Re the Daily Office Readings September 6 Anno Domini 2020

Photo by Mark Timberlake

The Lessons: Job 25:1-6; 27:1-6; Rev. 14:1-7, 13; Matt. 5:13-20

Righteousness is in the spotlight in our first and third readings: Job and his friends argue about its applicability to humans; Jesus calls for a righteousness exceeding that of “the scribes and Pharisees.” If righteousness is a sort of excellence, it may help to recall what excellence in the arts and sports looks like: always learning, seeking to improve, expanding one’s range of awareness, and so regularly thinking/working outside the box. In the Gospel according to Matthew Joseph is the first person identified as righteous (a tsaddiq); an angel helps him understand that being a tsaddiq means handling Mary’s unexpected pregnancy differently. Job is a tsaddiq. But when God finally shows up, it’s not to affirm Job’s status (though that happens too), but to push Job further along his journey of discovery and self-transcendence. Tamar, one of Jesus’ ancestors: her family is badly stuck, her creative and risky strategy gets it unstuck and earns her father-in-law’s verdict “She’s more righteous than I am.” (Read the story!) Our world gets stuck in too many ways. We need more Tamars and Josephs, more tsaddiqim, to get it unstuck.

This coming week we celebrate Kassiani, The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Constance and her companions, Alexander Crummell, and John Henry Hobart, a wonderful variety of tsaddiqim.

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