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

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Remarkable Obedience: Haggai 1 with poem by John Chagy, Haggai

Daily Readings
Sirach 37, Ezra 3:1-4:5, Haggai 1, I Esdras 5:47-73

Daily Text: Haggai 1

Remarkable Obedience
The text of Haggai 1 is self explanatory. What is remarkable is that Haggai gives this warning in August/September of 520 after several years of living back in Jerusalem. Three weeks later, after the harvest, the people all turn out to begin the re-building of the temple in earnest. This is remarkable obedience from the rulers in the city to the peasant in the field. God rejoices and gives them his imprimatur, the word that God will be with them. Everyone is joyful, encouraged and active.

John Chagy

Shealtiel, governor of Judah,
And Jehozadak, his friend, the high priest,
Had no time for prophecies. But their sons,
Zerubbabel and Joshua, listened,
And there was fear in their hearts as Haggai
Admonished them. “Your fathers say the time
Has not yet come to build the second Temple,
Therefore the Lord has kept the heaven back.
The drought upon the land has starved the cattle,
Withered the fig-tree, dried the pomegranate.
Your hands are calloused and weary with labor
Yet your wives and little ones go hungry.
The Jews run every man for his own house
And so are scattered, weak and separate
Even in Jerusalem, without a Temple.
Last night I heard the Lord of host again,
He bade me stir your hearts to build His House.
Then in a dream I saw the Temple site;
The Temple stood there on that highest hill
More glorious than any of our buildings.
From within I heard the sound of pipes and oboes,
Trumpets, harps, shofars, cymbals and singers—
The leader had the sweetest voice in Israel.
The Lord appointed me His messenger
To urge you land the remnants of the people
To consider your ways and hearken unto the Lord.
And from the day the Temple’s completed
The acorn and vines and olive-trees shall blossom
And in this land there shall be peace again.
Israel’s one home is in the House of the Lord.”

Collect for the Day
God of mercy, God of grace,
teach me to hold my will attentive
in the liberty thou gavest me,
that I may will with thee to do thy will
as thou dost show it me;
draw me to respond to thee
in each separate occasion of the passing time
that when the vanities of earth are passed
I may remain for ever
in the loving rhythm of thy everlasting peace.

[286:87:261 Fr. Gilbert Shaw, 1886-1967]


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