I mentioned in my sermon on Sunday something called “Schroeder’s Cat”. I got the name wrong. It should have been “Schrodinger’s Cat”. It deals with a paradox of Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Physics: matter can exist in two states at once. Here is a link to a Wikipedia page that explains Schrodinger’s thought experiment. After reading a good portion of it, I still don’t get it, but God still works in mysterious ways.
Our readings for this week are:
Job 38:1-7, (34-41) – After 35 chapters of Job’s friends, by now there are four, declaring that Job was somehow guilty and Job maintaining his innocence and demanding an explanation from God, God final speaks. And, boy, does God speak! God’s words here are troubling because God’s defense to Job is to basically to say, “Who are you to question me?” God’s defense goes from 38:1 through 41:34 with one small interruption by Job at 40:4-5. We will read more of God’s response next week but the question we must wrestle with is “Is this the answer we would want to hear if we were Job?”
Psalm 104:1-9, (19-22) – This is a classic psalm of a victim of society. The psalmist asks for protection and then call for the destruction of his persecutors’ family, property, and life. In verse 21 the psalmist proclaims that God’s love is steadfast and God will deliver.
Isaiah 53:4-12 – This is the last half of the last and longest of Isaiah’s four servant songs. The full song starts at 52:13. This song is often read during Holy Week and on Good Friday. You can see many parallels between this song and the passion of Jesus. A question to ponder: did Isaiah prophesy the death of Jesus or did the writers of the Gospels shape the passion story to reflect the realities of the victimage system that Isaiah reports in his song?
Psalm 91:9-16 – The words, especially the verses, of the song “On Eagle’s Wings” come from Psalm 91. In this Psalm, the psalmist seems to be reassuring a victim that God will protect them. Perhaps this psalm should have been the words of Job’s friends rather then their accusations of guilt.
Hebrews 5:1-10 – The basic argument of the writer of Hebrews goes something like this: the human high priest at the temple was a sinner like us therefore needed to offer sacrifices for his and our sins; Jesus, who was without sin, became the perfect sacrifice and suffered for our sins; therefore, Jesus is the perfect high priests who no longer needs to offer sacrifices for sin for us: once was enough. The person of Melchizedek is found in Genesis 14:18-20 (where Abram gives him a tithe of all he had) and is then mentioned in Psalm 110:4 which Hebrews quotes.
Mark 10:35-45 – From last week to this week we skip Jesus’ third prediction of his death and resurrection. The first prediction (8:31) prompted Peter to try to prevent Jesus from going to Jerusalem. The second prediction resulted in the disciples arguing among themselves about how was the greatest. The third prediction result in our reading this week: James and John demand Jesus to install them at his right and left hands as trusted lieutenants in Jesus’s glory. Jesus tells them they will have the cup he will drink and the baptism he had. The positions of right and left hands had already been prepared for others. (In the Gospel of John, Jesus came into his glory at his crucifixion. Who were at his right and left at the time of his glory?) Of course when the other disciples find out what James and John had asked they were upset. For the third time in Mark Jesus says something about the first being last; see 8:35 and 10:31. Do you think Jesus really want us to consider and understand the idea of first as last and last as first?
May the Lord bless your readings this week and your service in this world.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor