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, November 15, 2006

In the New Age: II Esdras 5:21-6:34 with poem by Gertrude Ryder Bennett, These Times

Daily Readings
Psalm 134, Nehemiah 9:38-10:39, II Esdras 5:21-6:34, Revelation 3

Daily Text: II Esdras 5:21-6:34

In the New Age
Prayer and fasting at the beginning of each of these visions, as in II Esdras 5:21-6:34, is an apocalyptic preparation for the divine revelation [539:136]. As he completes his seven days of fasting and prayer, Ezra renews his questioning of the Most High. And he does so by rehearsing the many natural metaphors God has used for his people and then asking, why it is that after choosing so specifically this one people God turns Jacob over to the many nations for punishment rather than administering discipline personally? Uriel, while not named in this vision, is the archangel who speaks for God.

Uriel: You’ll never understand Ezra. You are not suggesting are you, that you love Israel more than the Creator does?

Ezra: But if I can not understand there is no reason for living.

Uriel: Sorry, in the end God will discipline and judge personally, as in the beginning he created without intermediate cause.

Ezra: If so, why have the intermediate period? Why did you not create everyone at once and judge sooner?

Uriel: Because there is in creation a natural order of beginning and development and because the earth could not hold everyone from all generations at once, that is, there is an ecological necessity built into my universe.

Ezra: Then, how can everyone be judged at the end? What makes that different? And if there must be different ages, how can they be recognized?

Uriel: There are different ages, but they are seamless. As Jacob’s hand on Esau’s heel, so it will be in the Messanic age with the Messiah’s hand on Rome’s heel. Both Esau and Rome continue simultaneously with the beginning of the new age, but in the end evil will be blotted out and truth revealed more effectively than the giving of the Torah changed forever the way the world experienced the LORD. This is so, because in the new age human hearts will be changed.

These Times
Gertrude Ryder Bennett

Our motors pierce the clouds. They penetrate
The depth of oceans. Microscopes reveal
New worlds to conquer, while we dedicate
Our intellects to strength of stone and steel.
We are as proud as those who built a tower
To reach to heaven. Recklessly we rear
Our lofty Babels, arrogant with power.
How dare we boast of cities while we hear
The nations groping through the dark along
The road of life? What right have we for pride
Till Truth is steel, and Faith is iron-strong,
Till God and man are working side by side?
Then let our prayers and labors never cease;
We act the prologue of a masterpiece.

Collect for the Day
God our creator and redeemer, give us grateful hearts and willing hands, that we may worthily praise your name and build your kingdom among all people, to the glory of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.

[476:891:134 Psalm prayer]


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