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

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Calendar: Bible Comment on Leviticus 23 with poem by Rose Emma Collins, The Tabernacle

Daily Readings
Psalm 55, Numbers 2, Leviticus 23, Matthew 1

Daily Text: Leviticus 23

The Calendar
The most complete biblical discussion of the festival calendar in Israel is found in Leviticus 23. Three other shorter calendars are described in Exodus 23:14-18, 34:18-25 and Deuteronomy 16:1-16. In those passages only three of the festivals are mentioned, here we have a half dozen.
Passover or Pesech, the 14th of Nisan
The Harvest Festival, determined by first crop
The Feast of Weeks, likewise determined by first crop

The Day of Remembrance, 1st of Tishri
The Day of Atonement, 10th of Tishri
The Festival of Booths, 15th of Tishri
The six festivals fall neatly into two divisions, the first all related to Pesech in the first month of the year,i.e., Spring, and the second related to the religious New Year (Remembrance) and falling in the seventh month, the Fall of the year..

But calendars are not determined alone by festivals. There are other concepts like days, weeks, months, and years. The day has through the centuries been seen as beginning at different times.. This discussion relies on Plaut (185:920) as to the history and the nature of these ordered time periods. It is thought that originally the civil day began and ended at sunrise. Some time later, it began and ended at sunset (the biblical view, generally) and today it begins and ends at midnight by the clock.

In all historical discussion there is required a starting point for time and like that of the day, time’s referent point has changed from time to time.
• The Greeks counted from the first Olympiad 776 B.C.E.
• The Seleucid era began in 312 B.C.E. with the beginning of the Greco-Syrian Empire.
• The Creation of the world was picked by the Jews and set at 3710 B.C.E. (note that history and civilization did begin about 4,000 B.C.E.)
• Christians began to date from the birth of Christ, year 1 (B.C., Before Christ and A.D., Anno Domino, in the year of the Lord), not a beginning point, but a center point, suggesting that Christ is the focal point of history. (Webster states that A.D. should precede the year and B.C., when used, should follow its year.)

The Tabernacle
(Leviticus 23:33-43)
Rose Emma Collins

Let us build to the Lord of the earth in each place
The Tent, which His glorious presence will grace.
‘Twill be hallowed with light that descends from on high,
Where the prayers and the praises are heard thro’ the sky,
‘Tis the time when the beauty of earth is fulfilled,
And the stars all look down on the Tent that we build;
When the moon in her robing of silver attire,
Approaches in silence, the sun’s crimson fire!
All the splendour of heaven, the beauties of earth,
Exult in the love that has given them birth!
The boughs of thick trees with their leaves all entwine,
Round the delicate stems of the Myrtle and Vine;
The Palm trees are clasping the Willows with joy,
A rapture that death cannot change or destroy;;
Each tree that was bearing its fruit o’er the land,
Owes renewal of life, to the One mighty hand!
Its exquisite beauty enchanting our sight,
One thought has created, for taste and delight.
Choice flowers in manifold colours and scent,
Adorn the frail walls of the gorgeous built tent;
Where “showers of blessings” from promise divine,
Replete with His mandates, eternally shine!
Now twilight glides gently o’er trees, fruit and flower;
And fragrant the breath of the exquisite bower.
The lamps that were burning, are fast growing dim,
While angels have enter’d, and chant a soft hymn;
‘Tis the music of heaven! their voices ascending,
In tones most celestial, with praises are blending.
The trees are all trembling with joy, and the Rose
Has awaken’d to see where the angels repose;
But they folded their wings all impervious thro’ night,
And vanish’d ere dawn spread her roseate light!

Collect for the Day
God of grace, when we are frightened and alone, help us to trust you and cast our burdens upon you, that we may be upheld by your saving strength. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. [476:776:55 psalm prayer]


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