Job and His Wife (with musicians), Art for B Proper 22

Job 2:10
Then his wife said to him, “Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Job and His Wife
Job and His Wife
DÜRER, Albrecht
(b. 1471, Nürnberg, d. 1528, Nürnberg)
c. 1504
Oil on panel, 94 x 51 cm
Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt
Click image for more information.

Commentary by Hovak Najarian
(Previous post October 7, 2012)

Job was a very righteous man with great herds of livestock and incalculable wealth. Satan suggested, however, that Job’s piety may not be as strong as it seemed if all his worldly possessions were destroyed. Would he not curse God if he were to lose everything? Job was put to the test. His oxen, donkeys, and camels numbering in the thousands were stolen and fire destroyed his 7,000 sheep. A mighty wind from the desert caused his house to collapse and his ten children were killed, but Job remained steadfast. He did not curse God. He shaved his head, tore off his clothes and said “Naked I came out of my mother’s womb and naked shall I return; Lord has given, and Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Next came physical suffering and ridicule from his wife. Friends came to console him but they thought the terrible occurrences were the result of sin. They urged him to confess. God intervened finally and returned Job to good health; his livestock was restored to even greater numbers and he had a new family.

This painting of Job’s suffering was commissioned by Frederick the Wise (Frederick III, Elector of Saxony); a Protestant and a strong supporter of Martin Luther. Memories of sweeping epidemics such as the Bubonic Plague were fearful to him as was a new threat, syphilis. He commissioned several artists to deal with the theme of suffering. Durer’s painting depicts the flames (upper left) that destroyed his servants and sheep, and in the foreground, Job is shown physically overcome and spiritually downcast. The weight of his head is being supported by his arm as he sits overwhelmed and without clothes. His wife (in a typical Nuremberg dress of the early sixteenth century) has no sympathy for him and pours a bucket of water on his neck. Her suggestion was that Job should curse God and die.

Scholars believe Albrecht Durer’s painting, Job and His Wife, was part of a larger panel; possibly a diptych or even a triptych. It also has been suggested this painting is the left side of a larger painting that was cut in half. It is agreed that another panel containing two musicians was part of the original. The fact that the background landscape of both paintings and a portion of Job’s wife’s dress line up with each other when placed side by side support the belief they were once together as one.

In the section that was separated from this scene, two musicians – a flute player and drummer – are standing nearby playing to Job. Music, it was believed, was soothing to sufferers of melancholia in particular and it was prescribed by healers. While studying in Venice, Durer was familiar with street minstrels in colorful clothes and he added them to this painting to provide comfort to Job.

Note

The Book of Job was selected by renowned authors to be listed among the world’s hundred greatest books.

Frederick the Wise was a collector of relics. In his castle church he had over 17,000 purported relics; included in his collection were five pieces of the true cross, parts of the holy cradle, swaddling clothes, a piece of Moses’ burning bush, and even milk from the Virgin Mary.

Wind Chimes: 30 Oct 2012

The Large Hadron Collider. Image: National Geographic

I had heard You with my ears,
But now I see You with my eyes;
Therefore, I recant and relent,
Being but dust and ashes.

Job 42:5-6 NJPS

We’ll stay with these verses one more day. Where does wonder begin? Where does relationship become more important than information?  ~dan

Do the chimes sound humble? Defiant? Confused? Harmonic? What do you hear?

As civiliaation advances

As civilization advances, the sense of wonder declines. Such decline is an alarming symptom of our state of mind. Mankind will not perish for want of information; but only for want of appreciation. —Abraham Joshua Heschel

Meet Wicahpi Cavanaugh, a “Garden Warrior”

“When Wicahpi Cavanaugh (Cheyenne River Lakota) was 14, he seemed headed in the wrong direction. … But all that was before Cavanaugh took up … gardening.” More

In a garden, building relationships with Nature and with co-workers, experiences even more wonderful than splitting the atom become possible and even more life-giving. A sense of wonder is born and nurtured. ~dan

Read more: ‘Garden Warrior’ Credits ‘Dream of Wild Health’ With Transforming his Life, Receives Scholarship on Indian Country Today Media Network.

See also:
Dream of Wild Health
Camp Stevens Environmental Education Programs

The beauty of the trees

The beauty of the trees,
the softness of the air,

the fragrance of the grass,
speaks to me.

