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, July 01, 2005

Amusement Comes to Israel

Daily Readings
Psalm 94 + I Samuel 5 + Judith 1 + Mark 14

Quote of the Day
If the LORD had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence. Psalm 94:17

Daily Text: I Samuel 5:1-4, 6-7
When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod; 2then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and placed it beside Dagon. 3When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place. 4But when they rose early on the next morning, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD, and the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off upon the threshold; only the trunk of Dagon was left to him.
6 The hand of the LORD was heavy upon the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and struck them with tumors, both in Ashdod and in its territory. 7And when the inhabitants of Ashdod saw how things were, they said, "The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us; for his hand is heavy on us and on our god Dagon."

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

Amusement comes to Israel
Despite the stress of losing the Ark this event must have become the source of much hilarity for Israel. God is captured, but O what an unhealthy capture. Instead of staying ‘defeated’ in the temple of Dagon, the God of Israel knocks Dagon off his perch, breaking off hands and head. What can a headless and handless god do? The aetiological story of why in future the Philistines jumped over the threshold of Dagon’s temple, because the god had fallen inept upon it, must have doubled the Hebrew storyteller’s audiences over in uncontrolled mirth. But beyond this indisputable sign of his power, boils broke out on the anuses of the Philistines. This is the probable translation of which ‘tumor’ is the genteel expression. One can imagine the ribald remarks accompanying the telling of this tale. And then the Ark progresses from city to city, three of the five major cities of the ‘Sea People,’ and proceeds to bring ever more destruction, fear—even panic, to them. YHWH remains unhampered by his people, his captors and his ‘royal box.’ He demonstrates for Philistia and for his greatly amused people, that he is sovereign over all people and their idols.

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

In the Vastness, a God
Author Unknown

Deathless, though godheads be dying,
Surviving the creeds that expire,
Illogical, reason defying,
Lives that passionate, primal desire;
Insistent, persistent, forever
Man cries to the silence, “Never
Shall Death reign the lord of the soul,
Shall the dust be the ultimate goal—
I will storm the black bastions of Night,
I will tread where my vision has trod,
I will set in the darkness a light,
In the vastness, a god.”

(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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