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

Friday, September 23, 2005

A Prophet's Hospitality

Daily Readings
Sirach 19 + II Kings 6:1-23 + II Chronicles 17 + Jeremiah 40

Quote of the Day
In the third year of his (Jehoshaphat’s) reign he sent his officials…to teach in the cities of Judah….They taught in Judah, having the book of the law of the LORD with them; they went around through all the cities of Judah and taught among the people. II Chronicles 17:7, 9

Daily Text: II Kings 6:1-23

A Prophet’s Hospitality
Once again we catch a glimpse of YHWH’s manner of treating of the enemy. And even admitting this writer’s bias through New Testament lenses, it would seem that such a ‘glimpse’ is an accurate projection. In this story Elisha is keeping the Arameans and the Israelites in some sort of political balance by keeping them both off-guard. He warns the King of Israel of the King of Aram’s plans being given them through the means of the LORD’S ‘sight.’ When the King of Aram discovers that Elisha is reading his mind he is furious and sets about to capture him. His men surround the city where Elisha is living and Elisha, protected by heavenly troops, calls for the blinding of the Aramean troops. So they are blinded and what follows is a comic scene. Like the pied piper of Hamelin, Elisha goes out to the blinded troops and tells they have surrounded the wrong person, but if they will follow him he will lead them to the right one. The trek is about 10 hilarious miles as the prophet leads those sent for him in a stumbling, blind march straight into the heart of Samaria and the presence of the king. Once there, surrounding by Israelite troops, their eyes are open and they discover themselves inside their enemy’s camp! He then instructs the king to give them a feast and send them home. Once that occurs they go home praising the King, Elisha and YHWH. Peace ensues. Would that every nation had an Elisha and a YHWH to manage its affairs in such a wholesome, delightful manner.

Whispers from the Bedroom

Blinded like mice in a maze
The troops just arrived, newly dazed
See nothing of the heavenly hosts
Milling around their military posts.

So when offered a route to a more pertinent prize
They accept to follow this Elisha who cries,
“South.” Exhausted, footsore, ten miles, please no more,
From Dothan to Samaria their ears calling fore.

They stretch and they stumble
Without any order, an army a-bumble
Hilarious, delirious, butt of all tales
The pride of Damascus, among Shemer’s males.

Surrounded, now seeing, their circumstance being
Desperate and helpless, can sight be not freeing?
Kill them? Deplete them? Leave them for carrion?
What shall I do now that you have come ferrying them?

Feed them, honor them, fill them with wine
And send them all home with your thanks for good time.
Then learn what your God would have you to be
Consider, wonder, behaving, set free.

The heavenly view is that all humankind
Is created and serves the master divine
Enemies treated like friends in your home
May become your supporters, a source of shalom.


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