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

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Fully Alive

Daily Readings
Ecclesiastes 6 + Judges 15 + Tobit 4 + Mark 5

Quote of the Day
Give some of your food to the hungry, and some of your clothing to the naked.
Give all your surplus as alms, and do not let your eye begrudge your giving of alms. Tobit 4:16

Daily Text: Judges 15:18-20
18 By then he was very thirsty, and he called on the LORD, saying, "You have granted this great victory by the hand of your servant. Am I now to die of thirst, and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?" 19So God split open the hollow place that is at Lehi, and water came from it. When he drank, his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore it was named En-hakkore, which is at Lehi to this day. 20And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

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

Fully Alive
Rushed upon by an entire contingent of Philistine’s screaming like Banshees, Samson, in the power of God’s spirit, shrugs off his bindings as if they were burning flax, that is, withering away against the power of his flexed strength. Here is a man who has not yet grown up. Here is one who blame-casts and seeks vengeance on father-in-law, friend, enemy, whoever crosses him. Except for this day when he listens to the Judahites, that simpering mass of countrymen who are unwilling to cross their oppressors. Allowing them to bind him suggests a man who has, at this one point at least, considered the welfare of others over his own. And now, as the story informs us, he picks up the jawbone of an ass and slays his opponents, afterward thirsty to the point of death. So he calls on the LORD for the first time in our text, and the LORD responds by splitting open a rock surface providing abundant water to slake his thirst. I wonder if he recalled then the story of Moses and the children of Israel in the wilderness. I wonder if his privilege as a Nazarite dedicated from his mother’s womb was recalled at that moment. What was it that brought to his eyes a light, and to his young mind a new thought? For though the translation suggests only that he revived, the Hebrew text hints that at that moment he became fully alive (Boling [424:240]). Like the children of Israel who became aware of the steadfast love of the LORD and renewed their covenantal vows, Samson for the first time lived into his promise as saviour and deliverer in Israel. Is it happenstance that the editor immediately inserts, “And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years” (15:20)? Perhaps for the first time he caught a glimpse of the beauty of what the LORD was doing for Israel through him. Perhaps the Judahites came alive as well, for now they could see, that far from being a problem to Israel, Samson was the LORD’s champion in and for Israel. Would that we could see that the LORD has that in train for us as well [John 14:12].

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

The Young Samson
Edgar Fawcett

In Zorah dwells no youth like him,
So fleet of step, so firm of limb.

His long gold hair is bright as dawn;
His throat is like a stag’s for brawn.

He lets the winds blow east and west
On the brown thews of his bared breast.

With artless fancies, boyish hopes,
He roams the cool Judaean slopes.

At doors of tents, when he has passed
Where swarthy idlers moved or massed,

The murmured words his ears have won
That praised him as Manoah’s son.

A babe whose birth, ere yet it fell,
The Lord of Israel did foretell,

By sending down, in mighty grace,
The angel with the star-like face!

Grim soldiers, that across their wine
Growl curses at the Philistine,

Will soften, if he come by chance,
The eyes where lurk the wolfish glance,

And mutter low, with smile or nod:
“’Tis he—the Nazirite of God!”

But day by day the careless child
Will wander far, will wander wild.

He does not dream what webs of doom
Are weaving on the future’s loom!

He only feels that life is fair
As heaven’s unsullied arch of air;

He only knows the peace intense
That broods o’er boundless innocence!

Yet sometimes he will shrink and cower
With wonder at his own strange power.

For once a vast loose rock had rolled
Where grazed a shepherd’s frightened fold,

And he with one hand caught it up,
And tossed it like an acorn’s cup!

And once, half tired, against an oak
He leaned, when lo! its huge frame broke!

And gayly, once a stone he threw
That pierced the clouds, and died from view!
411:142

(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.

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