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.

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Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Victory Banquet: Zechariah 9 with poem by Edward Taylor, Meditation Seventy-seven

Daily Readings
Isaiah 57, I Maccabees 5, Zechariah 9:1-10:2, Luke 16

Daily Text: Zechariah 9:1-10:2

A Victory Banquet
This second part of Zechariah may have been written in pre-exilic times, though no final determination is possible. Some evidence points in that direction and other evidence points later. Zechariah 9 is very hopeful for Israel. Ephraim and Judah are seen as being reunited and used by the Lord in His work. Rather than the nations coming from the north and descending upon Israel, we see God coming from the north and exercising his sovereignty over each nation in turn. First the northern nations in verses 1-4 and then the southern ones in verses 5-8 claim God’s attention. There is no question in the prophet’s mind, the Lord will be victorious and will reclaim all of his people, Gentiles and Jews alike [529:162].

Beginning in verse 9 we see the coming of the messianic king and the result will be peace for Judah and Israel and a consonant cessation of war. He will wield his own people, Judah and Israel, peacefully, but as effectively as if it were war. This king is just and salvation grace is with him. He will ride on the sometimes mount of kings, a donkey, and his dominion shall spread over the entire earth. These were obviously familiar words among the Jews in Jesus day, for they immediately knew and understood their implications when they heard them. Ephraim and Judah will be brought together at a great banquet. The warlike language of the RSV and NRSV does not fit with the total picture here of a victory banquet and peace in city and countryside. Even the weather will cooperate in chapter 10:1 to bring about a new abundance unheard of in war. All of this will be the result of the rule of the Messianic king.

Meditation Seventy-seven
Second Series
Edward Taylor

A state, a state, oh! dungeon state indeed.
In which me headlong, long ago sin pitched;
As dark as pitch; where nastiness doth breed:
And filth defiles: and I am with it ditched.
A sinfull state: This pit no water’s in’t.
A bugbear state: as black as any ink.

I once sat singing on the summit high
‘Mong the celestial choir in music sweet:
On highest bough of paradisal joy;
Glory and innocence did in me meet.
I as a gold-finched nighting-gale, tuned o’er
Melodious songs ‘fore glory’s palace door.

But on this bough I tuning perched not long:
Th’infernal foe shot out a shaft from Hell;
A fiery dart piled with sins poison strong:
That struck my heart, and down I headlong fell:
And from the highest pinnacle of light
Into this lowest pit more dark than night.

A pit indeed of sin: No water’s here:
Whose bottom’s furthest off from Heaven bright.
And is next door to Hell gate: to it near:
And here I dwell in sad and solemn night.
My gold-finched angel feathers dappled in
Hells scarlet dye fat, blood red grown with sin.

I in this pit all destitute of light
Crammed full of horrid darkness, here do crawl
Up over head, and ears, in nauseous plight:
And swinelike wallow in this mire and gall:
No heavenly dews nor holy waters drill:
Nor sweet air breeze, nor comfort here distil.

Here for companions, are fears, heart-aches, grief,
Frogs, toads, newts, bats, horrid hob-goblins, ghosts,
Ill spirits haunt this pit: and no relief:
Nor cord can fetch me hence in creatures coasts.
I who once lodged at Heaven’s palace gate
With full fledged angels, now possess this fate.

But yet, my Lord, thy golden chain of grace
Thou canst let down, and draw me up into
Thy holy air, and glory’s happy place,
Out from these hellish damps and pit so low.
And if thy grace shall do’t, My harp I’ll raise,
Whose strings touched by this grace, will twang thy praise.
395:461

Collect for the Day
Our favourite party-games are…
when we are so happy
that we don’t know what to do with ourselves,
keep your still peace at the centre of our hearts, Lord—please.

[475:197:387]

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