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

Monday, January 30, 2006

If Not Now, Later

Daily Readings
Psalm 33 Genesis 28 Isaiah 29 Acts 26

Daily Text: Isaiah 29

If Not Now, Later
From threat to Jerusalem (Ariel) [vss.1-4] to threat to Jerusalem’s enemies [5-8], back to remonstrate against those who, with Hezekiah, have concluded a secret agreement with Shabako of Egypt against Sennacherib of Assyria [9-14] and finally to an eschatalogical future that will see Abraham’s progeny return to the LORD [vss.22-24], Isaiah introduces God’s concerns to Judah. Jerusalem had never fallen since the day David took it from the Jebusites until now, at the end of the eighth century. But fall it would. And then, God turns right around and reassures them that Judah’s enemies would feel God’s hand against them, as well. Isaiah 9-16 includes a tri-partite section of warning for Judah that their leaders are like sleep-walkers when it come to seeing and ‘reading’ Isaiah’s vision. Also they pay lip service to God, but their heart is not in their worship and third they try to hide even from God their secret agreement with Egypt against Assyria. It will not ever work. They are the one’s formed, not God, they are the ones who misunderstand, not God. They are the one’s who have turned things upside down. Why is it that God continually comes back to restate his commitment to Israel and Judah? Over and over again he will reaffirm his covenant with them even if it is to be at the end of the age, at the end of time, he will be true to that.
The point is that God never gives a ‘last’ word, only the ‘first’ one. That is, it is his covenant word that is eternal. He will discipline, punish, distress his faithless ones, but in the midst he will reaffirm his covenant. Regardless of our behavior, he will live out his covenant with us. We may reject it, but he will not give up on us until we run out of time to repent and return to Him. And there will always be a remnant who will do just that. God will be faithful. I think this may explain the ‘confusion’ of loving and punishing words in Isaiah. God is a just God, and he will relate to our actual behavior. Having said that, he continues to be steadfastly committed to us through his covenanted word.

Isaiah by Kerosene Lantern Light
Robert Harris
Isaiah 29:11-14

This voice an older friend has kept
to patronize the single name he swears by
saying aha, aha to me.

The heresy hunter, shifting these lines
another shrieks through serepax and heroin
that we have a ‘culture’.

These are the very same who shall wait
for plainer faces after they’ve glutted on beauty,
a mild people back from the dead

shall speak the doors down
to the last hullo reaching the last crooked hutch
in forest or forest-like deeps of the town.

These who teach with the fingers and answer
with laughter, with anger, shall be in derision
and the waiting long, and the blue and white days

like a grave in a senseless universe.
I believe this wick and this open book
In the light’s oval, and I disbelieve

everything this generation has told me.

Collect for the Day
Blessed are you, Creator of the universe. In your loving kindness you watch over your chosen people. Make us witnesses to your truth and instruments of your peace, that all may know you as the God of justice, and praise your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Saviour. [476:744, Psalm prayer 33]


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