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

Friday, February 03, 2006

Zion's Treasure

Daily Readings
Psalm 37:1-18 Genesis 31 Isaiah 33 Mark 1

Daily Text: Isaiah 33

Zion’s Treasure
Reading Isaiah 33 and finding its integrity is like unraveling a skein of yarn. Roughly it may be broken into two sections 1-6 and 7-24. The latter section has four subdivisions: a lament 7-9; YHWH’s Response 10-13; Conditions for Participation in Redemption 14-16 and A Future Promise 17-24. However, tying these poetic elements to historical situations is like fitting together a puzzle of a Jackson Pollock painting!
On the other hand, the familiar themes of man’s inhumanity to man, the inevitability of punishment for iniquity, the promise of a remnant of God’s people as well as a future triumph of evil over good, and more to the point, the vindication of YHWH within his creation are all present. These prophetic poets like Isaiah sound and resound God’s inevitable presence in history and the judgment that will follow the lines of a clear moral order. ‘Betrayal will beget betrayal (vs. 1).’ The one who lives righteously can suffer and overcome the terrors of other’s iniquities (vs. 15). ‘God’s anger is fierce because man’s cruelty is infernal’ (Heschel 478:80, vs. 14). Humankind is a unity and YHWH is ruler over all (vs. 13). One of God’s great promises lies in vss. 5 & 6: again the prophet sees the conjunction of time and eternity and within that conjunction he testifies that the LORD fills Zion with justice and righteousness, forget human chicanery, and see divine wholeness. Look beyond human iniquity, power grabs, inhumanity and gaze on the stability that is our LORD. See also that fear or reverence of the LORD is the great treasure to be found in Jerusalem, among his people.

A Hymn to God the Father
John Donne
1573-1631

Wilt Thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which is my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
And do run still: though still I do deplore?
For, I have more.

Wilt Thou forgive that sin by which I have won
Others to sin? and made my sin their door?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year, or two: But wallowed in, a score?
When Thou has done, Thou hast not done,
For, I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
Swear by Thyself, that at my death Thy Son
Shall shine as He shines now, and heretofore;
And, having done that, Thou hast done,
I fear no more.
407:558:179

Collect for the Day
Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may be you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. [BCP: Proper 15:232]

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