Monday, December 1, 2014

Advent / "I know that my Redeemer Lives"

In conversation, the other day, I was reflecting on the fact that Job with all his unanswered questions, unhelpful advisers,  cursing wife, and, of course, the whole pile of misfortunes--the quest for understanding going on for chapter after chapter, seemingly without resolution--did find a resolution in the forward looking to the Redeemer.   This  link is to  a beautiful version  of the scripture in Handel's Messiah sung by a choir boy of the Oxford College.  There is something pure and endearing about the unaffected child's voice.  It lends itself to spiritual songs.

This is what we get from Job; he wanted it remembered:

24"That with an iron stylus and lead They were engraved in the rock forever! 25"As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. 26"Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God;…

JOB 19

--It struck me that in High School English class--many, many moons ago--a book we read dealt with this issue of suffering and Job's unanswered question.  

I recall that I found it moderately distressing.  But I recall also that it did not deal, in the way of modern English-speaking education, with this forward looking hope, with the hope beyond the grave, with the hope in the resurrection, with the hope in the Redeemer of the world, who would come to the earth.  It was omitted in English class.  I remember that. 

People may view this as the pie in the sky, when all else fails last ditch cop-out.  Yet, we do need to come to these places in life where we find our limits, where we know that we are dying, where we know that our accumulated riches won't last, that everything can be gone in a flash, and often is, that we are not as good as we thought...  We need to come to these places.  And all the sudden, the message of the Redeemer, that we have heard becomes the saving message.  It was there all along.  It was announced to us all along.  We have sung Christmas carols all our lives, and even Handel's Messiah has been heard over and over and over again.  And then comes a day, where we love this Redeemer more, need him more, hear him more, yes, because we know that we are dust and to dust we shall return.

But the Redeemer lives, and though worms destroy this body, though my goodness is nothing, though my strength fades, though my glories seem hollow, though nothing is what it is cracked up to be, though disillusionment and nihilism grind my soul to extinction--yet, in my flesh, I shall see God!--!!! With Job and all the saints!--!!!


Hildegard said...

Thank-you for reminding us of these profound truths! I enjoy reading all the diverse topics you bring up! Wishing you a blessed advent.

Brigitte said...

Thanks for being there and commenting, dear Hildegard. Blessed Advent season to you, too. I have let a few things go, so I can think about it more. Do you have mid-week services in your congregation? We don't but I was visiting in the US one time and they had them. Growing up in Germany, we had candle-lighting and singing every evening in the home. And cookies!

Hildegard said...

Yes, Brigitte, our congregation has mid-week services. I love the Evening Prayer service. At our home we light the Advent candles and sing, but (sadly!) not every evening. We would have cookies if I had gotten around to making them, but they're coming: Vanillekipferl!. Blessings!

Brigitte said...

How nice. Vanillekipferl are good. My husband likes jam-filled. I have the recipe somewhere on here. No sense making too much because I don't have enough eaters and everyone is so health conscious. (Which is good.)