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

Friday, January 27, 2006

Resurrection

Daily Readings
Psalm 24 Genesis 25 Isaiah 26:1-27:1 Acts 23

Daily Text: Isaiah 26:1-27:1

Resurrection
The four chapters of The Apocalypse of Isaiah move to their denouement in chapter 26. This passage opens with a great song for the redeemed. For those who in the end time keep a steadfast mind upon God, peace will be their gift, an eternal one. Part of that gift will be a level path, one without further obstacles (vs. 7). There is the promise that God will punish the wicked, separating them from the righteous. Verse 14 speaks of the enemies of God and his people dying and not rising, not even being remembered. But not so with God’s people, they are enlarged (vs. 15) and they shall live. Identified as God’s people, God’s corpses, (vs, 19) they shall rise from death, even though they must enter the chamber of death for a little while until the wrath of God is visited on the iniquities of the inhabitants of the earth. And finally, God also deals with the heavenly and mythological counterpart of evil, that Leviathan, that fleeing and twisting (twisted?) serpent, the dragon in the sea (27:1).
Resurrection is a ‘charged’ notion in the Hebrew Scriptures, particularly for the scholars. On the other hand it is there in the psalms, Isaiah, Hosea, Daniel, and Ezekiel to say nothing of II Esdras. And says Kaiser, it is obvious that with such brief mention in vs. 19, it must have been a fairly well understood concept among Isaiah’s readers. Certainly, it was developed quickly in early Christian circles as what happened to Jesus needed explanation within the Hebrew understanding of God’s intentions for his people. And here it was, fully laid out. Remarkable.

The Third Song of Esai
Esai. xxvi.
George Wither
1588-1667

A City now we have obtain’d,
Where strong defenses are;
And God salvation hath ordain’d
For walls and bulwarks there.
The gates thereof wide open ye,
That such as justly do,
(And those that Truth’s observers be)
May enter thereunto.

2.
There thou in peace wilt keep them sure,
Whose thoughts well grounded be;
In peace that ever shall endure,
Because they trusted Thee.
For ever, therefore, on the Lord,
Without distrust, depend;
For in the Lord, th’ eternal Lord,
Is strength that hath no end.

3.
He makes the lofty city yield,
And her proud dwellers bow;
He lays it level with the field,
E’en with the dust below.
Their feet that are in want and care,
Their feet thereon shall tread;
Their way is right, that righteous are,
And thou their path dost heed.

4.
Upon the course of judgments we,
Oh, Lord, attending were,
And to record thy name and thee,
Our souls desirous are.
On thee our minds, with strong desire,
Are fixèd in the night;
And after thee our hearts inquire,
Before the morning light.

5.
For when thy righteous judgments are
Upon the earth discern’d,
By those that do inhabit there,
Uprightness shall be learn’d.
Yet sinners for no terror will
Just dealing understand,
But in their sins continue still,
Amid the Holy Land.

6.
To seek the glory of the Lord
They unregardful be;
And thy advancèd hand, oh Lord,
They will not deign to see.
But they shall see, and see with shame,
That bear thy people spite;
Yea, from thy foes shall come a flame,
Which will devour them quite.

7.
Then, Lord, for us thou wilt procure
That we in peace may be,
Because that every work of our
Is wrought for us by thee.
And, Lord our God, though we are brought
To other lords in thrall,
Of thee alone shall be our thought,
Upon thy name to call.

8.
They are deceas’d, and never shall
Renewèd life obtain;
They die, and shall not rise at all
To tyrannise again:
For thou didst visit them, therefore,
And wide dispers’d them hast;
That so their fame for evermore
May wholly be defac’d.

9.
But, Lord, increas’d thy people are,
Increas’d they are by thee;
And thou art glorified as far
As earth’s wide limits be;
For, Lord, in their distresses, when
Thy rod on them was laid,
They unto thee did hasten then,
And without ceasing pray’d.

10.
As one with child is pain’d, when as
Her throes of bearing be,
And cries in pangs (before thy face;)
O Lord, so farèd we.
We have conceiv’d, and for a birth
Of wind have painèd been.
The world’s unsafe, and still on earth
They thrive that dwell therein.

11.
The dead shall live, and rise again
With my dead body shall.
Oh, you, that in the dust remain,
Awake, and sing you all!
For as the dew doth herbs renew,
That buried seem’d before,
So earth shall through thy heavenly dew
Her dead to life restore.

12.
My people, to thy chambers fair;
Shut close the door to thee,
And stay a while (a moment there)
Till past the fury be:
For lo, the Lord doth now arise,
He cometh from his place,
To punish their impieties,
Who now the world possess.

13.
The earth that blood discover shall
Which is in her concealed,
And bring to light those murders all
Which yet are unrevealed.
411:395

Collect for the Day
God of mystery and power, open our eyes to the flame of your love, and open our ears to the thunder of your justice, that we may receive your gifts of blessing and peace, to the glory of your name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. [476:738 Psalm prayer for Psalm 29]

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