Sunday at worship at Trinity Lutheran, our year-long journey from Joshua to Job will come to an end.
We have wrestled with genocide, rape, the de-valuing of women, murder, why bad things happen, and the role of God in the midst of the human condition in every way imaginable. We have met strong women and wise women; wise kings, foolish kings, rapist kings, murdering kings, weak kings, faithless kings, selfish kings, warrior-kings, and exiled kings. We have heard from the prophets the voice of God crying out for justice for the oppressed. We have witnessed cities and nations born, torn asunder, destroyed and re-built.
We have listened through the lens of our own experience (because we cannot help that) and through the lens of that which draws us more deeply into the heart and ways of Jesus who declares that our very best is to love God and neighbor; to love one another as he loves us. We read the scriptures through this lens because it keeps us from falling into the temptation to use the scriptures, particularly the Old Testament passages we encountered this past year, to justify our own thoughts, our own prejudices, our own limited world view, our own hates and judgments.
We did not let the God expressed in these stories from Joshua through Job off the hook. We asked hard questions. We read them through all that God expressed through Jesus. We read them through the Lutheran traditions of Law and Gospel, of letting scripture interpret scripture, of salvation by grace through faith, of the scriptures as the cradle in which the Christ-child is laid. We were not satisfied to leave the ways of God as unfathomable, when the ethics we encountered ran counter to the teachings of Jesus. No. We took the harder road and our faith is more robust for it.
We discovered that these Old Testament stories could still speak powerful truth to the events in the world in which we live. And we drew upon the life of Jesus as expressed in the Gospels, the letters of Paul, the Psalms, and more to help us.
So Sunday we will review the journey and reflect upon how it has challenged us and enlivened our faith . Please join us!