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

Thursday, March 09, 2006

World Peace: Bible Commentary on Micah 4 with poem by Ernest Bourner Allen, A Hymn of Peace

Daily Readings
Job 26 Exodus 15 Micah 4 I Corinthians 3

Daily Text: Micah 4

World Peace
One of the most famous passages in Holy Scripture appears here in 4:1-3. It is that of an image of world-wide peace and the nations “shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” [from vs. 3]. Chapter 4 addresses the refurbishing of Mount Zion as a center for religious instruction for the world. There the LORD teaches his ways and out of that comes this vision for peace. It is an eschatological vision, but before the chapter ends Micah comes back to the present. Oh, the ever-present present. Like the poor, it is with us always. But the prophecy along with its woes also suggests that once again God’s people will become an instrument in his hand to judge the nations. Conflicting visions: one that sees the nations streaming to Mount Zion to learn from the Lord, and one that sees the nations following their own gods, bent on thrashing Judah and being thrashed (threshed) in turn by daughter Zion.

Taken in turn, the Lord destroys Jerusalem and the temple mount in Micah 3:12, then builds it up again in chapter 4. If God can do that with his temple, he can do that with the Church. But for some reason, in the Church we have some triumphalist notion that the Church should always be flourishing. If it is not, it can again do so. Well, it is not, at least the main line church in the United States is not. It may be well and good that it triumphs in the last days, but who knows when that will be. Certainly, no human being knows, regardless of the hopes and predictions that abound. Perhaps we should turn and read the LORD’S sign and focus on a remnant of the faithful to build the LORD’s congregation in the land and let the institution go its way without further energy. In God’s time it may revive, but until then exile may be the most hopeful place for it. If Micah has something to say to us, let us take his image of world peace and pray and work towards that within our remnant congregations. That, coupled with remnant faith, is a sign of hope desperately needed in our world.

A Hymn Of Peace
Ernest Bourner Allen

1868-1931

The Son of God goes forth for Peace,
Our Father’s love to show;
From war and woe He brings release,
O, who with Him will go?
He strikes the fetters from the slave,
Man’s mind and heart makes free;
And sends His messengers to save
O’er every land and sea!

The Son of God goes forth for Peace,
That men like brothers live,
And all desire the other’s good,
And other’s sin forgive,
He turns our spears to pruning hooks,
Our swords to ploughshares warm,
And war no more its death-blast brings,
Nor men their brothers harm!

The Son of God goes froth for Peace,
Nor lands nor pow’r to gain;
He seeks to serve, to love, to lift,--
Who follows in His train?
A glorious band, in every age.
In spite of scorn and pain,
True sons of God, His peach have made;
Who follows in their train?

Now let the world to Peace be won,
And every hatred slain;
Let force and greed be overcome
And love supreme remain!
Let justice rule in all the earth,
And mercy while we live,
Lest we—forgiven much—forget
Our brother to forgive!

We send our love to every land—
True neighbors would we be;
And pray God’s Peace to reign in them,
Where’er their homeland be!
O God, to us may grace be given,
Who bear the dear Christ’s name,
To live at peace with every man,
And thus our Christ acclaim!
407:1791

Collect for the Day
Almighty God,
From whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed;
Kindle, we pray thee, in the hearts of all men
The true love of peace,
And guide with thy pure and peaceable wisdom
Those who take counsel for the nations of the earth;
That in tranquillity thy kingdom may go forward,
Till the earth be filled with the knowledge of thy love;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. [475:260:542:Bishop Francis Paget (1851-1911)]

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