The Book of Job & Carl Sagan – our right relationship with creation.
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Often times when we pray to God for wisdom we hear silence – many times the wisdom of God is unclear – sometimes though God answers us from out of the Whirlwind as in today’s reading from the story of Job – sometimes what God is telling us we don’t want to hear – many times it is a lesson of humility as it was today for Job – “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” – spoken in a form the readers of Job could understand – We know much more today about how the Earth was created and yet still – Where were we? – Before there was light in the known universe – millions of years after creation sprang from the void – where were we?
We humans are the vainest of species – we anthropomorphize everything – we attribute human qualities to our pets – to the storms of the earth – to our boats and cars – and we even attribute humanness to God – He was a jealous God or a merciful God as if we could ever understand those qualities in ourselves let alone the Divine – We think so highly of ourselves that we proclaim that we are made in God’s image and then think God looks like a human – God in Job asks us to think about becoming right sized again – Still we all would like a protector to care and watch over us – yet even then we pray for God to do that in the ways we want – We want to be in control about how grace affects our lives – pray for victory in sporting events for example forgetting that our opponents are praying for the same thing too – we feel blessed when we win and somehow less blessed then when we lose – God blessed us all with this thing called life – with this incredible home to live and love in – with the wonder of it all – and there hasn’t ever been a time when God wasn’t with us
Being small can be frightening – being powerless is humbling – and the illusion of control is addictive – even those to whom we cede control in the final analysis don’t have it – our prayers don’t alter the path of the storm at sea – though our actions or inactions can mitigate or exacerbate its impact – The story of Job is a reminder of our place in the grand scheme of things – over the recent years our understanding of that grand scheme has grown exponentially – we sometimes are blessed with a glimpse of our right relationship with this wonder called life
Many years ago when a small space craft launched in the seventies was passing Neptune – our solar system’s outer most planet – The astronomer Carl Sagan asked NASA to turn the cameras back towards Earth – the picture the probe took was a Earth as a tiny blue dot in a sunbeam – that day God replied to Job in the words Carl Sagan spoke – let me paraphrase it as it might have been written by God to Job instead of Carl Sagan to us
“Look at that dot – That’s you – that’s your home – on it everyone you love – everyone you know – everyone you’ve ever heard of – every human being that ever existed lived out their lives – all the joy – all the sorrow – the countless prayers and religions – the various empires – doctrines – ideologies – every saint or sinner in the history of your species lived there on that mote of dust suspended in that sunbeam” He might have gone on to say – “There is more than you in existence – there is more and I am here”
Who are we? – who are we to call upon the force that created all the dots in creation – who are we to call upon that force for our own ends – this is the message of Job – the reminder from Carl Sagan and it is not made to make us feel small – though we are small – for as small as we are God is in relationship with us still – we have been given a way to relate to the creator of it all – in the human life and face of the one we know as Jesus Christ
To see – to truly see Jesus however we must do the seemingly impossible – we must give up our need to be at the center – unlike James and John in today’s Gospel we must let go of our need to sit at the right hand of God in eternity – Jesus in this section of Mark we’ve been reading these past weeks continues to drive home the humbling point – that we must be a servant – a slave to all – stop trying to be Lord – stop trying to be rulers over a creation that is beyond our limited comprehension – treat those around us with love and compassion
We can struggle righteously to make the short time we walk our mortal paths on this mote of a planet more humane and loving – We can tend this Garden of Eden we inhabit with humble respect so that more might see the gift creation is for us – we can be stewards and not plunderers
When we remember to be in right relationship with those around us – our lives – our world – our loved ones – even our God we can come to know a peace that surpasses all understanding – we can cease our useless worry – put a check on our greed and envy – Jesus’ ministry was all about teaching us how to do that – he reminds his disciples that our place in the scheme of things is not even his to ordain – he asks them and us to join him in a baptismal rebirth into the right relationship with God – to answer the question – “Where were we?” – We were not there but we are here now – we are ready to help creation unfold for as long as we are needed – God and creation got along just fine before us – before you and me – how we help each other live rich and meaningful lives is the task our creator has laid at our feet – Jesus gave us the way – the manual for nurturing life – The key is to share the grace and love we’ve been given – love and bless – see God not us as the center of it all – to serve as Jesus served and to do it gladly – today let us strive to do just that – to do it better today than we did yesterday – to reply to Christ and God almighty – “With your help we are able.” – in Jesus name we pray – AMEN