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

Monday, February 27, 2006

Incapable of Innocence:Biblical Commentary on Hosea 8 with poem by T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men

Daily Readings
Job 17:3-16 Exodus 5:1-6:1 Hosea 8 I Thessalonians 1

Daily Text: Hosea 8

Incapable of Innocence
Israel’s cry for recognition in Hosea 8:2 is pathetic, for her behavior has not matched her words for generations. Relationship requires deeds over time, not panicked prayers in a foxhole. She has lost her uniqueness, says Hosea, by pursuing recognition among the nations—first by having a king, then naming that king without reference to God’s choice for her. God as king has become a lost concept and with her own identity swallowed by alien cultures and gods she has become a useless vessel incapable of innocence. What an indictment! Even offerings on the altars of God have become no more than ‘religious picnics,’ Hosea 8:13 [Myers, 482:46]. The search for national and cultural acceptance has led to political, religious and spiritual irrelevance.

from The Hollow Men
T. S. Eliot

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us—if at all—not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

Collect for the Day
Almighty God, who is able to make all things new and to restore life anew every morning, help me never to be conformed to the world but to be transformed by the constant renewing of my mind. Through the Spirit of Christ. Amen. [479:108]


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