Saturday, April 23, 2011

History Repeated

In the Daily Office appointed for “Holy Saturday” (I prefer “Easter Eve”), we read a familiar Old Testament passage—Job 19:12-27a. In that reading, Job states, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been destroyed, then from my flesh I shall See God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.” Although a different translation from what we find in the BCP, it’s almost the same as what we hear in the Burial Office—same scripture, same cadence.

I love it when we find texts from our Burial Office in the Old Testament. That suggests to me that our understanding of resurrection wasn’t invented when Jesus came around. It reminds me that he didn’t stand for something completely new. Although unique and brand new in its expression, Jesus’ understanding of resurrection finds its roots in older ideas about who God is and who we are.

Actually, I think resurrection isn’t just an OT/NT concept. I think Job reminds us that belief in God (in any age) is one’s trust that in the face of the absolute worst (see the rest of Job’s story) God will save. In our lesson this morning, Job utters a ridiculous statement of faith. Despite all his hardship, he still has confidence that God will make himself known in an expression of salvation. And that takes faith. That is faith.

We can be forgiven for not having Job-like faith in our weakest moments. Think back to the disciples: none of them were expecting the miracle of Easter when it happened. And that’s the beauty of this. God’s victory doesn’t depend upon our faith. God’s going to win. He’s going to show up whether we expect him or not. That’s why the story of scripture (both OT and NT) and the wider story of human history (God continuing to work in the world) are so important. They show us how things work out even when we can’t see how they will.

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