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

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Paradigm for Disaster: Bible Comment on Joel 1 with story by A. Taylor, A Riddle for a Locust

Daily Readings
Psalm 89:1-18 II Samuel 14:34-15:12 Joel 1 Hebrews 11

Daily Text: Joel 1

Paradigm for Disaster
While some commentators have suggested Joel’s four part description of the locust as developmental stages, biological research does not bear this out, at least not with any finite accuracy. Better to think in terms of different locust behaviors seen in such a plague. However, one writes of it, the reality must be horrible. The loss of all agricultural viability throughout a region would bring down upon the inhabitants an end to hope, an end to religious life dependent upon sacrifices, an end to leisure, an end to joy. Combine with it drought and the outlook is grim indeed. So terrible is it that Joel sees it as a paradigm for the Day of the Lord, the very definition of all that is frightening.

A Riddle for a Locust
A. Taylor

A curious Algerian tale relates how Satan looked at the world God had created and said he could have done better. God heard him and gave him the power to endow with life whatever he might create. As Satan wandered about, he saw a noble animal proudly lifting its graceful head in a meadow. “I shall take this horse’s head,” said he, and ordered a servant to carry it to hell. Farther on, the gentle eye of an elephant caught his fancy. He admired the long, curving horns of a herd of antelopes as they were running in a ravine. When he saw a bull fighting a lion, he chose the bull’s neck and the lion’s breast. “What more do I need he said to himself, and meeting a camel, he took its strong thighs, and then, the splendid legs of an ostrich. “What do I need now?” he said, and sought out the scorpion in the hot stones of the desert. From it he took its stomach. “Shall the creature of my making be damned to crawl on the earth? No! I wish it to have the wings of an eagle.” And he shot an arrow at the king of birds and took its wings. “Now to work,” said Satan. He spent a long time fitting these bits of animals together. Some were too clumsy, others were too small. He filed and sawed, cut and patched so diligently that at the end of the hundred years granted him only a tiny creature lay in his hands. He blew on it and gave it life. “Well, what have you said God. “There is the result of my skill,” Said Satan. “Is that then your handiwork? O Satan! As a sign of your weakness may this creature multiply on earth and teach men that there is no God but God.” Satan departed in confusion, and since then locusts have flourished in Arabian lands.

Collect for the Day
We humbly beseech thee, O Father, mercifully to look upon our infirmities; and, for the glory of thy Name, turn from us all those evils that we most justly have deserved; and grant that in all our troubles we may put our whole trust and confidence in thy mercy, and evermore serve thee in holiness and pureness of living, to thy honor and glory; through our only Mediator and Advocate, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen



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