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, June 09, 2006

Never Again: Bible Comment on Ezekiel 10 with poem by Aldous Huxley, The Burning Wheel

Daily Readings
Sirach 18:1-29, Judges 5, Ezekiel 10, Tobit 4

Daily Text: Ezekiel 10

Never Again
Here the scribe fires the city with coals taken from the wheelworks of the visions we saw in chapter one. But the issue to be focussed upon is not the conflagration, but one might say the ‘putting out of the fire.’ For the fire of God, the glory of God, the presence of God is departing, and here in Ezekiel 10 it is described while in Ezekiel 9:3 it was only noted. From the time of Moses following the giving of the Torah and the building of the Ark of the Covenant, the glory or presence of the LORD had dwelled in the holy of holies (cf. Exodus 25:8). Now the glory of the LORD departs never to rest in the sanctuary again. There will be a Second Temple built by Herod, but never again will the Divine Presence reside in this place, never again will the tablets of stone be present, never again will death and life live within the confines of human construction. The next habitation of God in created form will be the incarnation itself in the person of Jesus.

The Burning Wheel
Aldous Huxley

Wearied of its own turning,
Distressed with its own busy restlessness,
Yearning to draw the circumferent pain—
The rim that is dizzy with speed—
To the motionless centre, there to rest,
The wheel must strain through agony
On agony contracting, returning
Into the core of steel.
And at last the wheel has rest, is still,
Shrunk to an adamant core:
Fulfilling its will in fixity.
But the yearning atoms, as they grind
Closer and closer, more and more
Fiercely together, beget
A flaming fire upward leaping,
Billowing out in a burning,
Passionate, fierce desire to find
The infinite calm of the mother’s breast.
And there the flame is a Christ-child sleeping,
Bright, tenderly radiant;
All bitterness lost in the infinite
Peace of the mother’s bosom.
But death comes creeping in a tide
Of slow oblivion, till the flame in fear
Wakes from the sleep of its quiet brightness
And burns with a darkening passion and pain,
Lest, all forgetting in quiet, it perish.
And as it burns and anguishes it quickens,
Begetting once again the wheel that yearns—
Sick with its speed—for the terrible stillness
Of the adamant core and the steel-hard chain.
And so once more
Shall the wheel revolve till its anguish cease
In the iron anguish of fixity;
Till once again
Flame billows out to infinity,
Sinking to a sleep of brightness
In that vast oblivious peace.

Collect for the Day
Make me remember, O God, that every day is your gift and ought to be used according to thy command, through Jesus Christ our Lord. [475:256:533]


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