Re the Daily Office Readings August 4 Anno Domini 2020

Photo by Balaji Malliswamy

The Readings: Judges 7:1-18; Acts 3:1-11; John 1:19-28

Plenty to wonder about in today’s readings.

Judges: one of the challenges in the story is how to make God’s action visible (“You have too many people on your side. If I were to hand Midian over to them, the Israelites might claim credit for themselves rather than for me, thinking, We saved ourselves.” [CEB]). To play—shamelessly—with Gideon’s jars (vv.16, 19f), “But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us” (2 Cor. 4:7 NRS). What does this suggest for interpreting our own experiences of weakness?

Another challenge: Gideon’s lack of confidence. Here God’s humility is on full display: one would think that God’s word would be more impressive than an enemy conversation about a dream, but if what Gideon needs is the latter, God accommodates. This humility shows up often enough that we might wonder why it’s not more prominent in our descriptions of the divine character.

Acts: there were various non-risky ways Peter could have responded to the lame beggar. But this is the Peter who, in the middle of a storm no less, said to Jesus “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water” (Matt. 14:28). “…in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.” In our context (COVID 19, again), what might Jesus desire to heal?

John: a cautionary story re the importance of asking the right questions. The folk from Jerusalem have their set questions—and the entire conversation is an exercise in talking past each other.

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