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 24, 2006

Patterns: Bible Comment on I Chronicles 2 with poem by Alicia Ostriker, The Story of Abraham

Daily Readings
Wisdom of Solomon 12, I Samuel 23:1-28, I Chronicles 2:3-55, Romans 11

Daily Text: I Chronicles 2:3-55

Patterns
The genealogies of Scripture bore our contemporaries, yet it was not always so. “According to Plato, when Socrates asked the famous sophist Hippias, ‘What are the subjects that the Spartans gladly hear from you?’ Hippias replied:
They listen with the greatest pleasure to the genealogies of their heroes and men, to the settlement of tribes, and how cities were founded of old and, in a word, to everything concerning antiquarian knowledge. (Plato, Hipp. mai. 285d) [515:245].

One’s family determined many of the possibilities an individual possessed in the ancient world. Being the son of the ‘right’ parents guaranteed nothing, but it made possible many things. The Romans and the Greeks are examples of societies consumed by interest in genealogies. All Mediterranean peoples were more interested than we.

The genealogies are of two kinds, segmented and linear. Segmented genealogies relate more than one member of a single ancestor to each other, while a linear genealogy follows a line of descent from one ancestor to a particular descendent through several generations. Whether establishing Jesus’ connections to David, Judah and Abraham in Matthew 1, or the sons of Noah to Adam, the first man, in I Chronicles 1, this pattern of genealogical work establishes historical and family connections.

In I Chronicles 2 we have a segmented genealogy that expands Judah’s descendants leading to David. For the Chronicler, Judah was the pre-eminent ancestor among the twelve sons of Jacob. From the beginning, from Adam to Seth, we can see the Chronicler making choices. Seth is Adam’s third son and the only one mentioned because the Chronicler is intent on a story related to the promise of God for a people. It is Seth, as it is Shem, one of Noah’s three sons, that leads to Abraham and David, and as Christians, we would say, Jesus.

The Story of Abraham
Alicia Ostriker

I started by reading the banner headline
The way you read the big print at the eye doctor’s.
It said I AM THE LORD GOD
ALMIGHTY AND I LOVE YOU
ESPECIALLY.
No problem. Very good.
One line down it said PACK UP,
I’M SENDING YOU OVERSEAS. It said
YOU WILL HAVE AS MANY CHILDREN
AS THERE ARE SANDS IN THE SEA
AND STARS IN THE SKY.
THEY WILL POSSESS THE LAND AND
I AM PERSONALLY GOING TO BLESS THEM.
The smaller print said: I am going
To bless them as long as they obey me.
Otherwise there may be
Certain repercussions. The even smaller
Print explained how we needed
A memorable logo for our organization
And he had just the ticket, a mark of absolute
Distinction, it would only hurt for a minute.
The print kept getting smaller and blurrier,
The instructions more bizarre.
Hold on, I interrupted. I’d like to check
Some of this out with my wife.
NO WAY. THIS IS BETWEEN US MEN.
AND IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE THINKING
ABOUT LOOPHOLES
FORGET IT. It said they preferred
Not to use strongarm techniques. It said
BEAR IN MIND, FRIEND,
YOU’VE ALREADY SIGNED ON.

[509:23]

Collect for the Day
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[BCP 815:3:For the Human Family]

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