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

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bible Comment on Ezekiel 47:1-12 with poem by James Montgomery, The Earth is Full of God's Goodness: River of Life

Daily Readings
Psalm 151, I Samuel 17:1-54, Ezekiel 47:1-12, Romans 5

Daily Text: Ezekiel 47:1-12

River of Life
Flowing out from the ‘podium’—the standing place of God [503:582], a spring issues water that comes out of the South gate flowing east toward the Jordan Rift and ultimately into the Dead Sea. Again, in chapter 47:1-12 Ezekiel is led by the man from God who measures the river with a cord, 1000 cubits at a time. Within 3600 feet of the temple the water is up to his knees. With another 3600 feet it would have to be swum, otherwise one could not cross. Wherever the water flowed life throve. The banks became lined by fruit-bearing trees, the Dead Sea gave up its salt and boasted a large variety of fish equal to that of the Mediterranean Sea. John in the Revelation quoted this passage in 22:1-2 and there the rivers of life flowed likewise from the heavenly throne room and the presence of God. O what a vision Ezekiel had, for this is assuredly part of his original vision. Contributions to it may have come from Genesis 2 and the river that flowed from the Garden of Eden. Whatever God is doing in Israel at this time, this vision is meant to draw a portrait of life and health and the availability of universal salvation. We too are invited to be part of Eden.

The Earth is Full of God’s Goodness
James Montgomery

If God hath made this world so fair,
Where sin and death abound,
How beautiful, beyond compare,
Will paradise be found!

Collect for the Day
How fresh, O Lord, how sweet and clean
Are thy returns! ev’n as the flowers in spring;
To which, besides their own demean,
The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring.
Grief melts away
Like snow in May,
As if there were no such cold thing.

Who would have thought my shrivel’d heart
Could have recover’d greennesse? It was gone
Quite under ground; as flowers depart
To see their mother-root, when they have blown;
Where they together
All the hard weather,
Dead to the world, keep house unknown.

These are thy wonders, Lord of power,
Killing and quickning, bringing down to hell
And up to heaven in an houre;
Making a chiming of a passing-bell.
We say amisse,
This or that is:
Thy word is all, if we could spell.

O that I once past changing were,
Fast in thy Paradise, where no flower can wither!
Many a spring I shoot up fair,
Offring at heav’n, growing and groning thither:
Nor doth my flower
Want a spring-showre,
My sinnes and I joining together:

But while I grow in a straight line,
Still upwards bent, as if heav’n were mine own,
Thy anger comes, and I decline:
What frost to that? what pole is not the zone,
Where all things burn,
When thou dost turn,
And the least frown of thine is shown?

And now in age I bud again,
After so many deaths I live and write;
I once more smell the dew and rain,
And relish versing: O my onely light,
It cannot be
That I am he
On whom thy tempests fell all night.

These are thy wonders, Lord of love,
To make us see we are but flowers that glide:
Which when we once can finde and prove,
Thou hast a garden for us, where to bide.
Who would be more,
Swelling through store,
Forfeit their Paradise by their pride.

George Herbert, 1593-1633
[489:125:July 3]


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