Re the Daily Office Readings September 3 Anno Domini 2020

Constable, after Raphael

The Lessons: Job 16:16-22; 17:1, 13-16; Acts 13:1-12; John 9:1-17

“Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.’” Perhaps Jesus is talking only about this man. Perhaps Jesus is talking about what it means to be human: a sort of stage on which God’s works are seen. Read as the latter, multiple connections with today’s other readings. Job: the arguments (chs. 4-27) are over just what divine works are being seen! In the arguments all the participants are a potential stage, and what is seen is as much a function of who is seeing as what God is doing.

While in John Jesus gives a man sight, in Acts Paul takes a man’s sight. (Commentators notice echoes of Paul’s blinding on the Damascus road [Acts 9].) As in the previous Herod story, “God’s works” are clear and satisfying to those who share Job’s friends’ commitments (“God’s justice now!”). Luke describes Paul as “filled with the Holy Spirit.” Paul, who will later write “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them,” (Rom. 12:14) delivers a scathing accusation followed by an announcement (curse?). The Holy Spirit, on board with Paul’s speech and action, or simply unwilling to leave Paul hanging?

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