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

Friday, June 10, 2005

Bald Skepticism

Daily Readings
Psalm 87 + Judges 6 + Hosea 9 + II Timothy 3

Quote of the Day
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
II Timothy 3:14,15

Daily Text: Judges 6:13, 36-40
13Gideon answered him, "But sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our ancestors recounted to us, saying, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' But now the LORD has cast us off, and given us into the hand of Midian." 36Then Gideon said to God, "In order to see whether you will deliver Israel by my hand, as you have said, 37I am going to lay a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will deliver Israel by my hand, as you have said." 38And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. 39Then Gideon said to God, "Do not let your anger burn against me, let me speak one more time; let me, please, make trial with the fleece just once more; let it be dry only on the fleece, and on all the ground let there be dew." 40And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.

Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

Bald Skepticism
What a story! Gideon is inheritor to all the YHWH history, yet his own father is a Baal follower, maybe a priest of Baal, for the altar of Baal and the sacred pole are his father’s. This gives us a clear insight into how far the Israelites did stray from worship of their own God. The envoy of Yahweh appears to Gideon and announces that God is with him. Here is an honest response! If YHWH is with us, why then has all this happened to us? Oppression by the Midianites, harrassing by these damnable camel riders, living like rats in holes in the ground? But the envoy and YHWH himself, coming in a now you see me (the envoy) now you don’t (YHWH himself) pattern convinces Gideon that he is indeed in touch with the Almighty, convinced enough to tear down the altar of Baal and the sacred pole and completely destroy them in honoring this same YHWH.

Convinced, but still skeptical Gideon asks one last proof. A fleece wet from dew with the surrounding ground dry. Done. But then the kicker, the reverse, the fleece dry with the surrounding ground wet! “With the physical properties of fleece lying exposed overnight on bare rock, the differentials of condensation and evaporation necessary to give rise to the story are entirely understandaable; fishermen living on one of the streamless and springless Desert Islands have obtained sufficent water for their livelihood by spreading out fleece in the evening and wringing dew from them in the morning. The true miracle is the reverse of the process, and that’s what young Gideon had required (Boling, 424:141).” But then, what?

Meditatio What would you add to this commentary on the Daily Text? ‘Comment’ below.

O Sing Unto God
Madeleine L’Engle

O sing unto God
and sing praises unto his Name
magnify him that rideth upon the heavens
praise him in his name
shout it
cry it aloud upon the wind
take the tail of his steed
and fling across the sky
in his wild wake
he cannot be caught
he cannot be fled
nor his knowledge escaped
the light of his Name
blinds the brilliance of stars
catch the falling dragon
ride between his flailing wings
leap between the jaws of the lion
grasp the horn of the unicorn
calling with mighty voice
caught in star flame
whipped by comet lash
rejoice before him
cry above the voices of the cherubim
shout alongside the seraphim
bellowing joy behind kings
scattered by the quaking of his hills
fleeing before his fire
rush like snow through his thunderous flame
crying with gladness
adoration of his Name
He is Lord

(Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.)

Oratio Conspire to respond with an act of kindness for someone you encounter today. Make it loving, low key and low risk. Hold a door, clean a car, give a flower, notice the unnoticed, make Christ’s love real. Write your experience below under ‘Comment.’

Contemplatio Enjoy what God is doing through you.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great stuff

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, maybe I finally have this straight - at least I am still connected. "I" was right at 11:57, above, when "I" said,"Great stuff!"


2:59 PM  
Blogger Norm said...

Camels were domesticated around 1100BC and were a new and terrifying threat to Israel.

Gideon means “slasher; hacker”. Gideon was pressing grapes (to make wine) in a flour mill to avoid the taxes on wine that the Midianites had imposed.

4:46 PM  

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