St. Matthew's Episcopal Church Maple Glen, Pennsylvania

Readings and Reflections for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Job 38:1-11

2 Corinthians 6:1-13

Mark 4:35-41

Dear Friends,

Job 38 contains a small portion of God’s reply to the challenge of a suffering man.  This “opening statement” from God clearly depicts the great distance between what human beings can know, and the reality of God who has created all things.  After a good bit more of this, Job gets the point and says, “I have uttered what I did not understand…and repent in dust and ashes.”

Mark 4:35-41: When Jesus calms the wind and sea with the power of the Creator, the disciples on the boat with him are filled with awe.  A moment ago, they were like Job, wondering if Jesus (God) cares about the danger they face.  Jesus invites them to trust in the face of fear.

2 Corinthians 6:1-13: Paul declares his “parental love” for his “children” at Corinth.  He has suffered for them through “sleepless nights…patience….kindness...genuine love” so that they might be raised up in Christ.  He says this because his children are “whining” and wanting to follow other “parents” who seem more impressive and suitable to their tastes.  How quickly we human beings can become discontent and complain!

Comment: Human suffering of all kinds challenges our faith and trust in God.  It is a question as old as the book of Job. God’s “reply” to Job (in my words) seems to be, “It’s way over your head, you can’t grasp it all.” This may be true, but it doesn’t help me emotionally.  Jesus seems equally harsh when he says to his frightened disciples, “Why are you afraid….have you no faith?”   But we ARE afraid and troubled by suffering and death.  At those times, I try to remember and cling to the assurance from Jesus that the heavenly Father knows even the fall of a sparrow, and that we are of great value to God, even if we can’t understand how it all “works.”

David S. Robinson, Rector
Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church
Maple Glen, PA 19002