Re the Daily Office Readings 3/30/2020

The Daily Office Readings of the Episcopal Church (USA) are available at a number of websites including Mission St Clare ( as part of Morning Prayer.

What’s the Church for, anyway? I ask because Paul introduces a new word, “building up” into his argument (vv. 3, 5, 12, 26). And “building up” is usually for something. In our first reading it’s the Exodus; in the New Testament it’s… Well, Presiding Bp. Curry talks about the Jesus Movement (; a sort of Exodus 2.0.

If something on that scale is the project, it’s important that Moses and Aaron work well together, that the folk in Corinth use their gifts in ways that build the church up, that the disciples stop arguing about who’s the greatest.

Paul’s argument about tongues and prophecy is, I think, more broadly about the difference between gifts that primarily benefit me (tongues) and those that primarily benefit those around me (prophecy). So Paul wants me to pay attention. Yes, I enjoy using my gifts. But am I using them in ways that best equip my community for its work?

BTW, Exod. 4:24-26 has long been a puzzle to interpreters. Propp in his Anchor Bible commentary (1999) may have made some progress. Here’s his summary: “Although Yahweh commands Moses to return to Egypt (4:19), he still holds him accountable for the death of the Egyptian. Zipporah sheds the blood of their son and dabs Moses’ penis with it, thereby expiating her husband’s sin.” Why’s that important? It’s easy to misread Exodus in a nationalistic way (Hebrews good, Egyptians bad). Here, on the eve of the exodus, that murdered Egyptian’s blood (2:11-12) is so important to God that God jeopardizes the whole project—until Zipporah finds a resolution.

1 thought on “Re the Daily Office Readings 3/30/2020

  1. Mary Ann Fraley

    Boy! I sure wasn’t ready for that part about the foreskin! First of all, on their way God meets Moses and tries (and fails??) to kill him?? And what possessed Zipporah to do what she did? What was she thinking?? I’ve read the Bible umpteen times and somehow managed to miss that whole scene. It makes better sense the way you explain it, but still… And by the way, my translation says “feet”. It’s not quite so shocking that way…


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