L’Chaim!

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

Psalm 118 (Morning)
Psalm 145 (Evening)
2 Kings 20: 1-21
Acts 12:1-17
Luke 7:11-17
 


L’Chaim!

If you’ve ever seen Fiddler on the Roof or heard the soundtrack, you can probably hum along (or maybe dance along!) with the most upbeat number in the score, L’Chaim, which literally means “to life!” (“Chai” is the Hebrew word for “alive.)

Well, don’t all of today’s readings have a “l’chaim” feel to them? In 2 Kings 20: 1-21, the Lord hears aged Hezekiah’s death-bed plaint and agrees to add 15 years to his life. (I’m always a bit taken with stories about Hezekiah since at birth I was almost named “Hezekiah Amos” after a pair of great uncles in my family’s past.) In Acts 12: 1-17, an angel of the lord leads Peter to an astonishing escape from prison and, no doubt, certain death—the same fate that had just fallen on James and John. In Luke 7: 11-17, Jesus raises the son of the widow of Nain from the dead, one of three instances of his doing so recounted in scripture.

Did all three of these miraculous events really take place? I’ll leave that question to Biblical scholars and let the literalists and the figuralists hash it out. To me, all three readings resonate with the notion that the ever-present love of God and the example of Jesus Christ can always breathe life into us, no matter how old, imprisoned, or dead we feel.

And for that reason, I will sing with joy the refrain from Psalm 118: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
 


Written by David Jolliffe

After growing up in the Methodist Church, David discovered the Anglican Tradition when he was studying at Oxford in 1972, and he was confirmed as an Episcopalian not long after he returned to the U.S. At St. Paul’s, he loves singing in the choir, serving as senior warden, and chairing the Tippy McMichael Speakers’ Series.

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