Caulfield Evangelical Methodist Church
- Weekly Pastoral Message -

"Continuing steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine" Acts 2:42

Weekly Pastoral Message prepared by Rev. Murray Adamthwaite
for Sunday 7th June

From the Pastor: Words to the Anguished

"A word was brought to me stealthily ... Can mankind be just before God?" Job 4:12,17

We have all heard sick jokes along the line, and we discern the pattern: the long build-up, the elaborate and flowery language, then the punch line, usually a cheap pun, but always an anti-climax, a let-down.

Sometimes efforts to console the sad and suffering can have the effect of a sick joke. The "Job's comforters" move in and give such people their simple answers, either from the pulpit, or from the armchair: "These things are sent to try us", or "Cheer up! Things could be much worse!" Perhaps so, but all too often these adages are mere truisms: platitudes which are no help at all, even counterproductive. At times the best that one can say is nothing at all - just be there.

Job's theological counsellors sat still and silent for a week (Job 2:13), then they began to share their wisdom. It had all the earmarks of a sick joke: the long flowery build-up, the tantalizing wait for the great revelation from a learned theologian, the excitement as the moment of truth arrives, only to be told - that no-one is righteous before God! (Job 4:12-17). In Paul's argument in Romans 1-3 this is a profound conclusion; but here it is nothing more than an irrelevant truism.

When our friends or neighbours are in anguish they do indeed cry out for answers, but I suspect that what they really want is a comforting presence, a loving touch, a helping hand, a sacrificial willingness to be on hand, and above all, a prayerful concern (James 5:12). Ultimate answers we cannot offer, but would they be any use in the end? Let us resolve to bear the burdens of those around us in a practical way and so fulfil the law of Christ (Galations 6:2).


Caulfield Evangelical Methodist Church
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