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

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Pathos of Lonliness:II Esdras 16 with anonymous hymn, Hymn from Qumran

Daily Readings
Psalm 148, Daniel 1, II Esdras 16, Revelation 14

Daily Text: II Esdras 16

The Pathos of Lonliness
Chapter 16 of II Esdras encompasses calamities or tribulations that will come to the entire Roman Empire, and later in the reading, to the people of God. For those nations that are ungodly, there is no escape. Death will be so widespread that individuals will long to see another human being, will long to simply hear a voice other than their own.

For the people of God these same calamities will be visited upon their heads partly because they fear the Lord. And the Most High recommends that they sit loose with their usual vocational pursuits, for no outcome will be predictable as long as these disasters continue. Regardless of their provocation they are to be steadfast in their belief in the Lord, and above all they are not to deny their iniquity. The Lord knows the thoughts and intentions of their hearts for he made them. And any denial of sin will call down upon them his anger. Rather, admit sin, and steadfastly put it away in service to God. In that way God will see them through this difficult time.

Written late in the 3rd century this Christian tract recalls for both Christians and Jews the need to put God first and to trust in his promises.

Hymn from Qumran
transl by G. Vermes

‘The torrents of Satan shall reach
to all sides of the world.
In all their channels
a consuming fire shall destroy
every tree, green and barren, on their banks;
unto the end of their courses
it shall scourge with flames of fire,
and shall consume the foundations of the earth
and the expanse of dry land.
The bases of the mountains shall blaze
and the roots of the rocks shall turn
to torrents of pitch;
it shall devour as far as the great Abyss.’

Collect for the Day
Blessed are you, Lord our God, creator of heaven and earth; you open our eyes to see the wonders around us, and our hearts and mouths to praise you. Now give us strength for loving service, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

[476:908:148 Psalm prayer]


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