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, September 11, 2006

Rest For Ten Years: Bible Comment on II Chronicles 14 with poem by Huw Menai, In Our Time

Daily Readings
Sirach 3:1-29, I Kings 17, II Chronicles 14, Jeremiah 16

Daily Text: II Chronicles 14

Rest For Ten Years
Is there anything so remarkable, to those of us who have not embraced the military ethic, as the historical evidence for the continuous attack of one nation state upon another? Stretching back into an infinity of time, this behavior continues today as incessantly as ever. In II Chronicles 14 there is this amazing declaration “In his days the land had rest for ten years.” Ten years! Ten years free of war, not free of preparing for war, but ten years free of actual defending or attacking. Asa was at least cognizant that “the land is still ours because we have sought the LORD our God; we have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side” (14:7) Imagine that. One wonders whether others of the people of Israel and Judah would not have discovered the same thing if they had sought the LORD with their whole heart? Then instead of having this image of a God who pursued war we might have had an image of a God who pursued peace. For surely the God of the Christian testament reveals himself as one who desires peace, no matter how bloodthirsty His followers.

Ethiopia has a million men in arms against Judah’s 580,000. Once again the numbers seem suspect, however, the ratios are a clear 2:1. And the LORD gives the victory. The idea in 14:13 that the entire army is killed is exaggerated [524:390]. The Hebrew says simply that they were crushed so that recovery was not possible.

In Our Time
Huw Menai
contemporary Welsh miner

No holy pointer, no unchanging Light
Where Evil wars with Virtue, foul with fair,
Dusk with the dawn—a world of black and white
Mixing itself into a grey despair?

When shall this strife between the Nations cease?…
During our pilgrimage this side the tomb
Life shall be storm, the world shall know not peace
Until within all hearts Christ finds a home!
407:1797

Collect for the Day
God send that there may be an end at last; God send that there may be peace again. God in heaven send us peace.

[476:228 Diary of Hartich Sierk, a peasant (1628)]

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