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, April 18, 2006

Remembering: Bible Comment on Deuteronomy 8 with poem by Rudyard Kipling, Recessional

Daily Readings
Psalm 65, Numbers 14, Deuteronomy 8, Matthew 13

Daily Text: Deuteronomy 8

The beauty of Deuteronomy 8 is a singular beauty. Its parallel thoughts and ideas of remembering and forgetting, of wilderness and Promised land, of human provision vs. divine grace dot the landscape of this ‘tightly constructed literary work of art’ [494:174]. The much loved people of Israel might have free will (5:29), but God also has the freedom to remind in reverential detail the benefits of recollected obedience and the terrors of forgetful narcissism. He reminds them that he has led forty years in the wilderness to humble and test what was in their hearts (vss. 2, 16). Would they or would they not learn to trust and obey the LORD? He fed them with manna, allowed their clothes to grow with them and to last for forty years, keep their feet from swelling in those deserts sands, all to show his love and purpose. Miracles these, no explanations as to how God did them. Even the knowledge that there is a kind of manna produced by two types of sucking insects (homopterans) from the tamarisk bush in the semi-arid regions of the Sinai wilderness (494:175) provides no explanation. For, even if that were the manna, it is produced at a maximum to the total of 600 pounds over a period of six weeks in the whole Sinai Peninsula. Obviously, not enough, not long enough, not available as needed for the whole people for 40 years! God’s provision must be taken on trust, and even then ‘one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD’ (8:3). There is this reminder also that the wealth that the LORD has promised will not be gotten by your own efforts. It comes from the God. Remembering and not forgetting is forever enjoined.

Recessional 1
Rudyard Kipling

God of our fathers, known of old—
Lord of our far-flung battle line—
Beneath Whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart—
Still stands Thine ancient Sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire—
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe—
Such boasting as the Gentiles use
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard—
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard—
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!
1Written on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s Diamond jubilee, June 1897

Collect for the Day
Lord God, joy marks your presence; beauty, abundance, and peace are the tokens of your work in all creation. Work also in our lives, that by these signs we may see the splendour of your love and praise you through Jesus Christ our Lord. [476:786:65 psalm prayer]


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