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

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Fear and Dread: Judith 2:28-3:10 with poem by Thomas Curtis Clark, Apparitions

Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude

Daily Readings
Sirach 40, Deuteronomy 32:1-4, Judith 2:28-3:10, Ephesians 2:13-22

Daily Text: Judith 3:28-3:10

Fear and Dread
The result of the campaign is the spreading of fear and dread throughout the region. Now the populace turns out as if welcoming the advent of Holofernes. They offer themselves and everything they have without expressed reservations in unconditional surrender. It seems that he then spares them and their livelihood, but he continues to destroy completely their sacred shrines and religious expressions. Scholars and translators disagree as to whether Holofernes or Nebuchadnezzar ordered that from this time forth the people may worship only Nebuchadnezzar as god [cf. 534:144]. They treated him as a man, even as one man, in 1:11, and now they are being forced to treat him as the one and only god. The sense of the story leads one to assume that since Nebuchadnezzar gave explicit instructions to Holofernes with the admonition that he not depart from the details of his mandate, then Nebuchadnezzar must also be responsible for the religious policy espoused by Holofernes. On the other hand, the reputation of the historical Nebuchadnezzar was always one of leniency towards the gods of conquered lands. It was Antiochus Epiphanes who arrogated to himself divinity. Nonetheless, the results of Holofernes progress toward Jerusalem preceded him and the Jews awaited his coming with fear and trembling, as was true of all their neighbors. Perhaps the religious menace was greater for them than the military, though neither was discounted.

Thomas Curtis Clark

Who goes there, in the night,
Across the storm-swept plain?
We are the ghosts of a valiant war—
A million murdered men!

Who goes there, at the dawn,
Across the sun-swept plain?
We are the hosts of those who swear:
It shall not be again!

Collect for the Day
O God, we thank you for the glorious company of the apostles, and especially on this day for Simon and Jude; and we pray that, as they were faithful and zealous in their mission, so we may with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

[BCP 245 Saint Simon and Saint Jude]


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