Re the Daily Office Readings September 2 Anno Domini 2020

The Lessons: Job 12:1; 14:1-22; Acts 12:18-25; John 8:47-59

Job. Job’s speech combines a number of themes, the major one being that human life is too ephemeral for God to worry about. “…look away from them, and desist, that they may enjoy, like laborers, their days.”

Out of a very different context Kundera wrote “We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold. And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself? That is why life is always like a sketch. No, ‘sketch’ is not quite the word, because a sketch is an outline of something, the groundwork for a picture, whereas the sketch that is our life is a sketch for nothing, an outline with no picture” (The Unbearable lightness of being). Does all of this just get swept away with the Doctrine of the Resurrection?

Acts. The slapstick comes to an abrupt end: “When Herod had searched for him and could not find him, he examined the guards and ordered them to be put to death.” Later, in Philippi, when an earthquake frees Paul and Silas in another prison: “When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted in a loud voice, ‘Do not harm yourself, for we are all here’” (16:27-28). So the apostles learned something from Peter’s experience?

In vv.20-23 Luke affirms (celebrates?) a direct connection between Herod’s impiety and his appalling death. Is the world a better place when God meets and sometimes exceeds our expectations? Is Herod a stand-in for Luke’s expectations for other officials (in this life or the next)?

John. Both Jesus and the crowd are attacking. Is Jesus’ appeal to his not seeking glory another attempt to give the crowd reason to believe that will make sense to them? It’s hard to over-emphasize the importance of character in arguments, whether then or now.

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