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, May 28, 2005

Camp Meeting

Daily Readings
Psalm 76 + Joshua 18 + Amos 6 + Colossians 3:1-4:1

Quote of the Day
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the LORD Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

Daily Text: Joshua 18:1-4, 8-10

Then the whole congregation of the Israelites assembled at Shiloh, and set up the tent of meeting there. The land lay subdued before them.
2 There remained among the Israelites seven tribes whose inheritance had not yet been apportioned. 3So Joshua said to the Israelites, "How long will you be slack about going in and taking possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your ancestors, has given you? 4Provide three men from each tribe, and I will send them out that they may begin to go throughout the land, writing a description of it with a view to their inheritances. Then come back to me. 8So the men started on their way; and Joshua charged those who went to write the description of the land, saying, "Go throughout the land and write a description of it, and come back to me; and I will cast lots for you here before the LORD in Shiloh." 9So the men went and traversed the land and set down in a book a description of it by towns in seven divisions; then they came back to Joshua in the camp at Shiloh, 10and Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the LORD; and there Joshua apportioned the land to the Israelites, to each a portion.

Camp Meeting
The distribution of land to the remaining seven tribes came at Joshua’s insistence rather than the tribe’s. Unlike the other five who individually insisted on their inheritance, these ‘Northern Seven’ had to be organized three men from each tribe to describe the Promised Land remaining. They did so, describing seven equal allotments, thus relieving Joshua of any need to decide what a fair allotment might be. Which particular allotment was received by a given tribe, however, was decided by ‘lot,’ presumably the Urim and Thummim.

Normally, the Urim and Thummin were read by Eleazar the high priest. If it appears that Joshua acts by himself in Shiloh, this is corrected in chapter 19 verse 51.While it is not inconceivable that at Shiloh in the Tent of Meeting Joshua acts as priest as Moses often did with Aaron, such a suggestion is unnecessary.

Whatever occurred, the theology is clear. God gives the land fulfilling his promise. The tribes in response need to trust his gift, obey his commands and take, by force as necessary, the lands allotted to them. After 45 plus years the land is committed into the care of the tribes and clans while the entire congregation gathered at least this one last time around the Tent of Meeting in the camp at Shiloh. What a joyous gathering this must have been.

Peace and Joy
from “The Suffering God”
G. A. Studdert-Kennedy

Peace does not mean the end of all our striving,
Joy does not mean the drying of our tears;
Peace is the power that comes to souls arriving
Up to the light where God Himself appears.
Joy is the wine that God is ever pouring
Into the hearts of those who strive with Him,
Light’ning their eyes to vision and adoring,
Strength’ning their arms to warfare glad and grim.


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