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

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Wild Grapes

Daily Readings
Psalm 3 Genesis 3 Isaiah 4:2-5:7 Acts 3

Daily Text: Isaiah 4:2-5:7

Wild Grapes
The passage for the day of Jerusalem’s restoration in chapter 4 is thought by the scholars to have been a late addition to the Isaiah scroll, perhaps as late as the 3rd century. However, the editor of the scroll obviously saw its relationship to the whole. It follows the judgment passages of the opening chapters as well as the projection of Mount Zion as the source for God’s age of peace in chapter 2. Linking with this theme and serving as a preface for the love song of the vineyard, 4:2-6 projects an eschatalogical remnant in Jerusalem all of whom are holy—all of whom are recorded in the book of life, all of whom live under the banner of the famed pillar of cloud by day and the shining flame of fire from the days of the exodus by night, all living on a ‘pavilion’ canopied over by the very glory of God. The love song of the vineyard in chapter five both builds on this and becomes presently realistic, as well.
For the love song in chapter 5:1-7, both recapitulates the steadfast love of the LORD issuing out of the Mosaic covenant, and the incredible disappointment embraced by that same LORD as he sees his ‘beloved’ for what they are. He planted this promising vineyard through the Exodus and the settling of the Promised Land, expecting a faithful, fruitful, righteous people exemplifying to the entire world what being a people of God could mean. And what does he get? A people who are no different from any other people in the world! In his disappointment he appeals to Isaiah’s hearers to understand him, vss.3,4, When I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?” His judgement is swift uncompromising and unsentimental. The vineyard is destroyed. His people have produced wickedness, not righteousness.

Auguries of Innocence
William Blake

To see a World in a grain of sand
And a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all Heaven in a rage.
A dove house filled with doves and pigeons
Shudders Hell through all its regions.
A dog starved at his master’s gate
Predicts the ruin of the State.
A horse misused upon the road
Calls to Heaven for human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted hare
A fibre from the brain does tear.
A skylark wounded in the wing,
A cherubim does cease to sing.
The game cock clipped and armed for fight
Does the rising sun affright.

The soldier, armed with sword and gun,
Palsied strikes the summer’s sun.
The poor man’s farthing is wroth more
Than all the gold on Africa’s shore.
One mite wrung from the lab’rour’s hands
Shall buy and sell the miser’s lands:
Or, if protected from on high,
Does that whole nation sell and buy.
He who mocks the infant’s faith
Shall be mocked in Age and Death.
He who shall teach the child to doubt
The rotting grave shall ne’er get out.
He who respects the infant’s faith
Triumphs over Hell and Death.

He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne’er believe, do what you please.
If the sun and Moon should doubt,
They’d immediately go out.
To be in a passion you good may do,
But no good if a passion is in you.
The whore and gambler, by the state
Licenced, build that nation’s fate.
The harlot’s cry from street to street
Shall weave old England’s winding sheet.
The winner’s shout, the loser’s curse,
Dance before dead England’s hearse.
Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born.
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.
We are led to believe a lie
When we see not through the eye
Which was born in a night to perish in a night
When the soul slept in beams of light.
God appears and God is Light
To those poor souls who dwell in Night,
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of Day.

Collect for the Day
Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen. [BCP:233:Proper 17, orig. from the Gelasian sacramentary, no. 1182]


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