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, May 26, 2006

Letters of Peace: Bible Comment on II Maccabees 11 with poem by Nancy Byrd Turner, Let Us Have Peace

Daily Readings
Proverbs 26, Joshua 16, II Maccabees 11:1-12:1, Ephesians 5

Daily Text: II Maccabees 11

Letters of Peace
The appearance of the heavenly visitor with Maccabeus and his troops undid Lysias and his 80,000-100,000 man force. It was not simply the heavenly visitor, for the Judean troops certainly did their part, but it was by all accounts, a rout. The experience for Lysias convinced him that the Jews were invincible because God fought with them. So both sides were convinced, the one to their heartening, the other to their discouragement. Out of this experience, recorded in II Maccabees 11, came a kind of peace promulgated by Lysias, put in force by Antiochus V, who was a child-king mentored by his guardian, Lysias, and accepted by the Romans. Four letters of peace attest to the negotiations that ensued.

Let Us Have Peace
Nancy Byrd Turner

The earth is weary of our foolish wars.
Her hills and shores were shaped for lovely things,
Yet all our years are spent in bickerings
Beneath the astonished stars.

April by April laden with beauty comes,
Autumn by Autumn turns our toil to gain,
But hand at sword hilt, still we start and strain
To catch the beat of drums.

Knowledge to knowledge adding, skill to skill,
We strive for others’ good as for our own—
And then, like cavemen snarling with a bone,
We turn and rend and kill….

With life so fair, and all too short a lease
Upon our special star! Nay, love and trust,
Not blood and thunder shall redeem our dust.
Let us have peace!

Collect for the Day
May I be no man’s enemy, and may I be the friend of that which is eternal and abides.
May I never quarrel with those nearest me: and if I do, may I be reconciled quickly.
May I love, seek, and attain only that which is good.
May I wish for all men’s happiness and envy none.
May I never rejoice in the ill-fortune of one who has wronged me.
When I have done or said what wrong, may I never wait for the rebuke of others,
but always rebuke myself until I make amends.
May I win no victory that harms wither me or my opponent.
May I reconcile friends who are angry with one another.
May I, to the extent of my power, give all needful help to my friends and all who are in
May I never fail a friend who is in danger.
When visiting those in grief may I be able by gentle and healing words to soften their
May I respect myself.
May I always keep tame that which rages within me.
May I accustom myself to be gentle, and never by angry with people because of
May I never discuss who is wicked and what wicked things he has done, but know good
men and follow in their footsteps.
[489:58:March 7 Eusebius, 3rd century]


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