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

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Wait, Listen, Obey

Daily Readings
Psalm 35 Genesis 29 Isaiah 30 Acts 27

Daily Text: Isaiah 30

Wait, Listen, Obey
God’s rebellious children have sought worthless help from Egypt to save them from Sennacherib. One of the funniest images in Scripture may be the one in vs. 7 when God names Egypt “Rahab who sits”. The story of Rahab of Jericho is an ancient one in Israel. She is the prostitute who hides Joshua’s spies and smuggles them out of Jericho when they are being hunted. She was help indeed. But Egypt is like a ‘Rahab who sits’—a woman of promise, but no cigar! She doesn’t deliver.
For a priest of the church the passage from 8-11 speaks resoundingly. The people do not listen to Isaiah’s word. In fact, they instruct the seer’s not to see, the prophets not to prophecy, the preachers not to preach--not to preach the clear implications of the word of God, at any rate. They want to hear illusions, nice words, comfortable words. No politics, as if God’s word will ever ignore what is going on in His world! Isaiah is all politics, that is, all words addressing and criticizing Judah’s politics. What in the world do we think this material is about? How appropriate is this 8th century B.C. material for the 21st century!
These sons of Jacob reject Isaiah’s word and because of it their downfall will be ruthless. Their salvation lies not in outside help but in simple relational postures toward their God: repentance and rest, quietness and trust. Note that rest and trust are concomitant responses in serving God. This is the ‘rest’ spoken of in the Psalms and in the book of the Hebrews. Serving God does not require busyness (business), that state of living (dying) that fills every moment of every day with activity, depending on ones own strength. Actually, the LORD wants to be, waits to be, gracious to you, to show you mercy, and to do so this God of justice blesses those who wait for him, but he does wait until we wait on him.
The coming redemption of the LORD is interwoven with his discipline. Though the LORD may give you the ‘bread of adversity and the water of affliction’ he will also show Himself as your rabbi, your teacher. And when you turn left or right he will be with you to direct you: ‘This is the way, walk in it.’ When that begins to happen, then your obedience will flower and you will throw away your idols whatever they may be. This is a most amazing promise. He will never let you go, although, that will not necessarily be appreciated in the middle of his discipline.

Stand Still and Wait
Author Unknown

Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it; when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left..—Isaiah 30:21

“Stand still,” my soul, for so thy Lord commands:
E’en when thy way seems blocked, leave it in His wise hands;
His arm is mighty to divide the wave.
“Stand still,” my soul, “stand still” and thou shalt see
How God can work the “impossible” for thee,
For with a great deliverance He doth save.

Be not impatient, but in stillness stand,
Even when compassed ’round on every hand,
In ways thy spirit does not comprehend.
God cannot clear thy way till thou art still,
That He may work in thee His blessed will,
And all thy heart and will to Him doth bend.

“Be still,” my soul, for just as thou art still,
Can God reveal Himself to thee; until
Through thee His love and light and life can freely flow;
In stillness God can work through thee and reach
The souls around thee. He then through thee can teach
His lessons, and His power in weakness show.

“Be still”—a deeper step in faith and rest.
“Be still and know” thy Father knoweth best
The way that leads His child to that fair land,
A “summer” land, where quiet waters flow;
Where longing souls are satisfied, and “know
Their God,” and praise for all that He has planned.
377:640

Collect for the Day
Drop thy still dews of quietness
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of Thy peace.
John Green leaf Whittier (1807-1892) [475:258:538]

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