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

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Water Taxi

Daily Readings
Psalm 40 Genesis 35 Jonah 1:17-2:10 Mark 5

Daily Text: Jonah 1:17-2:10

Water Taxi
In the belly of the great fish, Jonah called to the LORD restoring his channel of communication with the divine [183:53]. Driven from God’s sight, his presence, Jonah experiences the exile of his people. There, cut off from all that was previously holy, he makes the movement from chaos through reflection to meaning. He went into the bottom of Pit, the heart of imprisonment and death to find life, resurrection, hope. There he re-membered the LORD. The opposite of re-membering is not ‘forgetting’, but ‘dis-membering. In that moment his identification with the LORD was reconstitituted, his repentance became complete and his redemption likewise full and present. Immediately, he became ready to pay his vow, that continuing force of his old life, that is not replaced in the new, but simply renewed!
So in the new life the old values took on life. Lacocque and Lacocque [183:52] write:
“But this much remains: it raises the fundamental question of the values of yesterday. The problem cannot be ignored in the present circumstances, and it must not be smothered by the substitution of “modern” standards for old ones. It is a mistake to believe that there are substitute values available when the former ones are questioned. Only the inexperienced and the gullible can be persuaded by demagogues that a new world order will spring from the vacuum left by the rejection of the old order. On the contrary, the wise and the prophets know that a society or an individual does not change values as one changes clothes” [183:52].

Jonah revitalized his old values and in that moment the LORD spoke to the fish and it spit him out on dry land.

Carl Sandburg

If I should pass the tomb of Jonah
I would stop there and sit for awhile;
Because I was swallowed one time deep in the dark
And came out alive after all.

The Ribs and Terrors
Herman Melville

The ribs and terrors in the whale,
Arched over me a dismal gloom,
While all God’s sun-lit waves rolled by,
And lift me to a deeper doom.

I saw the opening maw of hell,
With endless pains and sorrows there;
Which none but they that feel can tell—
Oh, I was plunging to despair.

In black distress, I called my God,
When I could scarce believe Him mine,
He bowed His ear to my complaints—
No more the whale did me confine.

With speed He flew to my relief,
As on a radiant dolphin borne;
Awful, yet bright, as lightning shone
The face of my Deliverer God.

My song for ever shall record
That terrible, that joyful hour;
I give the glory to my God,
His all the mercy and the power.

Collect for the Day
Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not love our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.
[BCP 397 Confession of Sin]


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