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

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Inquire of the Lord

Daily Readings
Song of Solomon 2 + I Samuel 21 + Daniel 1 + John 1

Quote of the Day
No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known. John 1:18

Daily Text: I Samuel 21:1-3, 6, 8-10
David came to Nob to the priest Ahimelech. Ahimelech came trembling to meet David, and said to him, "Why are you alone, and no one with you?" 2David said to the priest Ahimelech, "The king has charged me with a matter, and said to me, 'No one must know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.' I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. 3Now then, what have you at hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here." 6So the priest gave him the holy bread; for there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the LORD, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away. 8David said to Ahimelech, "Is there no spear or sword here with you? I did not bring my sword or my weapons with me, because the king's business required haste." 9The priest said, "The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the valley of Elah, is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod; if you will take that, take it, for there is none here except that one." David said, "There is none like it; give it to me."
10 David rose and fled that day from Saul; he went to King Achish of Gath.

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

Inquire of the LORD

I Do Not Believe that David Killed Goliath
Charles Reznikoff

I do not believe that David killed Goliath.
It must have been—
you will find the name in the list of David’s captains.
But, whoever it was, he was no fool
when he took off the helmet
and put down the sword and the spear and the shield
and said, The weapons you have given me are good,
but they are not mine:
I will fight in my own way
With a couple of pebbles and a sling.

I do believe that David killed Goliath. I believe it not because I think every word of scripture has come from the mouth of God, but because I do not believe that the editors and authors of scripture created this story whole cloth, with a hundred details to express its authenticity. The authenticating details, like the sword of Goliath, taken by David and obviously kept here at the priest’s shrine at Nob, are natural enough to be believed. Everyone knew that David had killed Goliath, and the telling details all fit. Who Elhanan killed is another matter, about which there are no authenticating details (cf. II Samuel 21:18, I Chronicles 20:5). David is on the run. He does what he must to prepare for the unknowable events of the next days. He lies to Abimelech, not because Abimelech would not have fed him and armed him anyway, but to keep him from incrimination himself with Saul—not that it helped. We know that from chapter 22 that in addition to the Bread of the Presence and sword of Goliath, David also requested a word from the LORD of Abimelech, and presumably the inquiry was duly made. One could see David as being devious and self-serving as Brueggeman does [430], however, it fits the facts better to suggest that David, as always, was concerned to know the mind of the LORD and to follow it. He did fight in his own way, but always careful to understand that his way was also the LORD’s way.

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

Thrice Armed
from King Henry VI” Part II, Act III, sc.2
William Shakespeare

What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted!
Thrice is he arm’d that hath his quarrel just,
And he is naked, though locked up in steel,
Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.

(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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