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

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Lord's Inheritance: Bible Comment on Zechariah 1:18-2:13 with poem by Christopher Smart, Jubilate Agno

Daily Readings
Sirach 9:17-10:31, II Kings 3, Zechariah 1:18-2:13, Jeremiah 23

Daily Text: Zechariah 1:18-2:13

The Lord’s Inheritance
The horns of the vision have much to do with might and power and may well be seen as phallic images of male virility. This author believes that the phallic nature of the horn fits most if not all of the biblical references to horns from even the most ancient passages. In Zechariah the horns are constructed of metal and it requires blacksmiths to alter their shape even to severing them from the headdress or whatever construction held them together, scattering them to the periphery of national and international power.

Beginning in verse 6 there is a continuation, or perhaps an addendum to the third vision. In some detail, the prophet is given to understand that the LORD will simultaneously punish the nations and then call them to become part of the people of God with Jerusalem as their center. The LORD will be in their midst, but far from Judah becoming less important, they will become more important. Israel was taken from Egypt and given the Promised Land as their inheritance. In parallel fashion Judah will be the LORD’s inheritance, his portion of the holy land, and he will elect Jerusalem once again as the place where his Name will dwell. By their repentance and their obedience, the people of Judah bequeath the LORD his inheritance. What a marvelous understanding of the nature of the God-human relationship.

Come then in silence before this One who rouses himself in Jerusalem from his holy dwelling, in the midst of his people.

from Jubilate Agno
Christopher Smart

For I prophesy that we shall have our horns again.
For in the day of David Man as yet had a glorious horn upon his forehead.
For this horn was a bright substance in colour and consistence as the nail of the hand.
For it was broad, thick and strong so as to serve for defence as well as ornament.
For it brightened to the Glory of God, which came upon the human face at morning
prayer.
For it was largest and brightest in the best men.
For it was taken away all at once from all of them,
For this was done in the divine contempt of a general pusillanimity.
For this happened in a season after their return from the Babylonish captivity.
For their spirits were broke and their manhood impaired by foreign vices for exaction.
For I prophesy that the English will recover their horns the first.
For I prophesy that all the nations in the world will do the like in turn.
For I prophesy that all Englishmen will wear their beards again.
For a beard is a good step to a horn.
For when men get their horns again, the will delight to go uncovered.
For it is not good to wear any thing upon the head.
For a man should put no obstacle between his head and the blessing of Almighty God.
For a hat was an abomination of the heathen. Lord have mercy upon the Quakers.
For the ceiling of the house is an obstacle and therefore we pray on the house-top.
For the head will be liable to less disorders on the recovery of its horn.
For the horn on the forehead is a tower upon an arch.
For it is a strong munition against the adversary, who is sickness and death.
For it is instrumental in subjecting the woman.
For the insolence of the woman has increased ever since man has been crest-fallen.
For they have turned the horn into scoff and derision without ceasing.
For we are amerced of God, who has his horn.
For we are amerced of the blessed angels, who have their horns.
For when they get their horns again they will put them upon the altar.
For they give great occasion for mirth and music.
For our Blessed Saviour had not his horn upon the face of the earth.
For this was in meekness and condescension to the infirmities of human nature at that
time.
For at his second coming his horn will be exalted in glory.
For his horn is the horn of Salvation.
For Christ Jesus has exalted my voice to his own glory.
For he has answered me in the air as with a horn from heaven to the ears of many people.
For the horn is of plenty.
For this has been the sense of all ages.
For Man and Earth suffer together.
For when Man was amerced of his horn, earth lost part of her fertility.
For the art of Agriculture is improving.
For this is evident in flowers.
For it is more especially manifest in double flowers.
For earth will get it up again by the blessing of God on the industry of man.
For the horn is of plenty because of milk and honey.
For I pray God be gracious to the Bees and Beeves this day.
395:459

Collect for the Day
Father in heaven! You speak to us in many ways. Even when you are silent, you still speak to us, in order to examine us, to try us, and so that the hour of our understanding may be more profound.
Oh, in the time of silence, when I remain alone and abandoned because I do not hear your voice, it seems as if the separation must last for ever. Father in heaven! It is only a moment of silence in the intimacy of a conversation. Bless then this silence, and let me not forget that you are silent through love, and that you speak through love, so that in your silence and in your word you are still the same Father, and that you guide and instruct even by your silence.

[489:162:September 7 Soren Kierkegaard, 1813-1855]

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