From the Pastor’s Desk

A letter from Pastor Angel

Dear Beloved Church,

 

Parts of the Bible can be quite a slog.  It might seem strange to see that in writing from a pastor, but we think it too!  Because the Bible is a library of  books that were written by different people during particular times in history, some are certainly more helpful to our own time and place than others.  We’ve made it through the sections that contain most of the laws and regulations, and through the royal histories that list all the important names that might not mean much to us. It’s about to get easier! 

 

One genre we are starting soon is called Wisdom Literature.  This includes Job, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.  Generally, wisdom literature is written to teach.  Proverbs and Eccle  were intended as instruction books to young men of Israel’s court.  It’s important to remember that.  They don’t necessarily speak God’s word to a particular situation, but say more about the way of the world in many cases. Take Proverbs 6:6 “Go to the ant, you slacker, observe it’s ways and become wise.”  Not something God said per se, but something a parent might say to their child.

 

Job is also considered Wisdom Literature.  It’s a parable through which the author explores why bad things happen to good people, the nature of grief, support in the midst of suffering, and the mystery of God. 

 

There is also a lot of poetry in the Bible.  While much of it has been mixed in with some of the narratives we read up to this point, the book of Psalms is where we find the bulk of it. Composed throughout Israel’s history, this collection was probably a hymn book for the nation of Israel.  Written to address the happenings in the author’s own time, like modern poetry, we can often see echo's of our own thoughts and feeling in the psalms.  We find praise, fear, despair, doubt, thanksgiving, anger, faithfulness and so much more. Song of Solomon, sometimes called Song of Songs also falls into the poetry category.  Though it has been allegorized throughout the years, it was probably written as a love song between two humans, though of course, all love is a reflection of God’s love.  Consider quoting this book on your next Valentines card, maybe, “your teeth are like a flock of sheep, evenly shorn and just come up from washing!” (4:2)

 

The final book that is considered poetry is Lamentations.  This is a book set in the time of the fall of Jerusalem that expresses the distress of God’s people.  It is a wonderful reminder that calling in grief to God is a faithful act of prayers.

 

The books of wisdom and poetry are a good reminder of how different the lives and times of the Biblical authors were from ours today.  Still, they experienced many of the same struggles and emotions that all humans do, and through it all, runs God’s steadfast love and saving intentions for all the world!

 

Blessings,

Pastor Angel 

 

St. Jacob's is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. Visit the ELCA Website.

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