Weekly Reflection (NEW!)
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Please read Exodus Chapters 3 and 4 in your Bibles.
Moses gets a burning bush. Moses gets a burning bush and the voice of God. Moses gets a burning bush, the voice of God, a walking stick that turns into a snake, that trick with his hand and leprosy, the water turning into blood, and God’s most holy name. What do we get? How do we know for sure that God is with us? A campus pastor once told the story of how his family was on vacation in Chicago. They were driving through a construction zone when suddenly one of the orange barrels broke loose and went flying right across the hood of their car. The campus pastor remarked to his children, “That’s why they call it the Windy City.” The kids thought that was just about the funniest thing they had ever heard. Despite the trips to the museums, a cruise on the lake, and a trip to Navy Pier, the kids remember most vividly that barrel flying across the hood of their car. For months they repeated their father’s comment over and over again. The campus pastor laments, “Why can’t people remember worship like that? Why don’t they see worship as an encounter with the Almighty God?”
If God really wants us to be impressed at worship, why doesn’t God do that trick the Great and Powerful Oz used? The Lion’s knees were really knocking! If God showed up with fireballs, a scary voice, and a huge, green head, wouldn’t people be more likely to listen? Moses got the burning bush package, but he still wasn’t convinced. Just look at all the excuses he used. Moses had a long list: “No one will believe me. Who am I supposed to say again is sending me? I’m not much of a talker. Please send someone else.” The burning bush package didn’t do it for Moses and God was frustrated. God says, “Look, Moses. I’ll send your brother Aaron. He’ll speak for you, and even I will put words in your mouth.” Moses must have thought, “Well, if I don’t have to go alone, I’ll do it.”
We are communal creatures. A youth pastor once described human nature in this way: “If you announce an all expense paid trip to Hawaii, a day at Six Flags, and a cruise around the world, the first question a junior high youth will ask is ‘Who else is going?’” We want to be together. I saw the aurora borealis last November in Pittsburgh. I knew what it was, but I wanted someone else to validate my experience. I wanted someone to believe and share in the experience. We long to be together with one another in a common life.
At 12 Step Meetings they end meetings by saying, “Keep coming back!” In order to kick whatever addiction someone might have that one needs a supportive community. In order for us to be people of faith we need a supportive community. There is a lot of talk today about individual spirituality and doing your own “thing.” The truth is that in long run it won’t work for most even if you get the burning bush package. We are people who long to be in community with one another. We experience God through that community. As we gather around God’s Word, we pray and sing together sharing together our faith in God. As we gather around Christ’s table, we share a meal together receiving in faith Christ’s body and blood, and we know the gifts are for us each because the person next to us gets the same gifts. We know God is present because we are gathered together with others who are confessing that God is present. What we get is a community of faith gathered around God’s promises found in the Word and the Sacraments. It’s no burning bush package of instant faith, but we do come to faith in fits and starts. We do experience Emmanuel—God with us.
Pray with a community of faith to know that you are not alone.