It’s always a high moment in worship for me when the people—you—come forward in an act of dedication or response. Last Sunday I was once again stirred to watch you come forward to lay your financial commitments for 2016 on the altar.
We’ve considered generosity in recent weeks. We’ve talked about “growing in generosity,” as well as “growing in faith.” Many of you stepped up last week to respond to the generosity of God with your own commitments to generosity next year, which, by the way, also serves to support the ministries and missions of the church. THANK YOU!
If you haven’t yet returned your commitment card, please do so as soon as possible. To do so makes your giving an intentional act, not a haphazard one, and it gives the Leadership Team needed information in setting next year’s budget.
To date (as of Friday morning), we have received 161 pledges totaling $648,976. That’s a good start, but we have a way to go—last year’s final total was 283 pledges totaling $1,003,598. So you see every pledge is important if we are to reach that amount and beyond in order to continue to grow our ministry and mission.
This Sunday we shift gears. This Sunday we focus on the story of the man named Job. We’ve all heard of the “patience of Job,” and maybe know little else of the story. But there is much, much more to the story. In 1981 Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote a book entitled When Bad Things Happen to Good People, at least partially in response to his 3-year-old son’s battle with a degenerative disease. In doing so, he raised the age-old question about suffering and why it exists in a world created by a loving God. He drew heavily from Job. Millions read it. For me it made some critical points, but, in the end, did not give a satisfying answer to the question “Why?”
I’m not sure today that there is a satisfying answer to that age old question. I want to come clean with that, so that you won’t arrive Sunday expecting a neat answer tied up in a bow. But what we’ll do is sit with Job a bit, listen to him and his friends, listen to what God says when God finally shows up, and ponder what we can say, what we can believe, what we can hold onto when the world turns upside down on us. And that will happen to us all, at one time or another, in one way or another.
So on Sunday we’ll admit to some hard questions and seek what Job might teach us. If you are struggling with deep questions of “Why?”, if you’ve been wounded by life, if you’re dealing with grief, disappointment, disillusionment, fear or doubt, if you feel God is distant, uncaring, and uninvolved, I hope you’ll come. And if you have a friend who is struggling, invite them along. We may not have a tidy “answer,” but we may find that’s not the most important thing.
See you Sunday,