Prayers for Wednesday, 26 August, 2020 (Proper 21, Trinity 11)

 

Today we begin a more compressed format, as my time available for his project is limited.  Only the reading that is the subject of the commentary is featured in full; the rest are available by link, as are the daily prayers and intercessions.  MP+

 

Invitatory

 

O God, make speed to save us.

 

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.

Amen.

 

The Lord is our refuge and our strength:  O come, let us worship.

 

Hebrew Scriptures 

Job 6.1; 7.1–21

 

Then Job answered:

‘Do not human beings have a hard service on earth,

   and are not their days like the days of a labourer? 

Like a slave who longs for the shadow,

   and like labourers who look for their wages, 

so I am allotted months of emptiness,

   and nights of misery are apportioned to me. 

When I lie down I say, “When shall I rise?”

   But the night is long,

   and I am full of tossing until dawn. 

My flesh is clothed with worms and dirt;

   my skin hardens, then breaks out again. 

My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle,

   and come to their end without hope. 

 

‘Remember that my life is a breath;

   my eye will never again see good. 

The eye that beholds me will see me no more;

   while your eyes are upon me, I shall be gone. 

As the cloud fades and vanishes,

   so those who go down to Sheol do not come up; 

they return no more to their houses,

   nor do their places know them any more. 

 

‘Therefore I will not restrain my mouth;

   I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;

   I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. 

Am I the Sea, or the Dragon,

   that you set a guard over me? 

When I say, “My bed will comfort me,

   my couch will ease my complaint”, 

then you scare me with dreams

   and terrify me with visions, 

so that I would choose strangling

   and death rather than this body. 

I loathe my life; I would not live for ever.

   Let me alone, for my days are a breath. 

What are human beings, that you make so much of them,

   that you set your mind on them, 

visit them every morning,

   test them every moment? 

Will you not look away from me for a while,

   let me alone until I swallow my spittle? 

If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of humanity?

   Why have you made me your target?

   Why have I become a burden to you? 

Why do you not pardon my transgression

   and take away my iniquity?

For now I shall lie in the earth;

   you will seek me, but I shall not be.’

 

Psalm

Psalm 119.1–24 : the Glories of God’s Law 

 

Epistle

Acts 10.1–16 Peter and Cornelius  

 

Gospel

Jn 7.1–13 Unbelief of Jesus’ brothers, Festival of Booths 

 

Commentary (Father Michael)

 

Continuing with the story of Job.  Whereas the first of Job’s friends offered hope and the prospect of a long life if he turned back to God (the assumption being that Job must have sinned to have received such disaster), Job here rejects hope altogether.  While he accepts that he must have committed some “transgression” or “iniquity” that has made him a “target” to God, he laments that he will die without pardon.

 

My study bible notes that Job’s words “What are human beings, that you make so much of them, that you set your mind on them” are a parody of Psalm 8:4-5, where the same question is asked, but then the psalmist praises God for giving humans “glory and honour” and putting them in charge of all creation.   Here Job simply asks why God made humans if all they experience in their short lives is torment?

 

Anyone who has tried to comfort a person in anguish and despair has likely heard similar questions.  Where is God in my suffering?  Why has God allowed horrible things to happen to me?  If there is a God, he must be a bastard.    To reply with a pat theological answer would only make things worse.  I would certainly not attempt a quick answer to Job. The value of the Book of Job, I think, is that the character of Job expresses emotions and questions that come to us in our darkest moments. We can take our time in answering them.

 

Questions

How would you speak to a friend giving voice to despair like Job’s?  What other questions come to mind in today’s passages?

 

Intercession

Daily prayers and hymns from Oremus:  

 

Anglican Communion Cycle of Prayer:

Olympia (The Episcopal Church) The Rt Revd Gregory Rickel Busoga (Uganda) The Rt Revd Paul Moses Samson Naimanhye 

Diocese of Toronto Cycle of Prayer:  Grace Church, Markham

 

The Lord’s Prayer

 

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

 

Collect

 

Almighty God, we are taught by your word that all our doings without love are worth nothing.  Send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love, the true bond of peace and of all virtue; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

 

Let us bless the Lord.

Thanks be to God.