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

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Abomination: Bible Comment on Ezekiel 8 with poem by T.S. Eliot, Choruses from The Rock

Daily Readings
Psalm 81, Judges 3:7-31, Ezekiel 8, Tobit 2

Daily Text: Ezekiel 8

An abomination is ‘whatever would profane the People of God by taking away their consecrated character’ [503:123]. In Ezekiel 8 the motivation for these abominations is to drive the LORD from his sanctuary (vs. 6), and in this chapter the abominations recorded all take place within the Jerusalem temple. Closer inspection reveals a number of violations against the person of God. the intent in relationship with YHWH is that those who love and honor him have an immediate experience of his presence. anything that degrades or overlays that possibility is idolatry. Here there are
• Synchretistic elements from other religions
• Political overtones in the Egyptian and Babylonian cult worship
• Worship of the creature rather than the Creator
• Deliberate disobedience

In our own time these violations occur routinely and are no less an abomination before our Lord Jesus Christ.
• Liturgy that calls attention to itself rather than to God
• Posturing that makes human concerns a focus, e.g., fetishes, eulogies, inclusiveness, separateness
• Political and nationalistic praises quite common during elections and on national holidays, eg., national hymns, patriotic songs, flag observance
• Celebrations of a programmatic nature that may include fundraisers, recognition of people, events, passage of time, buildings, congregational meetings, announcements, etcetera.
• Styles of leadership that call attention to the liturgist rather than the LORD

Anything that interferes with the immediate realization of the presence of God in our lives and our communal worship may itself be idolatrous.

Choruses from “The Rock”
T. S. Eliot

The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven,
The Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit.
O Perpetual revolution of configured stars,
O perpetual recurrence of determined seasons,
Of world of spring and autumn, birth and dying!
The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to God.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.

I journeyed to London, to the timekept City,
Where the River flows, with foreign flotations.
There I was told: we have too many churches,
And too few chop-houses. There I was told:
Let the vicars retire, men do not need the Church
In the place where they work, but where they spend their Sundays.
In the City, we need no bells:
Let them waken the suburbs.
I journeyed to the suburbs, and there I was told:
We toil for six days, on the seventh we must motor
To Hindhead, or Maidenhead.
If the weather is foul we stay at home and read the papers.
In industrial districts, there I was told
Of economic laws.
In the pleasant countryside, there it seemed
That the country now is only fit for picnics.
And the Church does not seem to be wanted
In country or in suburbs; and in the town
Only for important weddings.

Collect for the Day
Father, forgive our foolish ways, and feed us always with that living bread which is given for the life of the world, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. [476:815:81 Psalm prayer]


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