By the Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald
Initially, modern readers will find it difficult to enter the world described in the Book of Job. Though the circumstances are exotic, Job’s careful attempts to avoid spiritual risk and danger have strong counterparts in the modern obsession to avoid physical, financial, and spiritual distress. Job is best understood by the modern person whose way of life, structured to avoid risk, collapses in an illness, the death of a loved one, or the failure of a business.
Job’s response of faith is stunning, a window to the character of a great person. A statement of faith and praise in the face of tragedy, it appears to be a sincere acknowledgment of the gifts of life and the God who gives them. At this point, he humbly restrains human judgement on the ways of God in the world.
Faith in God’s ways in the world is a theme of our other passages; the difficulty of faith in the midst of an often tragic and corrupt world and, at the very same moment, the affirmation of God’s help to us in the midst of that difficulty. Contrasting the ways of God to the deceptive appearance of human power, Psalm 146 praises God whose faithful trajectory of justice and mercy to the oppressed that is the great and final story of Creation and history. 2 Corinthians 5 identifies this trajectory with the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, whose identification with us has given us a new identity and reveals our destiny in God. Yes, we still groan with the remains of deceptive and dying counter-reality. But God has not only demonstrated the power of the world to come in the history of Jesus, we have, through the Spirit, a foretaste of the life to come – a foretaste that empowers us to share its reconciling goodness to the world.
Where do you see the ways of God in the world?
Where do you see the ways of God in your own heart and history?
O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald is the National Indigenous Anglican Bishop of the Church of Canada.