Revised Common Lectionary: Genesis 1:1-2:4a; Psalm 8; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; Matthew 28:16-20

Narrative Lectionary: Series on Job, Job 1:1-22

We begin this season after Pentecost with the very beginning on Trinity Sunday—the creation of the earth and its creatures in Genesis 1:1-2:4a. We experience God our Creator making everything and calling it good, but when it comes to humankind, God speaks in the plural: “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.” God may have been speaking to other heavenly creatures, the angels in heaven; Jewish interpretation has the Torah in the beginning with God, and Christian tradition has the Word and the Spirit—the Trinity. In our myriad of understandings of the plural use of language, we know this: God speaks, and all of creation came into being, and it was very good.

Psalm 8 reminds us that human beings were made a little lower than God, crowned with glory and honor. The psalmist wonders in all of God’s wisdom, who and what are we that God cares about us? And yet, God gave us dominion over all creation, to be stewards of all the earth’s creatures, as God is our sovereign and cares for us. How majestic is God’s name, that even the enemies of the people will be silenced in the mouths of babes and children.

Paul concludes the second letter to the church in Corinth with a blessing and an urge to be at peace with each other, and the God of love and peace will be with them. Paul ends the letter with the threefold blessing of “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.”

The final five verses of Matthew’s Gospel account contain the Great Commission by Jesus. The remaining disciples after the resurrection have come to worship him, but Matthew’s account notes that some doubted. Still, Jesus spoke to them, saying that all authority in heaven and earth was given to him, and he directed the disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, and to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—the threefold way Christians are baptized to this day. Jesus calls upon his students to go make more students, and ultimately to remember that he is with them always.

The Narrative Lectionary begins a series on Job. Job is set up as an old story, of God sitting in the heavenly courtroom with the heavenly beings, and Satan enters from having wandered the earth. Satan in Job is ha-satan—The Accuser. Satan is not seen as a being of evil, but rather the one who is set out on the earth to prove who is true and who will fail before God. God boasts of Job, a servant like no other—humble and faithful, but Satan muses that Job has had it easy, that God has blessed him, and if God removes the blessing, Job will curse him. God takes the bet, and lets Satan take everything from Job to see if Job will indeed curse God. However, after Job loses everything—all his cattle and sheep, all of his servants, and all of his children, Job mourns publicly, but does not curse God. He does not blame God for what has happened to him.

God has been made known to us in various ways. As Christians, we have understood God as three-in-one: God the Father, Parent, Creator; God the Son, Jesus Christ our Savior; and the Holy Spirit. There are no perfect metaphors, but one I have loved to use is God Within Us (the Holy Spirit), God Among Us (Christ), and God Beyond Us (Creator). And yet we know the Creator whispers in our hearts, the Holy Spirit moves among us, and Christ reigns forever. Somehow, though, these three persons of the Trinity speak of God in different ways to us. I once heard an Eastern Orthodox priest say that the Trinity is a Mystery—we’re not supposed to understand it—it simply is.

Call to Worship (from Psalm 8:1-2a, 9)
O Lord, our Sovereign,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth!
You have set Your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouths of babes and infants
You have laid a strong foundation.
O Lord, our Sovereign,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth!

Prayer of Brokenness/Confession
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, we know You are the Sovereign of all. Yet we follow false idols of market trends and poll numbers for assurance. We turn to worldly signs in these grim times. Our anxiety and anger and despair all rise and fall—and yet You are our Lord, our Sovereign, the One who reigns forever in our hearts. Call us by name. Remind us of Your enduring steadfast love. Breathe assurance into our hearts and minds, and help us to trust in Your wisdom that prevails over all. In Your Name, our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, we pray. Amen.

Blessing/Assurance
“Remember, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Christ is with us, now and always. The Holy Spirit is in our midst, now and always. God the Creator is creating something new, now and always. We are always loved, always forgiven, always known to God and cannot be forgotten. Know this, and share the Good News. Amen.

Prayer
Wondrous and Amazing God, You inspire us in Your creation to create in our lives. You teach us as Your disciple us to disciple others. You inspire us. You stir in us the spirit of compassion for others as You have compassion for us. You are awe-inspiring far beyond what we can imagine, and yet we dare try. We have a glimpse of Your grace and beauty in our human lives. We have a glimpse of Your majesty and sovereignty in the world You made. We have Your wisdom and insight in our minds and hearts through Your spirit. Call us into a way of life that is worship, that is trust and faithfulness, in our stewardship of the earth and care for each other. In the name of the Creator, Holy Wisdom from on high, and our brother Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

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