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.

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Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Friction

Daily Readings
Proverbs 13 + Joshua 14 + Amos 2 + Philippians 3:1b-21

Quote of the Day
For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. Philippians 3:8b, 9

Daily Text: Joshua 14:1, 2, 5, 6-8, 13
These are the inheritances that the Israelites received in the land of Canaan, which the priest Eleazar, and Joshua son of Nun, and the heads of the families of the tribes of the Israelites distributed to them. 2Their inheritance was by lot, as the LORD had commanded Moses for the nine and one-half tribes. 5The Israelites did as the LORD commanded Moses; they allotted the land.
6 Then the people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal; and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God in Kadesh-barnea concerning you and me. 7I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land; and I brought him an honest report. 8But my companions who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholeheartedly followed the LORD my God. 13Then Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb son of Jephunneh for an inheritance.

Tribal Friction
Two of the twelve sent by Moses to spy out the land, Caleb and Joshua were the only ones to come back with a good report. One would think that these two would have been bonded by their trust in the Lord and the risk they took to give a good report, an honest report, as Caleb puts it, to Moses in the face of an overwhelming majority of bad (dishonest?) reports. And yet there is no evidence that the two were close. Joshua was always a favorite of Moses; Caleb, other than his wonderful reputation, seems not to be a part of leadership,other than in his own tribe, Judah. Caleb had to come to Gilgal before Joshua and request what had been promised him. Joshua gave it him and blessed him as well. The blessing was of great importance, notwithstanding that it served to remind them both who was the more powerful. Blessing was believed to confer God’s continued smile upon the recipient. And Caleb would need God’s blessing, for characteristically he asked for his inheritance in the hill country, as yet unconquered, and the inhabitants were the Anakim, giants among men.

One of the remarkable tributes to this man, Caleb, is the reference in vss. 8, 9 that Caleb ‘wholeheartedly followed the LORD….’ Only one other time in scripture was this phrase used, making the point clear that here was an example for all Israel to follow, and follow it they did not. But the point is made: Follow God with all your heart, mind and soul and you will not only fulfill the torah, you will be the recipient of the goodness of God.

God Meets Me in the Mountains
Badger Clark

God meets me in the mountains when I climb alone and high,
Above the wrangling sinners and the jangling devotees,
Up where the tapered spruce will guide my glances to the sky
And canyon walls will mutely preach their mighty homilies
In hush so dense that I can sense—is it my pulses drumming?
Or God’s light footfall, coming through the silvery aspen trees?

Some way I seem to lose him in the jostle of the street,
But on a twisty deer trail, as I trudge along alone,
A mystic presence in the forest often stays my feet—
No vision borrowed from a saint, but awesomely my own.
I feel it smite my spirit white, the prophet’s taintless passion,
As ancient as the fashion of the pine tree’s rugged cone.

For me no school could give it life, as none can deal it death.
Up through the pines’ red pillars and across the snow and shale.
Where science and theology alike are but a breath,
I follow marks that make the wisest book an idle tale.
Why should I squint at faded print to glimpse his timeworn traces?
God walks the lonely places yet, where men first found his trail.

Where pines reach up the mountains and the mountains up the blue,
And tense with some expectancy, the lifting edges frown,
The high desire of the hills is my desire too,
For there my spirit laughs to fling its worldly duffle down
And, shaking free exultantly, calls to its great companion!
God meets me in the canyon when I miss him in the town.
404:I,193

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