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

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Grinding the Face of the Poor

Daily Readings
Psalm 2 Genesis 2:4-25 Isaiah 2:22-4:1 Acts 2

Daily Text: Isaiah 2:22-4:1

Grinding the Face of the Poor
Evil yields oppression and temporarily a new ruling class, but evil always fosters corruption and finally chaos. With chaos all social norms eventually break down. Leadership goes, women live for themselves, war and the death of young men is not unusual. In the Lord’s judgement, children become the princes, rulers and oppressors of adults. The picture is that of a topsy turvy society.
The images of women in this passage are those of our own day, or so it would seem, but then so are all of the other images. The evolving of human behavior has not kept pace with our technical, medical and economic development. The prophet could pronounce his message to telling affect in our own day. As always in human history, the LORD deals with the ruling class, for they are the ones who devour the assets of the people as their ‘due’ for public service. They have taken the vineyards, probably the wine from the vineyard, and the belongings of the poor for spoils. It is seldom recognized that in the ancient world, wars were pursued to pay the army, that is, to keep the rulers in power. When there was no war to occupy the ruling class, they turned to the poor for their source of spoils. In 21st century America we cut programs to the poor to pay for war, while we cut the taxes of the rich to line the nests of those who rule. The end result will be that outlined in Isaiah’s prophecy.

from The People, Yes
Carl Sandburg

Who can make a poem of the depths of weariness
bringing meaning to those never in the depths?
Those who order what they please
when they choose to have it—
can they understand the many down under
who come home to their wives and children at night
and night after night as yet too brave and unbroken
to say, “I ache allover?”
How can a poem deal with production cost
and leave out definite misery paying
a permanent price in shattered health and early old age?
When will the efficiency engineers and the poets
get together on a program?
Will that be a cold day? will that be a special hour?
Will somebody be coocoo then?
And if so, who?
And what does the Christian Bible say?
And the Mohammedan Koran and Confucius and the Shintoists
and the Encyclicals of the Popes?
Will somebody be coocoo then?
And if so, who??

Collect for the Day
Look with pity, O heavenly Father, upon the people in this land who live with injustice, terror, disease, and death as their constant companions. Have mercy upon us. Help us to eliminate our cruelty to these our neighbors. Strengthen those who spend their lives establishing equal protection of the law and equal opportunities for all. And grant that every one of us may enjoy a fair portion of the riches of this land; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [BCP 826]


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