Re the Daily Office Readings August 29 Anno Domini 2020

Photo by Richard Lee

The Lessons: Job 9:1; 10:1-9, 16-22; Acts 11:1-18; John 8:12-20

Job. How to offer commentary without sounding like a misbegotten version of Job’s friends? Perhaps one way of respecting the text is to let it inform our daily use of the psalms, the plurality of which hold similar unexplained suffering before God.

Acts. The recurrent issue of whether/how the Gentiles are to be incorporated into the church is not our issue. But far from being irrelevant, it invites (compels?) us to reflect on how we do theology/do multicultural. Peter’s “You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile” (10:28) and the critique of “those of the circumcision”: these are issues on which non-Christian Jews disagreed among themselves (see Gary Gilbert’s notes to Acts 10 in The Jewish Annotated New Testament). And Gentile Christians, once they had leverage, used that leverage in a variety of helpful and unhelpful ways. My identity: centered in Jesus, or Jesus playing a supporting role for other more important identities? And that’s a question that can be asked properly only in the first person.

John. How does the Father testify? Raymond Brown offers a helpful list, summarizing 5:31-39: “John the Baptist; the works of Jesus; the abiding word of God in the hearts of the audience; the Scriptures.” These works of Jesus (the “signs”): we might wonder: do they succeed, and how might that success be measured? (This is perhaps a question to take up again when reading 12:36b-43.)

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