From the Editor-In-Chief
Greetings in the precious name of the Lord!
In every round of proclamation, the preachers lift up our spirit, so we can always bear more than we think we can—with hearty gladness. Their message enables us to keep our heads up and walk tall for all seasons and through all situations. Thanks to the servants of the kingdom of God, we take delight in that we are privileged to lean on our Savior. Though contemporary circumstances may seek to underscore how fragile a world we live in and how vulnerable we are, we are confident that God will carry us through to the end of the ages.
We can imagine how preachers are obliged to wrestle with the angel over nearly insurmountable contradictions in life. They interface between divine and human with courage, so that the worshippers of God may assess reality with serenity. We can dare to hope beyond what we can see in the immediate context of history.
The Letter of James affirms the reason for hope in light of the kingdom that is at once here and on the way. It says, “Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord,” just as the farmer looks forward to the harvest (5:7). This so-called wisdom piece in the New Testament reminds us that there is a blessing in endurance as Job has demonstrated (v. 11).
Job’s story is thoroughly familiar to us. Through unspeakable trials, he abided in faithfulness. Many commentators add that whereas we have such a depiction of Job the Patient in the prologue of the canonical book, the poetic body starting in chapter 3 puts forth a rather irascible sufferer, traditionally known as Job the Impatient. Some commentators cite the Greek translation of Job 14:19, where Theodotion the Jewish scholar of the second century CE translates, “. . . and you destroyed human endurance.” Their weary conclusion imagines Job turning his back to endurance. But I wonder whether Theodotion only seeks to reproduce how firmly Job was determined to engage God in a situation that offers no reason to persist in doing that.
Such a contradiction may be at work in Emil Fackenheim’s presentation of the 614th commandment in the wake of the Holocaust. According to tradition, there are 613 commandments in the Torah. The philosopher proposes one more. This addition commands that the Jewish people live on and refuse to forget the horror of history. His overture may have a particular and even secular overtone, but its fundamental theological undergirding is a gift to believing communities, when it stipulates no surrender to despair. We are to remain ever hopeful through faith in God.
In this new issue, our authors challenge us to recognize that endurance signifies not so much hardness of certain situations but the hardiness of the faithful. They remind us of the grace of resilience. For that we are eternally grateful.
Peace and strength,
Jin H. Han
Editor in Chief