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Justice & Privilege


The narrative lectionary reading for this week begins a 5 week series on the book of Job.  We focus on Job 1:1-12.  This first section sets the background for the parable.  It is important to note that this is clearly a parable, not a historical text.  This means we must look beyond the described events and towards a deeper meaning within the text.  
The story goes like this:

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There was once a man who thought he was good, an upright citizen, a religiously devout man.  He made good choices and avoided all forms of evil.  He was so pious that he made sacrifices in the name of his family members in case they had unknowingly sinned.  He had great wealth and privilege, and so this was evidence of his goodness.  

God was so pleased with this great man, named Job, that he bragged about him to the accuser.  The accuser objected "Of course Job is good, you have provided him with wealth, power, and protection. He would curse you if he was not so privileged."  At this, God takes the bait and releases the accuser to torment Job, removing his external privilege, but demanding safety for Job's body and health.  
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A week after the death of George Floyd we have protests and riots happening all over the world in response to a great injustice.  I hear many voices focused on the damage being done by these protests, crying for peace and justice.  I hear confusion and pain, they just can't understand why people would damage property to make a point.  My faith influences me in such a way that I don't condone or justify violence of any kind, but as I read this week's text I wonder if people might understand the actions of these protesters if the accuser was allowed to take away their privilege. At this point in the story, Job's body is still protected, privileged, but in the world we live in, black and brown bodies are not.  

Lord, may you bring peace to this broken world.  May you bring peace to those who's heart is broken and filled with rage.  May you bring peace to those who suffer losses of life and property as we navigate our pain.  May you bring peace to those officers who take their oath to protect and serve seriously.  May you bring change and justice to our enforcement and justice agencies.  May you bring change and justice to our hearts and minds.  May you form a hedge of protection around the bodies of your people, just as you did for Job is this first chapter.  

  

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