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

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Worth of the Wood: Bible Comment on Ezekiel 15 with poem by Catherine of Siena, And From What Source

Daily Readings
Psalm 88, Judges 10:17-11:40, Ezekiel 15, Tobit 9

Daily Text: Ezekiel 15

Worth of the Wood
Israel has for centuries referred to herself as a productive vine coming out of Egypt and filling the promised land with her fruit (cf. Psalm 80). But Israel’s fruit is obedience to the LORD and she has not been obedient. In Ezekiel 15 the prophet compares Israel as a fruitless vine to the mighty trees of the forest. Eichrodt suggests that the trees in the parable may actually be the surrounding nations [503:195]! But fruit is not the point of comparison, but the worth of the wood in a grape vine as compared to the worth of the wood in a great tree. Eichrodt makes the point that Ezekiel takes Israel’s, and the church’s, favorite agricultural metaphor, turns it on its head and makes the point of its uselessness apart from being faithful to the LORD. Understood in this way, the vine has no value at all.

It might be noted here since 15:1-5 is written in poetic form in many translations, that Eichrodt [503:193] clearly contends that there is no poetic structure here. It is strong, simple prose—no flowering structure at all.

And From What Source
Catherine of Siena

And from what source,
O tree—
since of yourself you are dead and barren—
do you get these fruits of life?
From the tree of life—
for unless you are engrafted into him
you would have no power
to produce any fruit at all,
because you are nothing.

Collect for the Day
O Lord, when we are plunged into the darkness of despair, make known t us the wonders of your grace, for you alone are God and from you comes all our help and strength. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. [476:823:88 Psalm prayer]


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