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

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Not With A True Heart: II Chronicles 25 with poem by Kabir, If Thy soul is a Stranger to Thee

Daily Readings
Sirach 20, II Kings 14, II Chronicles 25, Jeremiah 33

Daily Text: II Chronicles 25

Not With a True Heart
The line between ‘doing right’ and doing so ‘with a true heart’ is in Amaziah’s case, in II Chronicles 25, a blurred one. Perhaps he did what was ‘right’ for a Judean king in popular culture, but not with a true heart. It was evidently that this was so early on, for he made fatal errors from the beginning. Examples are those of the Ephramite mercenaries, killing his fathers conspirators, executing as many Edomites as were slain in the Valley of Salt, and embracing the gods of his defeated enemy. Piqued by the marauding of the Ephramites while he is in Seir, Amaziah challenged his more powerful Israelite neighbor. Joash obviously had no desire to fight with him. In fact he uses an amusing story to discourage Amaziah. He speaks of the thorn bush that wants to marry his daughter to the son of the lordly cedar. The implication is obvious. Amaziah is a thorny scrub to be smashed by any wandering animal. Affronted, Amaziah insists and meets Israel’s army at Beth-shemesh within Judah’s borders. Nations that intend to win battles do not fight within their own borders if they can avoid it. Evidently, once he had provoked Joash into meeting him ‘face to face’, Amaziah dawdled, while Joash lost no time in mobilizing the troops necessary to defeat his overconfident opponent. Amaziah was captured, Jerusalem was savaged and looted. Although the king survived to rule for many years, he did not survive the conspiracy that grew up around him ready to avenge his departure from the faith of his fathers.

If Thy Soul is a Stranger to Thee
Kabir

Translated from the Hindi by Rabindranath Tagore and revised by Robert Bridges

I laugh when I hear that the fish in the water is thirsty.
Perceivest thou not how the god is in thine own house,
that thou wanderest from forest to forest so listlessly?
In thy home is the Truth. Go where thou wilt, to Benares
or to Mathura;
if thy soul is a stranger to thee, the whole world is
unhomely.
513:32:30

Collect for the Day
Help us to return, our Maker, to Your Torah; draw us near, O Sovereign God, to Your service; and bring us back into Your presence in perfect repentance.

[471:63]

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