Monday, October 07, 2019

Blessing of the Animals 2019

Job 38:1-11; 16-18

1Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:

2"Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
3Gird up your loins like a man,
I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

4"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
5Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
6On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone
7when the morning stars sang together
and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?

8"Or who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb?—
9when I made the clouds its garment,
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
10and prescribed bounds for it,
and set bars and doors,
11and said, 'Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stopped'?

16"Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
18Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
Declare, if you know all this."

Blessing of the Animals / Integrity of All Creation

Every year many churches and a few other organizations celebrate a Blessing of the Animals on St Francis of Assisi day on 06 October, or on a Saturday or Sunday near the 6th.

Just as for previous years, instead of beginning with background for the day and appointed scripture text, I suggested everyone say a little about connections with non-human aspects of creation that especially interested them. Not surprisingly, most of it was about Pets Everyone Has Loved.

Job resides in the Writings section of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible; in terms of origins, it's probably the oldest book of the bible and most likely circulated widely for a very long time in the dynamic oral tradition before getting written down—and even later on, finally edited into its current form. Final compilation may have even as late as during the Babylonian exile or even later after a remnant returned to Jerusalem and started to rebuild community, religion, and life in general. Job is one of the main books cited for answers to why bad things happen to good people. In the end, God's response to Job turns out to be God is God and we're not.

Today's second reading from Job is one of at least four biblical creation accounts that include Genesis 1 (that we also read), Genesis 2, and Psalm 104. Steve W. received a Lutheran Study Bible when he formally joined the church, and we often have him read its commentary on our current reading, but in Steve's absence Pastor Peg read the LSB's notes that pointed out how this creation account is more playful and casual than any of the others. How fitting for a day when critters come to church!

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