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

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

We Go from God to God

Daily Readings
Psalm 62 + Numbers 9 + Deuteronomy 2 + Matthew 18

Verse for the Day
For God alone my soul in silence waits; from him comes my salvation. Psalm 62:1

Daily Text Numbers 9:1, 2, 15-17

The LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying: 2Let the Israelites keep the Passover at its appointed time.
15 On the day the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant; and from evening until morning it was over the tabernacle, having the appearance of fire. 16It was always so: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night. 17Whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, then the Israelites would set out; and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the Israelites would camp.

We Go From God to God
The call for Passover is in the first month of the second year and we are already in the second month of the second year in the preceding chapters of Numbers. Consider this a flashback in the game of life. Passover has not previously been observed outside of that momentous night in Egypt, and some say it will not be observed again until the people are in the Promised Land. The thrice repeated formula of God tells Moses, Moses tells the people and then the people carry out the command appears once more in these early verses of chapter nine. This is an ancient story-telling formula, one used by public speakers even today: tell them what you are going to say, tell them, tell them what you have said. The principle is the same.

The pillar of cloud theme arises again as the people prepare to leave the Mt. Sinai area. This cloud is shot through with fire day and night, the fire only being seen at night. It refers to the glory, the kabod, the presence of God tabernacling with the children of Israel. Throughout Holy Scripture there is this phenomenon of God leading his people, but never is it expressed quite so physically, so dramatically. The people rest when the cloud rests and move when it moves. The presentation here sets the pattern that is to be followed for the coming forty years of wilderness journeying. The promise held out in scripture is that life can be like this journey—led.

Journey’s End
Evelyn H. Healey

We go from God to God—then though
The way be long,
We shall return to Heaven our home
At evensong.

We go from God to God-so let
The space between
Be filled with beauty, conquering
Things base and mean.

We go from God to God—lo! what
Transcendent bliss,
To know the journey’s end will hold
Such joy as this!


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