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

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Forgive, Act and Render

Daily Readings
Psalm 119:161-176 + I Kings 8 + I Chronicles 26 + Jeremiah 21

Quote of the Day
“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built!” I Kings 8:27 Solomon

Daily Text:I Kings 8

Forgive, Act and Render
Following Cogan [437:291] we may view this chapter as a drama having three acts: 1) the Ark of the Covenant is moved to the new Temple ultimately commencing the temple’s new role in the life of the nation, 2) Solomon as priest pronounces a blessing on the people and makes a beautiful prayer to YHWH calling for God’s recognition of the temple as a place from which the people’s soul-life will issue, and 3) a celebration of worship that lasted for a week.

Solomon recognized in vs. 27 that the temple could not hold Adonay, even the heavens in that three-decker universe could not hold him. But recognizing that, he pled that God would hear the prayers of his people from this temple and ‘forgive, act and render’ in the case of each heart of which he had knowledge. Assumed here is that by listening to the prayers of the people, God would have intimate knowledge of their sincerity and could respond appropriately. That God will “forgive, act and render” remains as critical in our own day as it was in the tenth century B.C. We continue to find support and sustenance in houses of worship, hopefully understanding that they are simply a convenience for our gathering together in community and lifting our prayers and praises to God.

The Prayer of Solomon at the Consecration of the Temple
Rebekah Hyneman

A gorgeous structure! rich with fretted gold
And radiant with gems. A white robed choir,
Sackbut and psaltery, and the tuneful harp
Waft their sweet melody unto high heaven.
A mighty monarch bows his head in prayer.
What boon has he to ask of pitying Heaven?
Seeks he for riches, or for pomp and power
Or asks he vengeance on unconquered foes?
Peace! peace! he breathes a lowly prayer to Heaven,
Even for others’ sins as for his own,
Asking forgiveness.

Father! when man forgetting Thy just decree
Shall wrong his brother, and by fraud or wile
Pervert the holy faith that leads to Thee
And turn his heart to sinfulness and guile;
Yet when they both are brought before Thy face,
And purer feelings in each bosom strive,
Hear Thou and judge in heaven Thy dwelling-place
And when Thou hearest, have mercy and forgive.

When Thy frail children, for their many sins,
Shall smart beneath the oppressor’s iron rod,
And when the tortured conscience first begins
To waken to the anger of its God;
Then when they come to Thee, that erring race,
And pray that Thou the heavy load remove,
Hear Thou in heaven Thy holy dwelling-place,
And when Thou hearest forgive, oh! God of love!

And when the heavens are shut, and the parched land
Must bear the burden of their sinful way,
And Thou shalt teach them with Thy mighty hand,
And bend their stubborn hearts to own Thy sway,--
And they repent and turn towards this place,
Let not Thine ear be deaf unto their voice;
But hear Thou from Thy heavenly throne of grace,
Hear and forgive the children of Thy choice.

And when the stranger, for Thy great name’s sake
Turneth toward this house, oh! mighty King,
Whatever supplication he may make,
Whatever sin or sorrow he may bring;
Yet when he bendeth here to ask Thy grace,
And prayeth Israel’s God to heal his grief.
Hear Thou in Heaven, Thy dwelling-place,
And when Thou hearest, forgive and grant relief.

If any sin (and what man sinneth not),
And Thou art wroth and angered with their shame,
And the sad captive’s lone and bitter lot
Be theirs, until they call upon Thy name;
Yet when they turn repentant towards this place,
And pray to Thee in supplicating tone,
Hear Thou in heavenThy holy throne of grace,
Forgive and have compassion on Thine own.

No gorgeous temple, rich with fretted gold
And bright with flashing gems, now meets our eye;
No holy prophet king, like him of old,
Now offers up our sacrifice on high;
Yet when we come with prayer to seek Thy face
Each with sin’s burning plague-spot in his breast,
Hear Thou, oh God! in heaven Thy dwelling-place
And when Thou hearest, forgive, and grant us rest.
403:112

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