Wild fire

Sunday, November 11. Job 19: 23-27a.

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God” (Job 19: 25-27a).

Job sees God as fire. In God’s presence, Job’s skin burns away, yet he remains intact to behold God for himself. It is the mystery of T. S. Eliot’s two kinds of fire in The Four Quartets. One fire consumes while the other purifies. For Job, to step into God’s presence is to be purified in order that “in my flesh I shall see God.” This is the traditional, threefold mystical way of purgation, illumination and union. We must first endure the suffering that comes as we withdraw from evil and sin in order to see God, and then we can participate in union with God.

 

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