Monthly Archives: February 2013

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“When Moses came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded [by God], the Israelites would see that the skin of Moses’ face was shining brightly. So Moses would put the veil on his face again until the next time he went in to speak with the Lord.” Exodus 34:34b-35 (CEB)

Do you ever crave the divine presence?  The Hebrews who followed Moses out of Egypt craved it over and over again.  Whenever fear set in, anger followed and Moses took the brunt of it.  And each time, Moses went to God and he wrestled.  Just like Jacob wrestled with God during that dark night of his soul.

The Golden Calf was almost their undoing.  Moses took too long on that mountaintop.  Surely he was dead.  And Aaron, inexperienced in leadership and the ways of God, gave them what they asked for.  They loved that symbol of gods.  It was something they could see and touch.  They danced and celebrated god’s presence.

You have to be careful of idols.  They’re oh so comforting.  They offer such peace.  And after awhile, you don’t need God.  All you need is your lovely golden idol and you can do all things.  Or so you think.

Eventually, idols lose their magnificence.  Their shine diminishes; their luster dulls.  And we’re stuck at the base of the mountain wishing God would show up.

Wednesday is Ash Wednesday.  It’s the day after Fat Tuesday, a celebration that probably makes the Golden Calf party look like a funeral.  On Ash Wednesday we put ashes on our foreheads and we remember that we are dust and to dust we’ll return.  We’re nothing apart from God.

Ash Wednesday ushers us into God’s presence and yet another opportunity to prepare ourselves for the greatest event known to humanity: the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

When we hear that Christ conquers death, will it mean anything to us if we don’t enter into a form of our own death during Lent?

It’s hard work. It requires discipline.

Yet, there God stands, issuing the invitation.

How will you respond?

All glory and honor be to God.

Amen.

 

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Is Love a Noun or a Verb?

“Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but is happy with the truth. (I Corinthians 13:4-6 Common English Bible)

I first heard these words in Sunday school when I was in Junior High School.  They were the cause of my marking up my Bible: I never wanted to lose sight of what these words meant.

But, I did lose sight.  As we all have.  We’ve judged others without knowing them first.  We’ve pressed our own version of truth on others when they really weren’t interested in our finger on their chest.  We have turned out back on injustice.  We’ve experienced jealousy and anger.  We have been impatient and rude.

And that’s probably why this reading is so well-loved.  It reads as a piece of poetry, but underneath it compels us and convicts us.  It drives us to try and do better.

Love is a verb because it requires action.  Love isn’t only a feeling.  It’s a doing that points to Jesus and his ministry.

I get tired of movies that depict Jesus as a soft-spoken nice man who never raised his voice.  What about when he tipped over the tables in the Temple?  How nice was he when he stood up to the religious elite who practiced hypocrisy on the backs of the poor?  When the young rich man came to him to ask what he could do to be saved, Jesus loved him.  And then he gave him  a tough love sort of answer: sell everything you own and follow me.

Love may be hard work, but it’s worthy of the effort.  Love brings about greater understanding and insight into truth.  Love helps us see in others what we might ordinarily miss.  Love opens us up to creative solutions.

Love is grounded in meaning and requires of us our entire selves.

I prefer it that way.  Love as a noun is passive and inactive.  Love as a verb calls us into the fray to make a difference in our world.  And until we see our Lord coming back, we need faith and hope and love to see us through.

All glory and honor be to God.

Amen.

 


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