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 22, 2006

The Promise of Vision: Habakkuk 2 with anonymous poem, He Cometh Late

Daily Readings
Sirach 34, Ezra 1, Habakkuk 2, I Esdrus 2:1-15

Daily Text: Habakkuk 2

The Promise of Vision
After the prophet’s complaint in chapter one, he waits by his watchpost to see what God’s response will be to his criticism. And he doesn’t watch long before God comes to him again and promises a vision for the appointed time, a vision of the end time. Habakkuk is to write it down and wait for it.

The crux of Habakkuk 2 is the promise of a vision. It is the vision that claims the faithful. That one is not ‘fainthearted’ for he will walk in its light and live by its faithfulness [cf. 531:104]. On the other hand, the arrogant wealthy (vs. 5) will be treacherous, will ultimately not succeed and will himself be overthrown, a laughingstock and subject to those he formerly oppressed. Wait for the vision of YHWH, then, for it is substantive and worth making the centerpiece of one’s life, for the LORD is in his holy temple! Waiting for him to act is no sign of the LORD’s absence. The vision itself is the subject of the final oracle in chapter 3.

He Cometh Late
Author Unknown


The strings of camels come in single file,
Bearing their burdens o’er the desert sands.
Swiftly the boats go plying on the Nile—
The needs of men are met on every hand,
But still I wait
For the messenger of God who cometh late.

I see a cloud of dust rise on the plain.
The measured tread of troops falls on my ear.
The soldier comes, the empire to maintain,
Bringing the pomp of war, the reign of fear.
But still I wait
For the messenger of God who cometh late.

They set me watching o’er the desert drear,
Where dwells the darkness, as the the deepest night;
From many a mosque there comes the call to prayer—
I hear no voice that calls on God for light.
But still I wait
For the messenger of God who cometh late.
377:638

Collect for the Day
Save us while waking, and defend us while sleeping, that when we awake we may watch with Christ, and when we sleep we may rest in peace.

[286:102:328 Antiphon at Compline]

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