Artwork: Marc Chagall, Job Disconsolate
You fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessing on your head
Dear Friends in Christ,
A few days ago I experienced my first monsoon here in Tucson. As the clouds built up, and the wind whipped itself into a frenzy, I couldn’t help but to dread the oncoming storm. Myself and the other Beloveds filed into St. Andrews’ Mary Chapel to say Compline, and as we prayed, the storm let loose with a mighty rush of rain. After Compline ended, two of my housemates rushed outside to joyfully splash and play in the massive puddles that filled the courtyard between the church and the vicarage where we live.
We are all filled with foreboding and dread in these times. For some of us, it is dread as we realize we won’t be able to celebrate Christmas the way we have in years past. For others, it’s foreboding with the dawn of a new school year and worrying about the safety of our family and friends as we hear news reports out of college campuses in North Carolina.
Job felt foreboding, too. As we have read this past week, he lost all he had—his family, his property, and his very health. He now sits in filth and disease, scraping at sores with his potsherds, and his wife and friends urge him to give up—to curse God and die.
And yet, Job holds fast to his faith. For us, of course, we know the end of the story: Job gets all he has back and more. But he sits and meditates on what he possibly could have done to deserve this punishment, listening to his friends and family tell him it’s his own fault, that surely he had sinned. And as he does so, he surely wonders, much as we do, “What’s next?”
As I read the readings for today, I was reminded of an old hymn that kept me centered in the midst of my difficult childhood: “God Moves in a Mysterious Way.” We don’t always know why things are happening to us. We cry out to God, “Why me?” And yet, the clouds continue to gather overhead. Throughout this year, as trial after trial was thrown our way, the words of that hymn rang through my mind.
No matter what Satan and the powers of this world throw at us, we can rest in the knowledge that God is there with us, walking alongside us, and giving us strength. And at the end of the day, when the clouds break, there will be dancing and joy in the puddles of God’s mercy and love.
In joyful expectation,
Sam J. Christopher (they/them)
Beloved in the Desert intern