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

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Eyes of God: Bible Comment on Zechariah 4 with poem by Thomas Moore, The Glory of God in Creation

Feast of St. Matthew

Daily Readings
Proverbs 3:1-6, II Kings 5, Zechariah 4, Matthew 9:9-13

Daily Text: Zechariah 4

The Eyes of God
The Fifth Vision in Zechariah 4 accomplishes two purposes: the Lord’s involvement with the temple rebuilding, and a clarification as to who does what. The LORD’s presence is characterized by the eyes of the LORD represented in the seven ‘eyes’ of each lamp. Evidently, each lamp had seven apertures for wicks. When lit they could be conceived as being lighted eyes. These ‘eyes’ of the LORD were looking out on the whole earth, but from the temple in Jerusalem. Enveloped in the middle of the vision, verses 6b-10a, is an oracular defense of Zerubbabel’s role in laying the foundation and completing the temple. Presumably, the high priest Joshua has been challenging Zerubbabel’s right to this role and the LORD is setting him straight through Zechariah’s vision. One is able, thus far, to see the critical role played by Zechariah in this entire building process both of the temple and this reconstituted people fresh from exile. “What are you oh great mountain?” If this is a reference to Joshua, then the answer is plain. “Before Zerubbabel you (Joshua) shall become a plain…. Moreover, ….the hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it. Then you (Joshua) will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you” [528:24-4]. This oracular insertion is not meant to diminish Joshua. Within the vision, verse 14, Joshua and Zerubbabel are seen as co-equal and necessary to the LORD’s fulfilling his will, one the high priest and the other the Davidic governor. They are the sons of oil, the sons of blessing, the sons of plenty filling out the divine purpose and presence. That is, they fill the lamps metaphorically which become both the presence and the ‘eyes’ of God.

The Glory of God in Creation
Thomas Moore
1779-1852

Thou art, O God, the life and light
Of all this wondrous world we see;
Its glow by day, its smile by night,
Are but reflections caught from Thee.
Where’er we turn, Thy glories shine,
And all things fair and bright are Thine!

When day, with farewell beam, delays
Among the opening clouds of even,
And we can almost think we gaze
Through golden vistas into heaven—
Those hues that make the sun’s decline
So soft, so radiant, Lord! are Thine.

When night, with wings of starry gloom,
O’ershadows all the earth and skies,
Like some dark, beauteous bird, whose plume
Is sparkling with unnumber’d eyes—
That sacred gloom, those fires divine,
So grand, so countless, Lord! are Thine.

When youthful Spring around us breathes,
Thy Spirit warms her fragrant sigh;
And every flower the Summer wreathes
Is born beneath Thy kindling eye:
Where’er we turn, Thy glories shine,
And all things fair and bright are Thine!
407:8

Collect for the Day
Almighty God,
who through your Son
called Matthew to be your apostle and evangelist,
free us from all greed and selfish love,
that we may follow in the steps of Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

[476:423:St. Matthew]

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