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 24, 2005

Second Sight

Daily Readings
Sirach 20 + II Kings 6:24-7:20 + II Chronicles 18 + Jeremiah 41

Quote of the Day
There is a rebuke that is untimely, and there is the person who is wise enough to keep silent. Sirach 20:1

Daily Text: II Kings 6:24-7:20

Second Sight
One of the very interesting matters concerning Elisha is how close he stays to the king’s court. He was with the army when Jehoram marched against Moab (II Kings 3). He offers to speak a word on her behalf to the king or commander of the army for the wealthy woman of Shunem (4). When Naaman comes to Israel, Elisha knows what is being said within the court of the king (5). He passes on the thoughts of the king of Aram to the king of Israel (6). Presently, we find that the king himself can walk to Elisha’s house to protect him from being murdered by the king’s own emissary (6, cf. Josephus 412:IX:281). How different this is from Elijah, who when he delivered a message from YHWH often had to run for his life! Elisha, by contrast, was part of the retinue of the court, whether by birth and economic and political circumstance or by virtue of his role as the prophet of God. How he came to be part of the court is less important than how he functioned within it. And he functioned in it like a plumb line on a wall. That is, God’s word was ever ready to be announced, heard and heeded. Elisha was not co-opted by the king, but he stayed in the king’s good graces.

It was often the gift of second sight that allowed Elisha to advise the king and, as in our present text, to keep his head on his shoulders. Since Elisha invariably used this gift to the glory of God, we can assume that the gift was given by God. It may have come as part of the double-portion of Elijah’s spirit. The gift is not unheard of throughout the ages, and may well be one that many folk have in some natural sense. If it is devoted to God’s use, it may become blessed by God to his own glory.

I Hear a Voice
from Colin and Lucy, v. 4
Thomas Tickell
1686-1740

I hear a voice you cannot hear,
Which says I must not stay;
I see a hand you cannot see,
Which beckons me away.
413:547:21

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