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, July 21, 2006

Culling for a Remnant: Bible Comment on Zephaniah 3 with poem by Howard Arnold Walter, I Would Be True

Daily Readings
Psalm 34, I Samuel 21, Zephaniah 3, Romans 9

Daily Text: Zephaniah 3

Culling for a Remnant
All of the keen, descriptive language of the human condition is employed in Zephaniah 3 to describe the sullied city of Jerusalem. The city that because of its pugnacious and treacherous leaders does not listen, does not accept correction, does not trust and does not draw near to the LORD. This leadership is characterized by officials that openly pounce on their weaker prey, judges that under cover of darkness (and their judicial duty) act as ‘evening wolves’ doing what the officials do openly. Prophets are faithless and treacherous and the priests profaned the sacred, doing violence to the Torah, and all of this in contrast to a blameless LORD who gives judgement in the light of day. The LORD’s solution is to remove this leadership and the people like them, culling for a remnant of those who do listen, accept discipline, trust and draw near to the LORD. One of his actions is to change impure speech for pure speech, speech that reflects no mixed messages, no lies, i.e., clear, singular communication. And finally, there is a call for celebration, celebration in which the LORD joins. Sometimes insisting on inclusiveness appears self-defeating. It does reflect one side of God’s will, but it also neglects God’s will.

I Would Be True
Howard Arnold Walter

I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
I would be pure, for there are those who care;
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.
I would be friend of all—the foe, the friendless;
I would be giving, and forget the gift,
I would be humble, for I know my weakness,
I would look up, and love, and laugh and lift.

Collect for the Day
Hear us, Lord, when we cry to you. Calm our bodies and minds with the peace which passes understanding, and make us radiant with the knowledge of your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Saviour. [476:746:34 Psalm prayer]


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