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

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Can Something Holy Be Contagious: Haggai 2 with poem by Thomas Curtis Clark, The Message of Haggai

Daily Readings
Sirach 36, Ezra 2, Haggai 2, I Esdras 5:7-46

Daily Text: Haggai 2

Can Something Holy Be Contagious
Difficult indeed is Haggai 2. What does the prophet mean by his recognition that the new temple falls far short of the old? Obviously, he understands that there are those who remember the Solomonic temple and are completely discouraged about this new replacement. But the word from the LORD is not discouraging; it indicates that the new temple will surpass the old!

Two months later, the prophet is asking what appear to be profound questions related to both the holiness code and the purity code. Can something holy be contagious? He asks the priests for a ruling. “No” came the unequivocal reply. Holiness can only come from the Lord. Can something unclean be contagious? ”Yes,” comes the equally unequivocal reply. So it is with my people and this nation, says the LORD. Well, what does that mean? It apparently means that prior to this day even a holy people could not make holy the temple sacrifices for the temple itself, or what there was of it, was unclean. But from this 18th day of December 520: B.C. it will be different. Why? Because evidently on that day there was a ceremony of consecration for the 2nd temple. Ezra 3:10-13 describes this ritual and the emotional response of the people to it. Some of them still mourned the loss of the old, but the majority rejoiced in the re-founding of the new. With re-consecration, the LORD made the temple and the altar holy and the sacrifices of the people would be from then on considered holy. Not only that, the LORD’s blessing would be poured out upon them continuously. Haggai has become the LORD’s instrument to work his grace on this entire rebuilding effort.

The Message of Haggai
Thomas Curtis Clark

My house lieth waste, saith Jehovah,
And ye live in ceiled houses.
And Zerubbabel the governor heard,
And Josiah the high priest heard,
And the people heard.
Consider your ways, saith Jehovah;
Go up to the mountain and bring wood
And build my house.
Thus spoke Jehovah though Haggai the prophet.
And Zerubbabel and Josiah and the people
Were stirred and did build God’s house.

Then saith Jehovah:
Consider my house as it was
In its former glory.
But be ye strong, O Zerubbabel and Josiah.
I will shake the nations
And the precious things of all the nations
Shall come.
And I will fill this house with glory.
And the latter glory of the place
Shall be greater than the former.
For the silver is mine and the gold is mine.
Be ye strong, O Judah and Jerusalem,
For I have chosen thee.

Collect for the Day
May God in the plenitude of his love pour upon you the torrents of his grace, bless you and keep you in his holy fear, prepare you for a happy eternity, and receive you at last into immortal glory.

[286:172:571 Blessing at the Consecration of Coventry Cathedral]


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