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

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Cup of Reeling: Zechariah 12:1-13:1 with poem by William Cowper, The Fountain

Daily Readings
Isaiah 60, I Maccabees 9, Zechariah 12-13:1, Luke 19

Daily Text: Zechariah 12-13:1

The Cup of Reeling
Baldwin [529:188] follows Lamarche in seeing this passage as poetic prose with little figures of speech related to each like the ‘the cup of reeling’ and the stone that cannot be lifted. The oracle itself requires the remainder of the book. In Zechariah chapter 12 the LORD is seen as the creator of the whole earth and he makes Jerusalem a cup of reeling, i.e., a source of inebriation for all of the surrounding nations that for some reason besiege the holy city en masse. Judah is part of this, caught up in the siege that ensues. Jerusalem is likened to a heavy stone that though the nations cooperate in trying to lift, all find themselves with hernias! Then in verse 4 there seems to be a cavalry charge and the LORD blinds the horses and drives the riders mad with the exception of warriors of Judah. Somehow Judah sees that Jerusalem’s strength is coming from the LORD, and they quietly change sides joining in the defense of Jerusalem. Like a blazing pot in a thicket they destroy their erstwhile allies right and left. The LORD allows Judah this victory so that she can join with Jerusalem as an equal partner and not be dominated by the city’s defenders. Meanwhile, the LORD seeks to destroy the other nations.

And now, beginning in verse 10, there is a curious matter that is almost impossible to sort out. Following Baldwin [529:194], a spirit of compassion and I suspect repentance is given to the house of David and the people of Jerusalem for one they have killed, pierced actually, one who is somehow related to the LORD himself. This was obviously a premeditated and deliberate killing. Remarkably, this spirit of compassion leads to a fountain of healing and forgiveness being opened on the Day of the LORD, to cleanse the people from this sin and to purify them (13:1).

The Fountain
William Cowper

There is fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, as vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power,
Till all the ransomed church of God
Be saved,--to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith I saw the stream,
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be,--till I die.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing thy power to save;
When this poor, lisping, faltering tongue
Lies silent in the grave.

Lord, I believe thou hast prepared
(Unworthy though I be)
For me a blood-bought free reward,
A golden harp for me!

‘Tis strung, and tuned, for endless years,
And formed by power divine,
To sound in God the Father’s ears
No other name but thine.

Collect for the Day
Almighty and eternal God, who drew out a fountain of living water in the desert for your people, as they well knew, draw from the hardness of our hearts tears of compunction, that we may be able to lament our sins, and may merit to receive you in your mercy.

[286:106:344 Latin, late 14th century]


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