephod in verses 23 and 23, the golden rosette of the holy diadem inscribed with the words, ‘Holy to the LORD” in verse 30 and the description of the placement of the tinkling gold bells and the blue, purple and crimson pomegranates on the lower hem of Aaron’s robe, “a bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate all around on the lower hem of the robe for ministering; as the LORD had commanded Moses [verse 26]. These are images of beauty and grace fitting for the worship of the God of the whole world.

“In this way all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished. And then there must have been a proud and very lengthy procession as the workmen and the priests brought the elements of the tabernacle to Moses. These elements, including the structural elements, the fabric, the vestments, the menorah, the mercy seat and all of the utensils needed, they brought to Moses, and he seeing that they had done all that had been commanded, blessed them. Remember the mark of the prophet at the time of the patriarch’s? The prophet is one who prays, but prayer is a blessing and it is the peculiar prayer of the priest. So here Moses is both priest and prophet to his people.

Here too is a progression from a holy God met on the mountain, to his mouthpiece, Moses, to the Tabernacle that has space where God dwells. This God is no longer simply the God of Sinai, but a God who dwells with a particular people and moves with them in this movable tabernacle. We might see a hint of creation here: as God created the world, so Moses and the people have created this tabernacle a world unto itself—with all the accoutrements of an active world view. Moses surveys all that has been done and it is good and he blesses those who have created it.

The Tabernacle
by Rose Emma Collins
(Leviticus xxxiii., 33-43)

Let us build to the Lord of the earth in each place
The Tent, which His glorious presence will grace.
‘Twill be hallowed with light that descends from on high,
Where the prayers and the praises are heard thro’ the sky.
‘Tis the time when the beauty of earth is fulfilled,
And the stars all look down on the Tent that we build;
When the moon in her robing of silver attire,
Approaches in silence, the sun’s crimson fire!
All the splendour of heaven, the beauties of earth,
Exult in the love that has given them birth!
The boughs of thick trees with their leaves all entwine,
Round the delicate stems of the Myrtle and Vine;
The Palm trees are clasping the Willows with joy,
A rapture that death cannot change or destroy;
Each tree that was bearing its fruit o’er the land,
Owes renewal of life, to the One mighty hand!
Its exquisite beauty enchanting our sight,
One thought has created, for taste and delight.
Choice flowers in manifold colours and scent,
Adorn the frail walls of the gorgeous built tent;
Where “showers of blessing” from promise divine,
Replete with His mandates, eternally shine!
Now twilight glides gently o’er trees, fruit and flower;
And fragrant the breath of the exquisite bower.
The lamps that were burning, are fast growing dim,
While angels have enter’d, and chant a soft hymn;
‘Tis the music of heaven! their voices ascending,
In tones most celestial, with praises are blending.
The trees are all trembling with joy, and the Rose
Has awaken’d to see where the angels respose;
But they folded their wings all impervious thro’ night,
And vanish’d ere dawn spread her roseate light!


Blogger Jessica said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Neat blog and good Scripture!

2:30 PM  
Blogger Fr. James said...

Thanks Jessica,
Keep visiting. I would appreciate your insights.

5:13 PM  

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