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 10, 2006

The Second Temple: Bible Comment on Ezekiel 41 with poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson, We Love the Venerable House

Daily Readings
Psalm 107:1-32, I Samuel 10:1-27a, Ezekiel 40:1-41:4, John 19

Daily Text: Ezekiel 40:1-41:4

The Second Temple
On the twenty-fifth year of his exile, April 28, 573, Ezekiel is transported within a vision to Mount Zion where he views the outlines of a new temple. Moses was given such a plan for the tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant and David was given written instructions by the hand of God for what became known as Solomon’s Temple. Now Ezekiel, in chapter 40 is entrusted with a plan for the Second Temple. He is to focus determinedly, to look closely, to listen attentively and declare to the people what God has proposed. How difficult it is for us to do any of these things when it comes to those we love, much less the commands of God.

The dimensions of the temple are incredible—the inner court and the temple proper are each 100 long cubits square. The outer court is as long. A cubit is generally the measurement from one’s elbow to the tips of the fingers—about 18 inches. Add to that four inches, the width of the hand, for a long cubit and a cubit measures roughly 22 inches. So 100 cubits is roughly 183 1/3 feet! These are pretty big spaces surrounded by walls 11 feet thick and perforated by gates over 90 feet through and over 18 1/3 feet wide. God’s house is to be proportionate to divine dimensions, for there one may meet God.

We Love the Venerable House
Ralph Waldo Emerson

1803-882

We love the venerable house
Our fathers built to God;
In heaven are kept their grateful vows,
Their dust endears the sod.

Here holy thoughts a light have shed
From many a radiant face.
And prayers of humble virtue spread
The perfume of the place.

And anxious hearts have pondered here
The mystery of life,
And prayed th’ Eternal Light to clear
Their doubts and aid their strife.

They live with God, their homes are dust;
Yet here their children pray,
And in this fleeting life-time trust
To find the narrow way.
407:1602

Collect for the Day
Almighty and Holy Spirit, the comforter, pure, living, true—illuminate, govern, sanctify me, and confirm my heart and mind in the faith, and in all genuine consolation; preserve and rule over me that, dwelling in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, I may be and remain forever in the temple of the Lord, and praise him with a joyful spirit, and in union with all the heavenly Church.
Philip Melanchthon, 1497-1560 [489:148:August 6]

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