Re the Daily Office Readings September 11 Anno Domini 2020

Photo by Taylor Smith

The Lessons: Job 29:1; 31:24-40; Acts 15:12-21; John 11:30-44

If Job is useful as a Voters’ Guide (yesterday’s post), it’s equally useful (challenging) as a mirror: how lightly I hold my possessions, what I wish for my enemies, my generosity, my earthkeeping… (It’s more than a little puzzling that Old Testament saints like Job do not appear in the Episcopal Calendar. He’s celebrated May 6 in most Orthodox calendars, May 10 in the Roman.)

Acts. What’s the basis for James’ decision, specifically vv. 20 (“but we should write to them to abstain only from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from whatever has been strangled and from blood”)? Commentators generally look to the “Noachian precepts” (binding on all as per Gen 9:4-6) or to the laws covering non-Israelites resident in Israel in Lev 17-18. In either case, (1) Moses’ law is assumed to be in full force, the issue being its interpretation, and (2) a sort of two-track arrangement (Jewish and Gentile believers) is envisioned. Between the destruction of Jerusalem and Gentile arrogance such arrangements turned out to have a very short shelf life.

John. Jesus weeps before Lazarus’ tomb. But, as John tells the story, Jesus had delayed responding to Mary and Martha’s news of Lazarus’ illness. Jesus: “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Later: “Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” God’s glory and belief: John certainly and perhaps Jesus give these greater weight than we readers might. Something to ponder.

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