Job 1:1-22, 3:1-10
Matthew 9:35-10:8, (9-23)
As my own congregation will remember, I have chosen to use the Narrative lectionary this last year as a change from the three year cycle of the revised common lectionary that I’ve used for the last 20 some years. The narrative lectionary is on a four year schedule and it looks more intensively at each book of the bible, following it through with longer readings, skipping a lot less material, in order for us to get a real look at these books. For this next month, the narrative lectionary is looking in depth at the book of Job, which is not a scripture that we usually give much of our time. When we do look at Job, we usually will give it a single week of our attention, rather than spreading it out over a number of weeks. It is an uncomfortable book for many of us in many ways. So today I want to give a bit of an overview.
The book of Job is one of my favorite books in the bible, for reasons that we will explore more in the coming weeks. One reason, which we will explore more today, is that many people have come to understand it as a book that addresses the question of why bad things happen to good people, or, to put it another way: many have understood it as a book that seeks to explore the age-old question of evil. The question of evil is, in many ways, THE theological problem that people of faith face. As many theologians explain it, in particular, Rabbi Kushner in his book, Why Bad Things Happen to Good People,and Frederick Buechner puts it in his book Wishful thinking, A Theological ABC, there are three statements that people of faith generally believe to be true: