Friday, October 16, 2015

Hebrew Testament text for Sunday 18 October 2015

Job 38:1-7, 34-41                                                            **Stars being born & gaseous nebula                                                 
Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind:
"Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Gird up your loins like a man,
I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements-- surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone
when the morning stars sang together
and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy? "

"Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
so that a flood of waters may cover you?
Can you send forth lightnings, so that they may go
and say to you, `Here we are'?
Who has put wisdom in the inward parts,
or given understanding to the mind?
Who has the wisdom to number the clouds?
Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
when the dust runs into a mass
and the clods cling together?

"Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
when they crouch in their dens,
or lie in wait in their covert? 
Who provides for the raven its prey,
when its young ones cry to God,
and wander about for lack of food?”


God is God. Job is not. This message resounds through sunrise and sunset, the mystery of the ever expanding multiverse, a child laughing, waterfalls crashing, swift sips of ‘ah-hahs,’ a male lion’s bellows, grand humpback whales’ ballad; God is God, We are not.

If I was compelled to extract a singular admonition from the sublime wisdom story of Job it would be this. God is God. We are not. The sooner we get on our knees and admit our complete and utter dependence on God (not to mention unspeakable smallness in the face of all that is) the sooner we may experience the mysterious wisdom and grace of God in us and of us, with us and for us.

In all twelve step recovery programs the first and essential step toward freedom from a particular obsession, compulsion or addiction is for the individual to admit they are not in control, in other words, to get on their knees and surrender to something greater than themselves. Which is the second step in every twelve step program, recognizing there is indeed something greater than oneself. The thing is, not all of us lose our freedom to drugs, alcohol, sex, food or gambling. Some of us lose our freedom to ideas or images about ourselves; we are righteous, dutiful, smart, law abiding, altruistic, successful, philanthropic even holy… the list is endless. 

Although we are not God, we are not other than God either. As long as we get on our knees and like Job, never stop calling out to God, when we admit our complete and utter dependence on God, there is every chance we will be surprised by the lavish grace of God flowing to us and through us. 

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