The summit of the mountain,
the thunder of the sky,

the rhythm of the sea,
speaks to me.

The faintness of the stars,
the freshness of the morning,

the dewdrop on the flower,
speaks to me.

The strength of fire,
the taste of salmon,
the trail of the sun,

and the life that never goes away,
they speak to me.

And my heart soars.

—Chief Dan George

Roberts, Elizabeth; Amidon, Elias (2011-04-26). Earth Prayers: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations from Around the World (p. 42). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

I encourage you to read more about and more from Indian Country Today Media Network: Serving the Nations. Celebrating the People. ~dan

Wind Chimes: 29 Oct 2012

Autumn leaves in Idyllwild, CA

I had heard You with my ears,
But now I see You with my eyes;
Therefore, I recant and relent,
Being but dust and ashes.

Job 42:5-6 NJPS

Job responds to God from his new knowledge of God, not his knowledge about God. There is a difference. We’ll explore that this week. ~dan

Sometimes the sound, sometimes the movement of the chimes catches our attention. What do you see? What do you hear?

A posture of wonder

Quote . . .As we listen and enter into the conversation ourselves, could it be that God’s Word, God’s speaking, God’s self-revealing happens to us, sneaks up, surprises and ambushes us, transforms us, and disarms us—rather than arms us with “truths” to use like weapons to savage other human beings? Could it be that God’s Word intends not to give us easy answers and shortcuts to confidence and authority, but rather to reduce us, again and again, to a posture of wonder, humility, rebuke, and smallness in the face of the unknown?

McLaren, Brian D. (2010-01-21). A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith (p. 93). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.

An update on naming the next Archbishop of Canterbury

“A secretive group choosing the next Archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world’s 80 million Anglicans, is under pressure to break a deadlock in their talks and reach a decision, nearly a month after an announcement was expected.” —from Reuters. Read the article. Please continue your prayers for this group and our Worldwide Anglican Communion.

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you:
wherever he may send you;

may he guide you through the wilderness:
protect you through the storm;

may he bring you home rejoicing:
at the wonders he has shown you;

may he bring you home rejoicing:
once again into our doors.

Claiborne, Shane; Wilson-Hartgrove, Jonathan; Okoro, Enuma (2010-11-09). Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (p. 73). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Photo: IdyllWildThings. Click the image to see more from IdyllWildThings, Idyllwild, CA. ~dan

Wind Chimes: 26 Oct 2012

A dew soaked web

Has the rain a father
who brought forth drops of dew?

Job 38:28 CEB

We look into the world again with the eyes of the Creator. May wonder be born anew with this day. ~dan

The whirlwind continues. There is softness to the sound today. What do you hear?

Luminous web that holds everything in place

Barbara Brown Taylor

You are like an exquisite spider web
With transparent dewdrops of dawn.
You sparkle like crystal in our hearts
Joining one wet bead with another.
Every part of the gossamer netting
Connects with you through the web.
Even though we feel apart from you
Or disengaged from one another,
We are the jeweled dewdrops of beauty
Joined as one with you, Luminous Web.

Today: I am joined to all in the Luminous Web.

Joyce Rupp. Fragments of Your Ancient Name: 365 Glimpses of the Divine for Daily Meditation (Kindle Locations 850-853). Kindle Edition.

A Genealogy

Son of the elements, Son of Vapours Son of Wind Son of Air.

Son of the elements, Son of Light Son of Heat Son of Fire.

Son of the elements, Son of Rain Son of Waves Son of Water.

Son of the elements, Son of Land Son of Soil Son of Earth.

Son of the elements, Son of Stars Son of Planets Son of Moon.

Son of the elements, Son of Creatures Son of Man Son of God.

David Adam. Border Lands: The Best of David Adam’s Celtic Vision (p. 49). Kindle Edition.

Athrist for God

As the deer longs for the water-brooks, *
so longs my soul for you, O God.
My soul is athirst for God, athirst for the living God; *
when shall I come to appear before the presence of God?

Psalm 42:1-2, BCP, p. 643

Image: Office Clip Art, Photo Gallery

Wind Chimes: 25 Oct 2012

Hydrothermal deep sea vents have been fascinating the scientific world ever since their discovery in 1977. Image via deepseacreatures.org

Have you gone to the sea’s sources,
walked in the chamber of the deep?

