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

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Unsought Ordination

Daily Readings
Psalm 99 + I Samuel 10:1-27a + Judith 6 + Hebrews 3

Quote of the Day
Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partners of Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end. Hebrews 3:12-14

Daily Text: I Samuel 10:1, 6-7, 9-10, 17, 21-22
Samuel took a vial of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him; he said, "The LORD has anointed you ruler over his people Israel. You shall reign over the people of the LORD and you will save them from the hand of their enemies all around. Now this shall be the sign to you that the LORD has anointed you ruler over his heritage: 6Then the spirit of the LORD will possess you, and you will be in a prophetic frenzy along with them and be turned into a different person. 7Now when these signs meet you, do whatever you see fit to do, for God is with you.
9 As he turned away to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart; and all these signs were fulfilled that day. 10When they were going from there to Gibeah, a band of prophets met him; and the spirit of God possessed him, and he fell into a prophetic frenzy along with them.
17 Samuel summoned the people to the LORD at Mizpah 21He brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its families, and the family of the Matrites was taken by lot. Finally he brought the family of the Matrites near man by man, and Saul the son of Kish was taken by lot. But when they sought him, he could not be found. 22So they inquired again of the LORD, "Did the man come here?" and the LORD said, "See, he has hidden himself among the baggage."

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

Unsought Ordination
There are two images for kingship in this passage. The first is that the LORD directs one like Samuel to name the person, set that one apart, equip him/her with freedom and fill with God’s spirit; the second is that the LORD directs this process through the casting of lots (as in the selection of Matthias to replace Judas.) Both of these processes were followed in the selection of Saul. Let us look at the details.
In each image the selection is actually the LORD’s doing, whether by direction, process or casting lots. Others are simply the LORD’s vehicles. Something about such ordination gives the person a changed character, one that is indissoluble. One side of that change is the reality of being chosen for such honor as kingship, or being a bishop or a pastor. The other side is a charism of the heart that makes one different, more ready to complete a humanly impossible task. Part of being is leader is having followers who are also prepared by having hearts touched by God (vs. 26). Finally, there is permission for the new leader to lead with freedom, to define the God-given task and pursue it with joy and vigor. The results of this empowerment quickly become apparent. Leaders follow one of two courses ultimately. They pursue with diligence the well-being of the people they are charged to lead, or they fall into the sickly trap of advancing their own privilege without concern for that of others.
Saul was annointed privately by Samuel and chosen publicly by lot. From the first moment he was the LORD’s annointed, but within a short period of time the prerogatives of kingship outweighed the responsibilities in his own eyes. How often we see that in rulers, bishops, priests, and executives.

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

On Saul and David
Francis Quarles

Sure, Saul as little looked to be a king,
As I: and David dreamed of such a thing,
As much as he; when both alike did keep
The one his father’s asses; t’other, sheep:
Saul must forsake his whip: And David flings
His crook aside; and they must both be kings:
Saul had no sword; and David, then, no spear;
These was none conquered, nor no conqueror there;
There was no sweat; there was no blood, to shed:
The unsought crown besought the wearer’s head;
There was no stratagem; no opposition;
No taking parts; no jealous competition:
There needs no art; there needs no sword to bring,
And place the crown, where God appoints the king.

(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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