Monday, March 18th
Throughout the year, the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ produces the Daily Lectionary for use by churches. These are the suggested readings for March 18th: Exodus 33:1-6; Psalm 105:1-15 [16-41] 42; and Romans 4:1-12. I would encourage you to read these short selections as part of your Lenten practice.
I have never visited Mount Sinai, but it looks inhospitable. It is a rather bleak looking location. It was, however, the place of encounter. This barren terrain is where God descended and Moses ascended, where God conversed with the leader of Israel, and the people of Israel were witnesses. They knew that God abided in this place, no matter how fearful His presence, God abided in this inhospitable place.
It could not have been an easy existence in the Sinai Desert, but the people had grown comfortable with this location. They felt secure in the presence of God. So secure that they did not wish to move on toward the Promised Land. It required a command from Yahweh to compel the people to leave and to continue their journey.
It is not difficult to fall into this enticement of a comfortable religion, the desire to remain in place where once the presence of God was felt. The problem with this stasis, however, is that God is calling us forward, to our Promised Land. We can stay in place, but it seems a bit much to ask the same of God. And so, sometimes, maybe unwillingly, we are called by God to move on, to get up and get moving.
Yesterday in church the young people planted seeds during the Time with Children. It was to try and get across the message that Lent is a time for growth, sometimes unseen, sometimes slow and plodding, but still a time for growth. We even planted more than a single seed in each cup because sometimes one attempt at growth will fail. Lent is leading us forward, even if haphazardly. When the flowers bloom and are transplanted outside, we hope that they will remind us throughout summer of that message of growth.
We sang that day, “In the bulb there is a flower …”. God plants not to keep the seeds, but so that the seeds may blossom. Wherever we may be in our journey of faith, just planted, plodding along, second or third try, or right on schedule, God is calling us forward. We have to guard against trying to stay in place, even if that place was once God in all His awesome power at Mount Sinai, because He will intervene and tell us in no uncertain terms that it is time to continue the journey.
Faith, love and chitchat.
Children Sunday School 9:30-10:30am
Nursery care available during worship