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

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Feeble Knees No Longer

Daily Readings
Psalm 38 Genesis 33 Isaiah 35 Mark 3

Daily Text: Isaiah 35

Feeble Knees No Longer
The prophet brought warning and after warning hope, rather like sunshine after rain. This passage is just that—hope for Judah following the forecast doom of Edom. It is also a message of hope to complete the early book of Isaiah. Following this chapter comes 36-39 which more properly belong to the historical account of I Kings and then the prophecy of Second Isaiah. So this bright message of hope completes First Isaiah’s corpus. It picks up themes which are common in Second Isaiah, but it does so in reference to the prophecy of First Isaiah.
Here the prophet attempts to ‘strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. He suggests that God’s vengeance on the nations is for the sake of Judah and her salvation. Iniquity is a terrible thing, but with repentance, God’s judgement is turned away and the land will bloom where it was formerly dry and waste. Rebellion against the Holy One of Israel has terrible consequences, but turning to him brings great delight. There in the wilderness of God’s judgment shall be a highway for the people of God. Once on that highway not even a fool can get lost. It leads inexorably, safely and joyfully to the Mount of God in Zion.

Isaiah XXXV
John Gardiner Calkins Brainard
1796-1828

A rose shall bloom in the lonely place,
A wild shall echo with sounds of joy,
For heaven’s own gladness its bounds shall grace,
And forms angelic their songs employ.

And Lebanon’s cedars shall rustle their boughs,
And fan their leaves in the scented air;
And Carmel and Sharon shall pay their vows,
And shout, for the glory of God is there.

O say to the fearful, Be strong of heart;
He comes in vengeance, but not for thee;
For thee He comes, his might to impart
To the trembling hand and the feeble knee.

The blind shall see, the deaf shall hear,
The dumb shall raise their notes for Him,
The lame shall leap like the unharmed deer,
And the thirsty shall drink of the holy stream.

And the parchèd ground shall become a pool,
And the thirsty land a dew-washed mead;
And where the wildest beasts held rule,
The harmless of His fold shall feed.

There is away, and a holy way,
Where the unclean foot shall never tread,
But from it the lowly shall not stray,
To it the penitent shall be ded.

No lion lhsall rouse him from his lair,
Nor wild beast rave in foaming rage;
But the redeemed of the earth shall there
Pursue their peaceful pilgrimage.

The ransomed of God shall return to him
With a chorus of joy to an angel’s lay;
With a tear of grief shall no eye be dim,
For sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
411:396

Collect for the Day
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natrual which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
[by e. e. cummings, from Selected Poems, 1923-1958;
477:241:33]

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