The hidden gems of the Apocrypha

I use the Daily Office reading in the Book of Common Prayer 2019, which will take me through the vast majority of the Bible every year. It will also include readings from the Apocrypha.

The Anglican Church doesn’t put the Deuterocanonical Books on the “inspired” level of the 39 Old Testament and 27 New Testament books of the “Protestant” Bible, but there is useful reading in those pages. Which is why I find myself in the Book of Judith right now. (A summary is HERE.)

Several years ago I took a prayer retreat at a monastery in Duluth, MN which was attached to the University of St. Scholastica. I was always invited to their prayers before meals, so I joined them for prayers before supper that particular week. The readings during those prayer times were from the Book of Judith. A group of nuns reading Judith in a prayer time was powerful.

I find myself in parts of this book for my current reading and wanted to share these verses that are relevant for us:

26 Remember what he did with Abraham, how he tested Isaac, and what happened to Jacob while he was in Mesopotamia of Syria, tending his uncle Laban’s sheep? 27 He hasn’t yet tested us with fire, as he did them to examine their hearts, nor has he taken vengeance upon us. Rather, the Lord afflicts those close to him in order to warn them.” (Judith 8:26-27, CEB)

The other thing to keep in mind in reading these books telling stories of Israel: the hero (Judith in this case) often does some wild stuff. She uses her beauty and wit to get in with the enemy king and eventually cut off his head. (NOW you want to read on!)


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