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, July 05, 2005

God So Loved the World

Daily Readings
Psalm 98 + I Samuel 9 + Judith 5 + Hebrews 2

Quote of the Day
As long as they did not sin against their God they prospered, for the God who hates iniquity is with them. Judith 5:17

Daily Text: I Samuel 9:15-17
15Now the day before Saul came, the LORD had revealed to Samuel: 16"Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be ruler over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines; for I have seen the suffering of my people, because their outcry has come to me." 17When Samuel saw Saul, the LORD told him, "Here is the man of whom I spoke to you. He it is who shall rule over my people."

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

God So Loved the World
The interplay between Saul and his servant, Saul and the females of the town, YHWH and Samuel, Samuel and Saul result in a delightful tale about the calling of Saul to be ruler, though the concept of ‘king’ is always in the background. There have been kings before in Israel, particularly east of the Jordan River, but they have not been considered kings of all Israel, but rather part of the tribal organization. We have seen a king before in Judges 9. Abimelech, a Manassite, declared himself king of Shechem and he evidently extended his rule over the Manassites and Ephraimites in the mountains around Shechem. Saul, however, was being considered as king of all Israel, though he would have to unite the various tribes to become that. But here, I Samuel 9, while kingship lurks in the background, it may be that he is only being addressed as a ruler to lead in a defensive conflict with the Philistines.

God speaks to Samuel and repeats a message reminiscent of that in Exodus 3:7,8. “He (Saul) shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines; for I have seen the suffering of my people, because their outcry has come to me.” In Exodus 3, I compared the passage to John 3:16. It is God’s declaration of love and care for his people. Here, that same declaration is reaffirmed. God is motivated, not by his people’s recalcitrance or coerciveness, but by their need—he has observed their suffering, heard their outcry and he is going to do something about it through Saul, even though it means Saul will be king. The first commandment to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind seems to be reciprocated faithfully and fully by Godself.

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

Heavenly Aid
from “The Faery Queen”
Edmund Spenser
1552-1599

And is there care in heaven? and is there love
In heavenly spirits to these creatures base,
That may compassion of their evils move?
There is: else much more wretched were the case
Of men than beasts. But oh! th’ exceeding grace
Of highest God that loves His creatures so,
And all His works with mercy doth embrace,
That blessèd angels He sends to and fro,
To serve to wicked men, to serve His wicked foe.

How oft do they their silver bowers leave,
To come to succour us that succour want!
How oft do they with golden pinions cleave
The flitting skies, like flying pursuivant,
Against foul fiends to aid us militant!
They for us fight, they watch and duly ward,
And their bright squadrons round about us plant;
And all for love, and nothing for reward.
O! why should heavenly God to men have such regard?
407:248

(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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