Master, that I might see . . .

Sunday 28 October 2012
Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 25B (RCL)
Job 42:1-6, 10-17
Psalm 34:1-8, 19-22
Hebrews 7:23-28
Mark 10:46-52

Anyone who has heard me preach for any period of time, knows that the story of the healing of Blind Bartimaeus is one of my favorite Gospel stories. But, I’ll try not to let it monopolize this post!

The reading from Job, especially the inclusion of the prose conclusion to the book almost deflates the power of the poetry that has come before it. Job gets double back on everything. If that is the way the world always worked, we’d but up with sufferings all the time (echoes of Jesus’ promise to Peter that we’ll get back a hundredfold with persecutions). But sometimes the world doesn’t work that way. Some people Continue reading “Master, that I might see . . .”

Out of center

21 October 2012
Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 24B (RCL)
Job 38:1-7, 34-41
Psalm 104:1-9, 25, 37b
Hebrews 5:1-10
Mark 10:35-45

Throughout the book of Job, Job has been asking for an audience with God. He intends to prove his righteousness before God and especially to his friends. Well, here at last, God shows up and gives Job his audience. Poets, commentators, theologians and ordinary people have always felt God’s response to Job somehow inadequate. Job suffers. God blusters. And significantly, the book does not answer the question, “Why do good people suffer?” I would argue Continue reading “Out of center”

. . . with persecutions.

14 October 2012
Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 23B (RCL)
Job 23:1-9, 16-17
Psalm 22:1-15
Hebrews 4:12-16
Mark 10:17-31

The passage from Job assigned for this week occurs near the middle of the book. All three of Job’s friends have spoken, and said essentially the same thing — they assume Job has sinned that he is suffering so much, and accuse him of either forgetting the sin or covering it up. They urge him to acknowledge his sinfulness, which comes just with being human, and ask for God’s good favor. Job insists on his own righteousness, and then admits that he cannot find God. All of us have been in Job’s shoes here (if I turn to the left, I do not see God, to the right and God is not there). Of course Continue reading “. . . with persecutions.”

Widening the circle

7 October 2012
Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 22B (RCL)
Job 1:1; 2:1-10
Psalm 26
Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12
Mark 10:2-16

We have several troubling readings this week. Right of the bat, Job presents us with the problem of God “allowing” Satan to harass Job. Much ink has been spilled over the problem presented by this book. Archibald McLeish wrote the play J.B. Robert Frost explored the story in his “A Masque of Reason.” Rabbi Kushner wrote When Bad Things Happen to Good People as a commentary on the book of Job. So, why does God allow these things? I think the prefatory story is meant as something of a joke. Job had 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen and 500 she-asses before Satan got a hold of him. Really? At the end of the story, God restores to Job 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen and 1,000 she-asses. Really? So Continue reading “Widening the circle”