|Sometimes life comes at you fast and help seems far away...|
Our readings this morning are a bit disorienting. One day life is going along smoothly, the next day everything has changed. There is a fleeting nature to life. The very thing that seems to diminish us may also become that which brings us our greatest sense of insight and awareness of God. It's a paradox of God's grace and mercy, through suffering can come new life.
Job, tormented. All he has ever known, all of his life is gone. He sits in certain assurance that God will be present, he will know God, and all will be well. But after a time he begins to wonder.
"Where is God?"
I think we all know this feeling. God is absent. What are we to do? Sit in sack cloth and ashes and wait? Somehow? Are we able to live in hope. Can we live for the hope of hope?
Psalm 22 echoes the words of every person who has ever lived through desolation, despair, the bleakest of times:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
Hebrews reminds us that no matter the degree of our suffering, God is with us. Through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, God has poured out God's love for all creation. This love of God in Jesus contains all the suffering of the world. Jesus has lived every pain and suffering of humankind through all the ages.
Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
And Mark reminds us that suffering can have the paradoxical effect of helping us grow in empathy and understanding. Those who do not suffer, truly suffer, are unable to embrace the full reality of despair and desolation. Many things in life protect us, buffer us from suffering. The Gospel reading names wealth as that which prevents us from embracing fully the suffering of others.
Seriously....I have no idea where I am going with these readings this morning. ACK!
What I do know is that this is the preacher party and somehow we will all figure this out and get a sermon written. We'll do it together. We'll find our way through the disorientation.
Help is here!
We'll share ideas, offer suggestions, give support, pray for one another....But most of all we'll share some sustenance.
I have coffee and tea. Freshly made apple-cinnamon-cider donuts (OMG, divine). Pull up a chair - let the party begin.