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

Monday, August 08, 2005

Adultery and Murder

Daily Readings
The Wisdom of Solomon 15 + II Samuel 11:2-27a + I Chronicles 1 + John 17

Quote of the Day
But you, our God, are kind and true,
Patient, and ruling all things in mercy. For even if we sin we are yours, knowing your power; but we will not sin, because we know that you acknowledge us as yours. For to know you is complete righteousness, and to know your power is the root of immortality.
The Wisdom of Solomon 15:1-3

Daily Text: II Samuel 11:2-27a

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

Adultery and Murder
This is not simply about a private sin, as it almost never is. More than one family is pulled in, and since David is a public figure, public morality is also at issue. Two matters here are significant: there is no protecting of David here, and his loss of ‘innocence’ marks a turning point in his own life and in the history of Israel. God forgives him adultery and murder, yes, but both David and Israel live out the consequences through all their history. Nothing is ever the same. Joab is cockier, David’s sons are all threatened in the succession struggle, God holds Israel more to account for national sins, and the lies take over. To hide his sin David lies, as do all who sin. Lies are at heart the spawn of the evil one. To lie is to embrace the evil one and to explicitly reject the God of truth. One cannot embrace both, although in the attempt one might save himself for confession and forgiveness. This, I believe, David did, but the consequences are inevitable. Forgiveness is mercy personified, but justice exacts its due, regardless.

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

from Love of King David and Fair Bethsabe
George Peele

Hot sun, cool fire, tempered with sweet air,
Black shade, fair nurse, shadow my white hair.
Shine, sun; burn, fire; breathe, air, and ease me;
Shadow, my sweet nurse, keep me from burning,
Make not my glad cause cause of mourning.
Let not my beauty’s fire
Inflame unstaid desire,
Nor pierce any bright eye
That wandereth lightly.

(Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.)

David Enamoured of Bethsabe
George Peele

What tunes, what words, what looks,
what wonders pierce
My soul, incensed with a sudden fire!
What tree, what shade, what spring,
what paradise,
Enjoys the beauty of so fair a dame!
Fair Eva, placed in perfect happiness,
Lending her praise-notes to the liberal heavens,
Struck with the accents of archangels’ tunes,
Wrought not more pleasure to her husband’s thoughts
Than this fair woman’s words and notes to mine.
May that sweet plain that bears her peasant weight,
Be still enamell’d with discolour’d flowers;
That precious fount bear sand of purest gold;
And for the pebble, let the silver streams
That pierce earth’s bowels to maintain the source,
Play upon rubies, sapphires, chrysolites;
The brim let be embraced with golden curls
Of moss that sleeps with sound the waters make
For joy to feed the fount with their recourse;
Let all the grass that beautifies her bower
Bear manna every morn, instead of dew
Or let the dew be sweeter far than that
That hangs like chains of pearl on Hermon hill,
Or balm which trickled from old Aaron’s beard.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
See, Cusay, see the flower of Israel,
The fairest daughter that obeys the king,
In all the land the Lord subdued to me,
Farier than Isaac’s lover at the well,
Brighter than inside bark of new-hewn cedar,
Sweeter than flames of fine perfumèd myrrh;
And comelier than the silver clouds that dance
On zephyr’s wings before the King of Heaven
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Bright Bethsabe shall wash in David’s bower
In water mix’d with purest almond flower,
And bathe her beauty in the milk of kids;
Bright Bethsabe gives earth to my desires,
Verdure to earth, and to that verdure flowers,
To flowers sweet odours, and to odours wings,
That carry pleasures to the hearts of kings.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Now comes my lover tripping like the roe,
And brings my longings tangled in her hair;
To joy her love I’ll build a kingly bower,
Seated in hearing of a hundred streams,
That, for their homage to her sovereign joys,
Shall, as the serpents fold into their nests,
In oblique turnings wind the nimble waves
About the circles of her curious walks,
And with their murmur summon easeful sleep,
To lay his golden sceptre on her brows.

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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