Wednesday Words

July 22, 2020

Pr. Paul Cannon

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.

Job 38:4

The animals have found our bird feeder. By that, I mean ALL the animals. Sparrows, finches, cardinals, chipmunks, bunnies, squirrels, and even some neighborhood humming birds (because of course we had to get a humming bird feeder as well), are all congregating en masse at meal times.

I opened the door to our back porch yesterday and it looked like there was a pillow fight happening in our backyard – feathers and fluff went flying in every which direction, startled by my appearance. Birds landed on nearby rooftops, squirrels perched on the fence, all staring at me with a look that said, “Do you mind?” Like I was the intruder interrupting their meal (which I provided).

In one sense it’s laughable, but in the back corner of my mind, it makes me think maybe they’re right. Maybe I am the intruder. This is their world. I’m just living it.

After all, they were here first. God made homes for all his creatures, well before humans came along.

On Sunday we’ll be wrapping up our theme Let All Things Now Live, and the first reading will be from the book of Job. In it, God gives Job a tour of creation, where he asks Job to consider all the living things that are in God’s care.

It’s an odd answer to a question that Job doesn’t really ask. Throughout the story, Job is in the throes of suffering; he loses his family, his riches and even his health. Job’s question is “Why me?” God answers by asking Job to consider all of creation.

Wrapping your mind around God’s answer to Job is an impossible task, and maybe that’s part of the point. We are an infinitesimally small part of creation. Individually, our suffering is small in the context of all that is in the universe.

We are not the kings of creation that we sometimes imagine ourselves to be; we are merely a small part of it. But even though that is undeniably true, we do not go unnoticed by God. Our suffering is not ignored, and we are valued intrinsically.

Even as we pretend to be kings of creation, maybe the truth is that we are intruders in our own backyards – not unnoticed by God – but a small part still.