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 17, 2006

On That Day

Daily Readings
Psalm 17 Genesis 16 Isaiah 17 Acts 15

Daily Text: Isaiah 17

On That Day
Judgement Day! It has come and in this chapter it reaches to Damascus, Samaria and Assyria. In the chapter thee stanzas begin with the words: “On that day.” The first is judgement on Samaria, Israel, the Northern kingdom and the image is of one starving, becoming lean of flesh and the image is not one of health, but of death knocking. The second is not strictly verse, but is a prose insertion. It begins, however, with “On that day.” “On that day people will regard their Maker, and their eyes will look to the Holy One of Israel.” When all is lost people do not turn to the work of their own hands, they turn to their maker, in this case, the God of Israel, YHWH. Who else can help? In our time we see it most often when one is struck with a life-threatening illness. Then one’s priorities become very clear and God our Maker is at the top of the list. It was no different in Isaiah’s time!
The third instance of “On that day” is in verse 9, again prose, and the reference is to the complete destruction of Damascus, Samaria and their surrounding towns. Desolation is the predominant emotion, reminding us of the desolation that possessed New Orleans and the Mississippi gulf coast with the passing of Katrina. Judgement it may not have been, but desolation sweeps in where total destruction reigns. The contemporaneous nature of Isaiah’s poetry is again remarkably prescient. That he will prove true in regards to sin and righteousness in our time, as well as his own, should not come as a surprise. Like the editors of old, we can roll Isaiah’s words into our own lives and know their remarkable validity.

Last Judgment
Stanton A. Coblentz

No grim last judge recording on a slate
His evil deeds, he met beyond the Gate,
But an appraiser still more stern and just:
His own accusing conscience roused too late.

Collect for the Day
Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living God, we pray you to set your passion, cross, and death, between your judgment and our souls, now and in the hour of our death. Give mercy and grace to the living, pardon and rest to the dead, to your holy Church peace and concord, and to us sinners everlasting life and glory; who with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, one God, now and for ever. Amen. [BCP, p. 282, final prayer of the Good Friday liturgy]


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