Following up on yesterdays post on the use of Sirach in the lectionary, today, I would like to take a look at the use of another book from the Apocrypha and its use in the lectionary. The book of Baruch is used twice in the three year lectionary:
Baruch 3:9-4:4 (Easter Vigil ABC)
Baruch 5:1-9 (Advent 2C)
Hear, Israel, the commandments of life.
Listen carefully, and you’ll come to know Wisdom.
Why is it, Israel, that you are in the enemies’ land,
growing old in a foreign land,
polluted by the dead,
and counted as people
already in the grave?
You have abandoned the fountain
from which wisdom flows.
If you had walked in the way of God,
you would be living in peace forever.
Learn where there are wisdom, strength, and understanding
so that you may know at the same time
where there are longevity, life, understanding, and peace.
Who has found her place of residence,
and who has entered
Where are the leading officials
of the nations
and the masters of the animals
that are on the earth?
Where are those who entrap
the birds in the sky,
and those who store up silver and gold, in which humans have trusted?
There is no end to their attempts
to acquire more.
Where are those who anxiously schemed to acquire silver?
There is no trace of their actions.
They have all vanished
and gone to the grave,
and others have risen up in their place.
New generations have seen the light
and lived on the earth,
but they didn’t know
the way of knowledge.
They didn’t understand her paths
or take hold of her.
Their children also went far off course.
She hadn’t been heard of in Canaan
or seen in Teman.
who seek earthly understanding,
the traders of Merran and Teman,
the storytellers and knowledge seekers,
haven’t learned the way of Wisdom,
nor have they remembered her paths.
Israel, how great is God’s house
and spacious is God’s domain!
It is great and has no end;
it is high and immeasurable!
The giants were born there,
the famous ones
from the beginning of time,
who were very large
and experts in war.
God didn’t select them or give them
the way of true knowledge.
So they perished
because they didn’t have Wisdom;
through their carelessness.
Who went into heaven, took Wisdom,
and brought her down from the clouds?
Who crossed over to the other side of the sea and found her,
and who will bring her back
with choice gold?
No one knows the road she takes
or thinks much about
the path she travels.
But the one who knows all things
God found her by his understanding;
the one who made the earth
for time eternal,
and filled it with four-footed animals;
the one who sends the light
and it shines forth;
who called it
and it obeyed him with trembling.
The stars shone at their appointed posts and were delighted.
God called them,
and the stars said, “Here we are.”
They shone joyfully
for the one who made them.
This is our God.
No other will be compared to him.
God discovered every way of knowledge
and gave her to his child Jacob,
to Israel, whom he loved.
After this, she appeared on the earth
and lived among humans.
She is the scroll containing God’s commandments,
the Law that exists forever.
All who hold on to her will live,
but those who desert her will die.
Jacob, turn and grab on to her.
Travel toward the rays
coming from her light.
Don’t give your honor to another
or your advantages to a foreign nation.
Israel, we are blessed
because we know
what is pleasing to God.
Take off your mourning clothes
and oppression, Jerusalem!
Dress yourself in the dignity
of God’s glory forever.
Wrap the justice that comes from God around yourself like a robe.
Place the eternal one’s glory
on your head like a crown.
God will show your brilliance everywhere under heaven.
God will give you this name
by which to be called forever:
The Peace That Comes from Justice,
The Honor That Comes
from Reverence for God!
Get up, Jerusalem!
Stand on the high place,
and look around to the east!
See your children gathered
from the west to the east
by the holy one’s word,
as they rejoice that God has remembered them.
They went out from you on foot,
driven along by their enemies,
but God will bring them back to you,
carried aloft with glory
as on a royal throne.
God has ordered every high mountain and the eternal hills
to be brought down,
and the valleys to be filled in
to level the ground
so that Israel may walk safely
in God’s glory.
The woods and every fragrant tree
have shaded Israel
with God’s command.
God will lead Israel with gladness
by the light that shines forth
from his glory,
with the mercy and righteousness
that come from him.
What stands out to you about these texts? Feel free to share your thoughts on the text.
I don’t know about you, but I would love to hear one of these texts preached used in conjunction with the other texts for the day!