Rev. Kathleen Leithner Senior Pastor
Spiders are huge this time of year, and prolific, weaving webs everywhere, suspending them wildly from porch post to tree limb, from gutter to ground, between bush and shrub, porch light and mailbox. Some webs lie like filmy handkerchiefs strewn on the lawn. Others funnel like miniature gauze tornadoes. Still others hang like art, delicately laddered around a central orb, dripping dew like diamonds in the morning sun.
Why now? I’ve wondered every fall. Spiders seem to be everywhere, urgent in their web design. Deadhead the marigolds, and you see them lurking, big as the blossoms, awaiting their prey. Damage a web by walking through it, and it’s rebuilt in a matter of hours.
A little web research reveals that the spiders didn’t just show up now; they’ve been here all along, born tiny in the spring and eating their way to adult size, coming out from the undersides of plants and leaves into the wide open. They’re easier to see now. And they’re competing for space, for web sites where they can capture food. They’re also reaching mating season, so the
males are out “cruising chicks” as one site put it. Winter is coming, and with it the urgency to spawn the next generation.
Winter is coming…and there is something primal about investing in what will outlast the coming storms, indeed in what will outlast us. This time of year we give thanks for harvest and the providence of God. We consider the saints who weathered their own ordeals and hitched their souls to the Eternal One. Much that we cling to is ephemeral…but there is One who is
That theme is taken up in Bildad’s speech in the book of Job, giving us one of the rare mentions in scripture of spiders and webs.
Such is the destiny of all who forget God;
so perishes the hope of the godless.
What they trust in is fragile;
what they rely on is a spider’s web.
They lean on the web, but it gives way;
they cling to it, but it does not hold.
Bildad is implying that Job should repent, but Job has never stopped hitching his soul to God, and will not give up his urgent desire to encounter God face to face. It is Bildad’s easy assumptions that turn out to be as fragile as a spider’s web. Job’s insistent faith endures, beyond the storms, beyond his encounter with the whirlwind, beyond even his own life, a testimony to the generations.
-considering the webs,
Kathy Leithner copyright 10.30.13
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