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My dear family in Christ,

 

I pray that you are enjoying your Summer and that you are prospering even as your spirit prospers.  We had a wonderful visit from Bishop Smith last Sunday.  After not being able to see him for such a long time because of the COVID pandemic, it was truly joyous to have him preach, celebrate the Eucharist, and confirm, receive, or reaffirm ten souls.

This Sunday will be the fourth Sunday after Pentecost, and we have a tremendous collect and set of readings to ponder and apply as we move through next week.  In our collect, we petition God, “Make us have perpetual love and reverence for your Holy Name, for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon the sure foundation of your loving-kindness.”  This heartfelt request should alert us right away that all of the readings will center on worshiping God and the benefits that accrue to worshipers.

We will spend time with all of these scripture selections on Sunday, but I would like to focus on Job today.  Our lection from Job 38:1-11 happens near the end of Job’s story and represents its climax.  As we all know, Job suffered severe calamity in his life and, just as all of us do, he is trying to understand why things happen.  Job believes that he has lived a righteous life and doesn’t understand why these horrific things have happened to him. He spends most of the story defending himself against the truly harsh and uncaring accusations of his “comforters.”  As it turns out, Job is in fact correct that he has done nothing to deserve his tribulations.  But he is incorrect in his desire to put God and God’s righteousness on trial.

It is at this point in the story that God does indeed appear and challenges Job’s understanding.  Now you can understand God’s speech from the whirlwind as God giving Job the “what-for,” but you can also understand it as God telling Job and us, “Hey, I know that you don’t understand, but I’ve got this and every situation under control.”  God tells us about many marvelous things beyond our understanding that God performs in creating, sustaining, and redeeming the universe.

I know there are times when it seems as if chaos is encroaching upon our lives, that things seem to spin out of control, but God knows, and God is in control.  God knows your sorrow, your confusion, and your pain.  The God who laid the foundation of the cosmos and determined its dimensions is both big enough and compassionate enough to sustain and help us in all of our trials.  Not only that but God has begun a good work in us so that we can worship God from our hearts and truly comfort one another.

May we all grow in our love and worship of the Lord.

Grace and Peace,

Robert +

Useful Links:

Lectionary page for 2020:

https://www.lectionarypage.net/CalndrsIndexes/Calendar2021.html

The Online Book of Common Prayer:

https://www.bcponline.org

State of Florida COVID-19 page:

http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseasesandconditions/COVID-19/

Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 page:

http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html/

Diocesan of Southwest Florida Covid-19 Page:

http://episcopalswfl.org/covid.html/