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

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Dance of Prayer and Sacrifice: Bible Comment on I Chronicles 7 with poem from the Persian, Lord, Who Art Merciful

Daily Readings
Psalm 119:145-160, I Kings 9, I Chronicles 7, Jeremiah 8:4-22

Daily Text: I Chronicles 7

The Dance of Prayer and Sacrifice
The results of Solomon’s prayer is direct and immediate. In I Chronicles 7 fire falls from heaven to burn the sacrifice and the temple fills anew with the glory (kabod) of God. It is as if God’s glory displaces all else, everyone else. It is His place indeed. The people respond with our sacred text
The Lord is good
For his steadfast love
Endures forever.

In a personal word to Solomon, the LORD accepts both Solomon’s prayer and his sacrifice. They are inextricably bound. Even today in Christianity we continue to hold them together [cf. Selman 524:337]. Christ’s sacrifice for us and our prayer dance eternally before God—both continue to be necessary. God spells it out to Solomon in a deservedly well-known phrase (vs. 14) that “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” The conditions are clear and are as eternal as the promises. The God-human relationship is always a two-way street, but one so well marked that if we miss the way it is only because of our need to explore every crossroad, every alley, every open door, forgetting the road to God for every secondary and tertiary temptation.

The house of God is important for its value in leading us to repentance, confession, sacrifice (Jesus) and prayer in the circle of like-minded others. The Temple solidified this for all time; the Church continues it without surcease.

Lord, Who Art Merciful
from the Persian;
tr. by Robert Southey
1774-1843

Lord, who art merciful as well as just,
Incline Thine ear, to me, a child of dust.
Not what I would, O Lord, I offer Thee,
Alas! but what I can.
Father Almighty, who hast made me man,
And bade me look to heav’n, for Thou art there,
Accept my sacrifice and humble prayer:
Four things, which are in Thy treasury,
I lay before Thee, Lord, with this petition:
My nothingness, my wants, my sin, and my contrition.
407:120

Collect for the Day
God, as your only Son revealed you still at work in your creation, so through Christ your living Word enable us to know your love and to share it with others. We ask this in his name.

[476:881:119 Psalm prayer]

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