Job 38:16 CEB

Our technology permitting us to ‘walk in the chamber of the deep’ raises as many questions as it answers and opens new possibilities of wonder and awe.. ~dan

The whirlwind continues. The chimes sound almost liquid. What do you hear?

From the deep to you and me

Water flows from high in the mountains.
Water runs deep in the Earth.
Miraculously, water comes to us,
and sustains all life. —Thich Nhat Hanh

In: Roberts, Elizabeth; Amidon, Elias (2011-04-26). Earth Prayers: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations from Around the World (p. 154). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

“I am Life”

In a vision, Hildegard saw a fair human form who spoke of its identity in these words:

I am that supreme and fiery force that sends forth all the sparks of life. Death has no part in me, yet I do allow it. Wherefore I am girt with wisdom as with wings. I am that living and fiery essence of the Divine Substance that glows in the beauty of the fields. I shine in the water, I burn in the sun, and the moon, and the stars. Mine is that mysterious force of the invisible wind. I sustain the breath of all the living. I breathe in the grass and in the flowers, and when the waters flow like living things, it is I … I am life!

Hays, Edward M. (2007-10-01). Pray All Ways: A Book for Daily Worship Using All Your Senses (p. 35). Ave Maria Press – A. Kindle Edition.

Yonder is the great and wide sea

O Lord, how manifold are your works! *
in wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.

Yonder is the great and wide sea
with its living things too many to number, *
creatures both small and great.

There move the ships,
and there is that Leviathan, *
which you have made for the sport of it.

All of them look to you *
to give them their food in due season.

You give it to them; they gather it; *
you open your hand, and they are filled with good things.

Psalm 104:25-29 (BCP, pp. 735-736)

Wind Chimes: 23 Oct 2012

Dawn
Good Morning Everyone and Everything! via Indian Country Today Media Network

Have you ever commanded the day to break,
Assigned the dawn its place,

Job 38:12 NJPS

We continue to consider the words of the Creator from the whirlwind. Let the sounds go with you into the week (and beyond). ~dan

The whirlwind continues. The chimes swirl differently. What do you hear?

Infinite Majesty

Am l too independent to bow to you,
To admit to your sovereignty
Over my heart, over my entire life?
Am I too proud to acknowledge
Your ultimate powerfulness?
Am I too ignorant to recognize
Your authority in the cosmos?
Am I too blind to see your grandeur
Etched in the landscape of creation?
If so, shake loose my arrogance.

Today: I bow to Infinite Majesty.

Joyce Rupp. Fragments of Your Ancient Name: 365 Glimpses of the Divine for Daily Meditation (Kindle Locations 1087-1090). Kindle Edition.

Awaken me Lord

Awaken me, Lord, To your light, Open my eyes To your presence.
Awaken me, Lord, To your love, Open my heart To your indwelling.
Awaken me, Lord, To your life, Open my mind To your abiding.
Awaken me, Lord, To your purpose, Open my will To your guiding.

David Adam. Border Lands: The Best of David Adam’s Celtic Vision (p. 16). Kindle Edition.

God, the source and destiny of the cosmos

Author of creation: In wisdom you brought forth all that is, to participate in your divine being, and to change, adapt, and grow in freedom. You make holy the matter and energy of the universe that it may delight you and give you praise. We thank you for gathering all creation into your heart by the energy of your Spirit and bringing it through death to resurrection glory; through the One in whom all things have their being, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music of The Episcopal Church. “Liturgical Materials Honoring God in Creation and Various Rites and Prayers for Animals.” [2012 ‘Blue Book,’ p. 319]

I encourage you to read more about and more from Indian Country Today Media Network: Serving the Nations. Celebrating the People. ~dan

Wind Chimes: 22 Oct 2012

Setting boundaries for the sea

Bless the LORD, O my soul; *
O LORD my God,
how excellent is your greatness!
you are clothed with majesty and splendor.

Psalm 104:1 The Book of Common Prayer

Today, let’s explore God’s limitless grandeur, a point God made in the ‘speech’ to Job (Job 38). ~dan

What glorious sounds do you hear in the chimes today?

