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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Where were you?

What if each Sunday morning, we began our confession of sin with the hard questions God asks Job?

That’s what preacher Melinda Quivik asked assembly-goers at Monday’s communion service, using Job 38:1-11 and Matthew 8:23-27. She provided some examples: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” and “Just who do you think you are?”

“God’s holy word puts us in our place,” she said. “Who among us knows how to measure God’s grace ... whether it has limits or where those limits might be? [This assembly faces] two big questions: By what shall our worship be guided in the coming generations? And who among the baptized is truly, fully welcome at the table, to serve at the table, to administer the sacraments?”

“C’mon, sister, preach!” several worshipers shouted.

Quivik then said Job was caught in a painful whirlwind of not only lost family, livelihood and health but “so-called friends, who, although they’ve come to comfort him, end up blaming him for his condition. ... They mean to correct him so he can be made acceptable to God. Do we do that with one another? ... God doesn’t speak to uphold the position of Job’s critics. God speaks to Job ... to reassure and resurrect.

“How is this body, the ELCA, being called today to hold the extremes together? Just as the amazed ‘church’ in the boat in Matthew’s story asked, ‘What sort of man is this?’ they invite us to ask, ‘What sort of body are we? ... Are we afraid of the waves? Why? ... The waters that burst from the womb of chaos in the beginning of time, corralled by our Creator, are still the waters that make a home for the church in the boat, as the boat, through the waters of baptism.”


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