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

Thursday, January 19, 2006

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Daily Readings
Psalm 20 Genesis 18 Isaiah 18 Acts 16

Daily Text: Isaiah 18

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Ethiopia is the focus of chapter 18 and a delightful focus. They are described as tall and smooth, that is, without beards. Kaiser quotes Herodotus in saying that the Ethiopians are the tallest and most beautiful people of the world [472:93]. The first stanza of this poem refers to ‘whirring wings’ and papyrus vessels. If these references are seen in parallel, then it is sensible to conclude that the ‘whirring wings’ are not those of birds or insects, but the quiet sails of their papyrus skiffs, seen in 4th dynasty sculptures [Encyclopedia Britannica, 1967, volume 17, p. 297]. That they were seen as formidable warriors enhances their stature. The world is called to attend to the signals of invasion, ostensibly to come from Jerusalem, the dwelling place of YHWH, who in the meantime will quietly bide his time, neutral and unaggressive. This undoubtedly would have been a message to Hezekiah of Judah to do the same. If trimming grapevines is similar in Palestine to the process in the United States, then great piles might be made of the trimmed canes readying them for burning. But in this case they are left as feeding grounds for raptors, as wild creatures use them as cover for their lairs. Both images, that of creature shelter and preparation for burning might well have been readily understood in that time. In that case, the recommendation for patience and neutrality might well have been made to and accepted by the ambassadors of Ethiopia that came to Mount Zion bearing gifts for the LORD and for Hezekiah. Certainly, in both chapters 18 and 19, the LORD is central to multinational peace and decision-making.

The Flag of Peace
Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Men long have fought for their flying flags,
They have died those flags to save;
Their long staves rest on the shattered breast,
They are planted deep in the grave.
Now the world’s new flag is streaming wide,
Far-flying wide and high.
It shall cover the earth from side to side
As the rainbow rings the sky.

The flag of the day when men shall stand
For service, not for fight;
When every race, in every land,
Shall join for the world’s delight;
When all our flags shall blend in one,
And all our wars shall cease,
‘Neath the new flag, the true flag,
The rainbow flag of peace.

Collect for the Day
Almighty God our heavenly Father, guide the nations of the world into the way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that they may become the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. [BCP, 816:5 For Peace Among the Nations]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi again! I thought I already sent this comment, but here I go again. Maybe it will work, maybe not. What I said is

Wow! The opening words of this chapter creat a great image. Perhaps there is an Etheopian Cloak lurking in the midst of them.

Guess who.

8:52 AM  

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