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

Monday, October 23, 2006

Vision of Mercy: Habakkuk 3 with poem by William Broome, Habakkuk's Prayer

Feast of St. James of Jerusalem

Daily Readings
Sirach 35, Acts 15:12-22, Habakkuk 3, Letter of Jeremiah

Daily Text: Habakkuk 3

Vision of Mercy
In Habakkuk 3 resolution of all of the questions, all of the tension between God’s intentions and the prophet’s understanding, comes about. YHWH gives Habakkuk the vision of his mercy towards Judah. He realizes that it will not be immediately experienced, but it will come.

The vision is of God’s coming in wrath (vss.3-15) against the oppressing nations. Even those nations incidental to his wrath will be terrified at that coming; even the natural world is convulsed. This is a vision of direct intervention, YHWH entering history and making changes. “Victory over chaos was the theophany, par excellence.” [531:149].

So affected is the prophet by the terribleness of God’s coming that he trembles, loses his strength and finally quietly accepts God’s intentions as experienced in the vision (vs. 16). He goes on to make a vow of trust even though he knows that there will be no outward sign of God’s salvation (vss. 17, 18), and then in the final verse his confidence in God’s promise soars almost to ecstasy. What a difference from his fears in 1:2! This vision pales in contrast to God’s intervention in Jesus. How much more should we be able to trust and rest confidently in God’s promise through Jesus!

Habakkuk’s Prayer
William Broome

Yet though the fig-tree should no burden bear,
Though vines delude the promise of the year;
Yet though the olive should not yield her oil,
Nor the parched glebe regard the peasant’s toil;
Though the tired ox beneath his labors fall,
And herds in millions perish from the stall!
Yet shall my grateful strings
Forever praise Thy name,
Forever Thee proclaim
The everlasting God, the mighty King of kings.

Collect for the Day
Grant, O God, that, following the example of your servnt James the Just, brother of our Lord, your Church may give itself continually to prayer and to the reconciliation of all who are at variance and enmity; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

[BCP 245 Saint James of Jerusalem]


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