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

Friday, April 28, 2006

Discovering the Truth: Bible Comment on Deuteronomy 18 with poem by George Eliot, Life's Purpose

Daily Readings
Psalm 72, Numbers 24, Deuteronomy 18, Matthew 22

Daily Text: Deuteronomy 18

Discovering the Truth
Discovering the truth was no settled matter for the ancients. The surrounding nations had a dozen ways to do it. Deuteronomy 18 prohibits all of them. Israel could have chosen to come directly to God as the nation of priests they were meant to be, but says Moses, at Horeb the people begged off from that responsibility and the LORD offered to appoint Moses as the first of a succession of prophets who would become both the mouth (word) and the eyes (vision) of God for the people. Their only responsibility was to determine which prophets were from the LORD and to follow completely the word and insight of the true prophet. Once the Torah was written down it became much easier, because they had priests, scribes and eventually rabbis who could interpret what was in line with the Torah and what was not. Likewise, we today have that resource plus that of the practice of the Church for 2100 years. Still, we do not always agree, while attempting to remain utterly loyal or wholehearted toward the LORD our God (Deuteronomy 18:13). The Chasidics had five verses that allowed them to sort through to agreement.
• “You must be wholehearted with the Lord your God” (Deut. 18:13).
• “I have set the Lord always before me” (Ps. 16:8)
• “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18)
• “In all your ways acknowledge Him” (Prov. 3:6)
• “To walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8)
In Hebrew, the opening letters of these verses form (an acrostic for) the word repentance 185:1472) Perhaps if we embrace these in our practice, then our disagreements may be experienced in love.

Life’s Purposefrom “A Minor Prophet”
George Eliot

The earth yields nothing more Divine
Than high prophetic vision—than the Seer
Who fasting from man’s meaner joy beholds
The paths of beauteous order, and constructs
A fairer type, to shame our low content…

The faith that life on earth is being shaped
To glorious ends, that order, justice, love,
Mean man’s completeness, mean effect as sure
As roundness in the dew-drop—that great faith
Is but the rushing and expanding stream
Of thought, of feeling, fed by all the past.
Our finest hope is finest memory….

Even our failures are a prophecy,
Even our yearnings and our bitter tears
After that fair and true we cannot grasp;
As patriots who seem to die in vain
Make liberty more sacred by their pangs.

Collect for the Day
O God, bring our nation and all nations to a sense of justice and equity, that poverty, oppression, and violence may vanish and all may know peace and plenty. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. [476:798:72 psalm prayer]


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