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, December 28, 2006

A Certain Readiness: Malachi 1 with poem by Thomas Curtis Clark, Malachi, The Messenger

The Feast of the Holy Innocents

Daily Readings
Psalm 124, I Maccabees 13, Malachi 1, Matthew 2:13-18

Daily Text: Malachi 1

A Certain Readiness
Malachi is often thought of as a continuation of the emphases of the second part of Zechariah (chs. 9-14). Each employs the unusual heading of ‘oracle’, a message or burden of the Lord’s imminent coming to judge the world, and the whole world does seem to be in mind. Malachi 1 clearly picks up on this theme as he deals with priests who are offering blemished animals as sacrifices and thus despising and defiling the Lord’s name. Malachi then goes on to claim in verse 11 that in other nations across the world the name of the Lord is celebrated as they are about to offer a pure offering, a fragrant one for His name. The use of the impassive suggests a certain readiness, rather than completion of said offerings (cf. 529:230). This use of the impassive may be understood in view of Malachi’s soon-coming intervention by the Lord. The LORD has been clear about his love for Israel, and his openness to love for the other nations. This is more clearly worked out in the Christian testament, but prefigured here.

Malachi, The Messenger
Thomas Curtis Clark

Of Judah and her treachery he spake
The messenger of God. On tables vile
Her priests made tainted offerings
And every law of truth and good they brake.
To foreign gods they turned, and pagan vice
Was seen among the people whom God loved.
But there would come a messenger with wrath
Upon his lips. Their heartless sacrifice
Should burn as by a grim refiner’s fire.
And they should be redeemed! And God would bless.
No longer would he curse their offerings,
But as father give them food. His ire
At last should pass, and he, the mighty God,
Would smite the spoilers from his sacred sod.

Collect for the Day
We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by King Herod. Receive, we pray, into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

[BCP:238 The Holy Innocents]


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