Grace and peace to you, Friends in Christ,
So, confession time: I’ve pulled a Moses once or twice before – I’ve pulled a Moses on God, to be specific! They’re certainly not the moments that a pastor should be proud of but they’re most definitely the moments about which we should talk. Now, I don’t mean for us to talk about my shortcomings per se, though I’m sure that would keep us occupied for a while, but why not to look at how we have this tendency to avoid God when God is calling us, whether God keeps calling quietly, or as loud and clear as that burning bush.
Actually, there are times, many times, when I wish God would do more of those kinds of calling that are as loud and clear as that burning bush. Those kinds where you have no doubt that this is what God wants for you or your family or your church or your life, because if we know the will of God for our lives, then isn’t it that much easier for us to act on it, follow it, and live it? Apparently, it wasn’t for Moses!
You see, Moses was living his relatively structured life when God first spoke to him – he married, became a father, and kept a watch over his father-in-law’s flocks, far away from Egypt, which he fled after he killed an Egyptian guard in defense of a fellow Israelite. So Moses is done! And there is no way he is going back to Egypt! Burning bush or not, God’s will or not, it’s just not happening, Lord!
There are times when we feel and are just as done with everything as Moses was – you know, those annoying moments of life when your intention is good but it backfires on you? Those instants when we don’t necessarily want to have anything to do with this Mighty God who calls us to the ways of justice. Or those occasions when we decide to give it a try and attempt to do the right thing but it ends up in a disaster for all those involved. Because life is never black-and-white, and there are times when life likes to surprise us or just flat out aggravate us. In those times I have a tendency to make my mind up, pull a Moses, turn on my selective hearing aid, and act out of reluctance, kind of like my two year old, throwing a tantrum and doing the fake tears, especially if God’s plan doesn’t fit my perfectly planned out schedule or my securely thought out life.
You may not be as dramatic as my daughters, or as this family of two preachers and their two little ones, but we all have moments when going with God’s call either scares the fool out of us, or it upsets our plans, or it doesn’t align with our understanding of how life should work, or even with how the church should be and operate. Then we throw that metaphorical tantrum or go with selective hearing or convince ourselves that, surely, that burning bush is just a whole bunch of baloney, because why would God want to challenge our comfort zones? But imagine, imagine if we decide to brave it out and step out of reluctance into our God ordained purpose? When we actually get excited about the opportunity that God is calling us into with a promise of a future and hope!
Imagine, let your mind wander just for a moment here and then, get excited! Excited about the opportunity we will have to interact with people who think differently than us. Excited about the opportunity we will have to engage in problem solving as we will continue growing and learning and understanding what it is in our culture and society and community that requires change for the common good of those around us. Excited about the opportunity we will have to embrace difference and difficulty, to learn to listen to worldviews and standpoints other than ours, to help fix what needs fixing, and to find our own place here in Port Washington – the community where God has placed our congregation, and each and every one of us with a very specific purpose.
And so it is with great trust and confidence in God that we can step out into the unknown, following to places where the Almighty is calling us, according to the mandate of Jesus Christ, to be a light in dark places and to be the change that we wish to see in the world [Mahatma Gandhi]. And Christ? He will be right there beside us, holding our hand, cheering us up, our biggest fan and supporter, going with us every step of the way, ever reminding us to keep on loving those around us, to keep an outward focus, to speak God’s truth, to plug into the lives of people around us, and to shine our light out for the glory of our Mighty Lord. Just imagine!
Grace and peace,