Where were you when I …

… enclosed the Sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment, the dense clouds its wrap, when I imposed my limit for it, put on a bar and doors and said, “You may come this far, no farther; here your proud waves stop”? —Job 38:8-11 CEB

You never enjoy the world aright, …

You never enjoy the world aright, till the Sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens, and crowned with the stars: and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world. —Thomas Traherne, Centuries of Meditations, First Century, Section 29

A prayer celebrating the God and water

Blessed are you, O God, whose Spirit hovered over the deep and filled it with all manner of living things. May the sea continue to teem with abundant life. May those who move upon the face of the waters rejoice in its beauty and find safety in its perils. May Christ, who calmed the storm, and filled the nets of his disciples, bring us all to the harbour of light and peace. Amen.

“Blessing of Fisheries” in Occasional Celebrations of the Anglican Church of Canada, p. P54

Photo: Office Clip art, photos

Wind Chimes: 21 Oct 2012

Lightning in the night sky over mountains

Can you send forth lightnings,
so that they may go and say to you, ‘Here we are’?

Job 38:35 NRSV

In Sunday’s appointed reading (Job 38:1-7, 34-41) God answers Job. It is not what Job expected to hear.  ~dan

it is a new sound in the chimes. What do you hear?

Today’s reading from The Message

I often find wonderful new ways to hear the Word by reading different translations. Eugene Peterson’s translation of the Bible, The Message, is one of my favorite sources. ~dan

And now, finally, God answered Job from the eye of a violent storm.

He said: “Why do you confuse the issue? Why do you talk without knowing what you’re talking about? Pull yourself together, Job! Up on your feet! Stand tall! I have some questions for you, and I want some straight answers.

Where were you when I created the earth? Tell me, since you know so much! Who decided on its size? Certainly you’ll know that! Who came up with the blueprints and measurements? How was its foundation poured, and who set the cornerstone, While the morning stars sang in chorus and all the angels shouted praise? And who took charge of the ocean when it gushed forth like a baby from the womb? That was me! I wrapped it in soft clouds, and tucked it in safely at night. Then I made a playpen for it, a strong playpen so it couldn’t run loose, And said, ‘Stay here, this is your place. Your wild tantrums are confined to this place.’

“Can you get the attention of the clouds, and commission a shower of rain? Can you take charge of the lightning bolts and have them report to you for orders?

“Who do you think gave weather-wisdom to the ibis, and storm-savvy to the rooster? Does anyone know enough to number all the clouds or tip over the rain barrels of heaven When the earth is cracked and dry, the ground baked hard as a brick?

“Can you teach the lioness to stalk her prey and satisfy the appetite of her cubs As they crouch in their den, waiting hungrily in their cave? And who sets out food for the ravens when their young cry to God, fluttering about because they have no food?”

Job 38 The Message on Bible Gateway

When God speaks in praise of this ‘wild’ creation …

Either you look at the universe as a very poor creation out of which no one can make anything or you look at your own life and your own part in the universe as infinitely rich, full of inexhaustible interest, opening out into infinite further possibilities for study and contemplation and interest and praise. Beyond all and in all is God.

Merton, Thomas (2003-02-01). When the Trees Say Nothing: Writings on Nature (p. 6). Ave Maria Press – A. Kindle Edition.

A prayer to step into creation with the Creator

O merciful Creator, your hand is open wide to satisfy the needs of every living creature: Make us always thankful for your loving providence; and grant that we, remembering the account that we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of your good gifts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. The Book of Common Prayer, p. 259

Wind Chimes: 20 Oct 2012

Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind:
Who is this darkening counsel with words lacking knowledge?
Prepare yourself like a man; I will interrogate you,
and you will respond to me.

Job 38:1-3 CEB

Anticipating Sunday’s appointed reading (Job 38:1-7, 34-41) we’ll give voice to 2 commentators. Consider their words as you approach Sunday and as you go into the week with God’s words settling into your heart. ~dan

The wind in the chimes is strong today. The sounds are with you no matter where you go. What do you hear?

The God who speaks is not a ‘domesticated’ God

Finally, after a wait through eons of suffering, God speaks (38:1). But the God who speaks does not engage Job’s pain or Job’s challenge. God exhibits no empathy toward Job or any need to respond to Job’s frontal challenge against God’s unconvincing ways of working. God refuses to participate in Job’s challenge and effectively changes the subject, displaying complete indifference to Job’s bodily anguish and to Job’s moral perplexity. The God who speaks is a God of wondrous grandeur, magnificent power, sublime beauty, and remoteness from human travail. This is not a God to whom to turn in need, even though Job has indeed turned precisely to this God in need. The God whom Job expected, to whom he prayed and offered challenge, is not the God who addresses him in the whirlwind. This God comes as a completely disorienting surprise to him.

