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

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Sixth Vision: II Esdras 13 with poem by John Oxenham, The Coming Day

Daily Readings
Psalm 145, Esther 8.1-12, Addition E, 8.13-17, II Esdras 13, Revelation 11

Daily Text: II Esdras 13

The Sixth Vision
The sixth vision of II Esdras 13 is that of the dramatic appearance of the Messiah, Son of the Most High, rising out of the sea. As the depths of the sea cannot be plumbed so the mysteries of the Messiah likewise cannot be known before he is revealed. When his voice is heard by the warring nations, they stop fighting each other, unite and come as a mighty force to make war with the figure of the man. He calmly cuts out a mountain, Mt. Zion, the new Jerusalem prepared and fully built, and standing upon it raises no weapon of war against his adversaries. However, he reproves the assembled nations for their ungodliness with a storm full of sparks, reproaches them for their evil thoughts with his flaming breath and destroys them without effort by means of the fiery torah, the teaching of God. They are burnt to cinders.

This figure like a man then summons the ten lost tribes of Israel, here called the nine tribes, the former Northern Kingdom, to come back from the land to which they had trekked in order to live according to the statutes of God they had failed to follow in Samaria. In addition there seem to be Jews already within the borders, presumably southern kingdom Jews, and a host of others captive Jews and converted Gentiles. This a vision of fulfillment of all that the Hebrew people had ever hoped for. Note also that it reflects a Jewish understanding of the Messiah that could explain much of the misunderstanding surrounding Jesus in his own time. For here the Messiah, though not unlike Jesus in character, is very unlike him in exercised power.

The Coming Day
John Oxenham


Beyond the war-clouds and the reddened ways,
I see the Promise of the Coming Days!
I see His Sun arise, new charged with grace
Earth’s tear to dry and all her woes efface!
Christ lives! Christ loves! Christ rules!
No more shall Might,
Though leagued with all the Forces of the Night,
Ride over Right. No more shall Wrong
The world’s gross agonies prolong.
Who waits His Time shall surely see
The triumph of His Constancy;--
When without let, or bar, or stay,
The coming of His Perfect Day
Shall sweep the Powers of Night away;--
And Faith, replumed for nobler flight,
And Hope, aglow with radiance bright,
And Love, in loveliness bedight,
Shall greet the morning light!

Collect for the Day
Almighty God, give us grace to know you more and more, that knowing we may love and loving we may praise, that the whole world may hear your name and worship you, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

[476:905:145 Psalm prayer]


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