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.

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Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Monday, July 31, 2006

A Future: Bible Comment on I Chronicles 7 with poem by John Henry Newman, The Pillar of the Cloud

Daily Readings
Wisdom of Solomon 18, I Samuel 30, I Chronicles 7, Galatians 2

Daily Text: I Chronicles 7

A Future
Benjamin is dealt with at some length in I Chronicles 7, and more extensively in chapter 8. He along with Judah and Levi are the three most emphasized tribes. But unlike the Deuteronomist, the Chronicler speaks of the other nine tribes as well. Even though Judah, Benjamin and Levi are the predominant tribes in his time, during the Persian period, from the 6th into the 4th century, the Chronicler keeps alive the notion and the tradition of twelve tribes. It is as if he takes from the ancient traditions a vision of the future that is far greater than his present. Genealogies bring alive the past in the present. Their names, their military strength, their relationship to the time of David, and incidents that cover enormous stretches of time from the daughters of Zelophehad in Moses time down into and after the exile. There is the poignant story of Ephraim’s sons raiding the cattle of the people of Gath and being repulsed, all of them being killed. Ephraim’s grief is referenced as well as his efforts to begin a second family.

The genealogy respects the fact that the Northern kingdom of Samaria is also surviving, perhaps not alive and well, but with citizens and some tribal structure. Israel includes both, not simply the Southern remnant. This is a correction to much that we see in the Deuteronomist records of the Kings, Joshua, Samuel and Judges [cf. Knoppers 515:470 ff.]. There is a future.

The Pillar of the Cloud
John Henry Newman

Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home—
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet: I do not ask to see
The distant scene, --one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that Thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will; remember not past years.

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

At Sea, 16 June 1833
[509:68]

Collect for the Day
Almighty God,
you have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless
until they find their rest in you.
May we find peace in your service,
and in the world to come, see you face to face;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

[476:367]

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