God speaks a lyrical doxology of self-congratulation, celebrating the splendor of creation, the awesomeness of specific creatures, and the wondrous reality that the mysteries of creation are well beyond human comprehension or explanation. That is, God moves quickly past Job’s litigious confrontation as if Job had not spoken, as if Job’s moral quibbles are of no interest at all to the Almighty.

Brueggemann, Walter (2010-11-05). Great Prayers of the Old Testament (p. 124). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.

“Where the wild things are.” But why?

At the end of the book, the One who appears to Job is none other than the Creator of the cosmos, the LORD God Almighty! And God doesn’t come to comfort Job. Instead, God lays into Job, lecturing him from the center of a cyclone:

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? (38:2-7 NRSV)

God does not address Job’s situation or Job’s questions about justice. God does not even acknowledge Job’s suffering. Instead, God takes Job on a whirlwind tour of the cosmos, beginning with the foundation of the earth, and the birth of the Sea. God spends a lot of time “where the wild things are,” describing all kinds of fierce and untamed creatures—lions, mountain goats, deer, wild donkeys and oxen, ostriches, eagles—and two primordial chaos monsters, Behemoth and Leviathan. […]

But what does all this have to do with Job’s situation or with Job’s suffering?

Good question. I encourage you to read the entire commentary (on Job 38:1-7, 34-41) by Professor Kathryn Schifferdecker on WorkingPreacher.org ~dan

One more “Arrow Prayer”

Be still, and know that I am God! –Psalm 46:10 NRSV

“Arrow Prayer” is a term used to describe a prayer which is offered quickly in the moment. Prayers of thanksgiving often come in the form of arrow prayers. Arrow prayers are also helpful in times of distress. “Help me, God!” “Holy one, watch over me.” “Walk with me Jesus, for I am afraid.” These arrow prayers are also prayers of praise and thanksgiving for they recognize God’s on-going presence in daily life.

From a paper written by Jane E. Vennard: Exploring a Life of Prayer

Wind Chimes: 19 Oct 2012

But if I go East—He is not there;
West—I still do not perceive Him;
North—since He is concealed, I do not behold Him;
South—He is hidden, and I cannot see Him.

Job 23:8-9

Today we continue to wonder, with Job, where is God? Where is God in the midst of enormous challenges facing his creation and his ‘children’ throughout creation—even those we consider our ‘enemies’? And where is God in the challenges we face? ~dan

Still yourself long enough to hear the chimes. What do you hear?

One thing Job discovered in his desolation

I try to remind myself that we are never promised anything, and that what control we can exert is not over the events that befall us but how we address ourselves to them.

—Jeanne DuPrau in The Earth House and quoted by Word for the Day on Nov. 16, 2011.

What we can learn from Job in his desolation

Quote . . .Job, as an artfully crafted figure, is a representative of Israel’s faith as it is exhibited in daring, irreverent, subversive prayer. No doubt it can be debated whether Job’s utterances can count as prayer, for some of his speech is simply angered rumination not noticeably addressed to God. It is not for nothing that his name means “adversary,” for Job is in an urgent contestation with all parties—with God, with his friends, with his own moral code that he has trusted for so long, and with the abusive, violent way in which the world is ordered. Thus we may give Job our attention precisely because he refuses all the pious conventionalities and will speak from the core of his hurt and from his deep, unrestrained sense of not being taken seriously. His was indeed a cry from the heart. It happens, eventually, that his cry was heard by God. More than that, he receives an answer from God that by any conventional measure is no answer at all, for the God of the whirlwind refuses to be drawn into Job’s demanding calculations.

Brueggemann, Walter (2010-11-05). Great Prayers of the Old Testament (p. 122). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.

Another “Arrow Prayer”

Turn to me [Lord] and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted. –Psalm 25:16 NIV

“Arrow Prayer” is a term used to describe a prayer which is offered quickly in the moment. Prayers of thanksgiving often come in the form of arrow prayers. Arrow prayers are also helpful in times of distress. “Help me, God!” “Holy one, watch over me.” “Walk with me Jesus, for I am afraid.” These arrow prayers are also prayers of praise and thanksgiving for they recognize God’s on-going presence in daily life.

From a paper written by Jane E. Vennard: Exploring a Life of Prayer

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