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? “Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb?— when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped’?
This text comes near the end of the book of Job. You know the story. In a matter of days Job loses everything: his wealth, his family, his health. Three friends come to comfort Job, but soon they tell him that he must have done something evil for God to have inflicted so much suffering upon him. Chapter and chapter, page after page, Job maintains his innocence. He demands an answer from God as to why he (Job) is suffering unjustly. Finally, in our text, God shows up—a voice from the whirlwind answers Job. But God’s answer is not what we’d expect, and certainly not what we’d want to hear. God seems to be telling Job that he (Job) is really only a tiny part of a vast, complex, beautiful, dizzying creation. Job seems to take comfort in this realization that he is only dust and so perhaps his suffering does not have cosmic significance. Would we? (RAF)
When a child is baptized, at least in a Presbyterian church, both the parents and the congregation make promises. The parent promises to “live the Christian faith and to teach that faith to your child.” The congregation makes promises to “guide and nurture” the child “by word and deed, with love and prayer, encouraging them to know and follow Christ and to be faithful members of his church.”
This past week we baptized an adorable young boy and we made these promises to him, to his family, and (most importantly!) to God. It is our responsibility to love and nurture and guide, to show Christ’s love with our lives, to teach and pray.
We have a number of young people in our congregation who are baptized members–they have had promises made on their behalf and they participate (at varying levels) in our common life. There are many in our congregation who have taken very seriously and literally the promise to guide and nurture–we celebrated many of them this past Sunday. Our Sunday School teachers and youth leaders have undertaken a huge project–teaching, building relationships with, praying for, and loving our children and youth week after week. It takes time and commitment and we are so grateful to them for their work in this important ministry.
In two weeks we will celebrate another milestone on this journey. Several of our youth have completed a nine-month confirmation class in which they have studied Scripture, our faith tradition, and ways to practice their faith. On May 18th we will, as a community, tell them that “we rejoice that you now desire to declare your faith and to share with us in our common ministry.” These teens will make a public commitment to following the way of Jesus, to joining us in worship and ministry and mission, to seeking God’s call for them. It’s a big day and I hope you’ll join us as we celebrate their journeys and re-commit ourselves to walking the road with them.
So–many thanks to those of you who have taught in the Sunday School, the confirmation class, or led in the youth program. And many congratulations and prayers to those youth preparing to publicly take up the cross and follow Christ.