A morning of Job, Zophar and Paul

Concluding Morning Prayer yesterday we heard the sound of workmen on the scaffolding outside, with a clatter of steel, the whizz of powered tools removing brackets, and later, the whistle and singing of the human voice happily passing the working day in the open air, St Mary’s was being stripped of its temporary covering of scaffolding - at least over its west gable.  We had been concerned for the first wedding of the year, taking place there tomorrow-week, and I am much relieved to see it gone.

Of course, it was there for a purpose and that has been fulfilled.  We now await a period of sustained wet weather and hope that the west gable wall will dry out.  No doubt fancy modern damp meters will be used to judge the situation over the coming months.  We have faith in the architect and contractor and we are genuinely hopeful - not simply sitting with fingers crossed!

I am looking forward to Morning Prayer today as it has one of my favourite psalms - number 19 - which has some lovely lines: “One day tells its tale to another and one night imparts knowledge to another.”  I feel sure that I have spoken of the whole psalm at length before.  Then we are straight into poor Job.  Yesterday he was at a very low ebb in chapter 10, which begins with the words, “I loath my life.” One of Job’s ‘comforters’, Zophar, appears today.  He is going to try and reason with Job.  What all of these friends attempt is to try and reduce the problem that Job has to a size that they can understand.  For Zophar - and this cannot have been easy - he is suggesting to Job that maybe all the distress is to do with not acknowledging his faults.

Meanwhile, after reading a canticle, we shall hear Paul ask the rhetorical question, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”  The theory presented by some was that more one does wrong the greater the mercy and grace of God would be experienced as one accepted forgiveness.  Paul deals with this odd notion very firmly and in summary fashion - and we shall leave Church on the right track having accompanied Job and Zophar and Paul along a little path for a few interesting moments!

John Mann