|Sekinah Hamlin and Jack Sullivan (thanks for the photos!)|
Monday, March 9, 2015
"Choose some men for us and go out, fight with Amalek." (Exodus 17:9)
Have you ever had to make a choice about who you would take with you to do something troublesome and hard? What guided your decision about who you wanted at your side?
In this week's scripture from Exodus we find God's people being sniped at from the rear as they wander, lost in the wilderness. A band of nomads known as the Amalekites are preying on the former slaves, only recently liberated from Egypt. Strangers and sojourners in a hostile desert, the Israelites don't know what to do. At the back of their caravan are the heavily burdened, the tired, the weak, children, pregnant mothers, the injured, disabled, and elderly. Rather than confronting the strong ones leading the refugees from the front, the Amalekites intentionally go after the easy pickins' straggling behind.
Moses singles out a young man named Joshua (this is the first time he is mentioned in scripture) and assigns him the role of army recruiter. Someone needs to stop the Amalekites. Joshua chooses those who will fight back against the marauders and Moses chooses two close relatives, Aaron and Hur, to accompany him where he will stand overseeing the battle ground. It seems both Joshua and Moses choose well. When Moses' arms grow weary, Aaron and Hur support him so Moses can support the "boots on the ground" with signs of God's strengthening presence while they fight for their lives. Joshua's newly formed army defeats the Amalekites and the journey of God's people continues.
What a difference it makes --- choosing the right people to have at your side.
Posted by UniPlaceRev at 10:22 AM
Monday, March 2, 2015
Posted by UniPlaceRev at 11:48 AM
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
I've been thinking all week about those Israelites at the seashore and their second thoughts about leaving Egypt. Faced with the vast uncertainty of what awaited them on the other side of that frightening sea, they were quick to wax nostalgic about the life they had left behind. Whitewashing the memories of brick-making quotas, the whips of their masters, and the greed of Pharoah, they only remembered the security of sameness.
"Let us serve the Egyptians." How many times have I chosen the predictability of the past rather than risk walking off that set? How often have a taken tentative steps toward freedom only to look over my shoulder and wonder if I could sprint back to where I was? God help us, lest we forget that freedom lies on the other side of the sea change.
Posted by UniPlaceRev at 4:09 PM
I drove to church this week behind this guy. Kinda turns the whole "vanity plate" idea on its head, doesn't it?
Posted by UniPlaceRev at 3:54 PM
Posted by UniPlaceRev at 9:09 AM
A Welcoming Prayer
by The Ponderer
And so we gather at the table.
We come from many places,
differing in age, differing in race,
differing in orientation, politics and even religion.
As we come together around the table
we discover that our differences
are not something we tolerate
but that our differences are indeed a blessing,
the more difference we bring, the more fully we experience
the presence of the sacred in our midst.
So come, children of God, just as you are.
Wherever you are on this journey of life,
you are welcome here,
here in this place,
here in this community,
here at this table.
Come, children of God,
come and remember with us.
Posted by UniPlaceRev at 9:04 AM
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
When God tells Moses to head back to Egypt (which he has wisely left after committing murder there) Moses replies, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ It seems a fair question. At the moment, Moses is no more than a fugitive from justice hiding out in the wilderness, pursuing the lowly occupation of shepherd to his father-in-law's sheep. But God sees in Moses what Moses cannot see in himself. Requiring him to remove the sandals from his feet, God grounds this experience of holiness in the very soil from which every human has come. With no barrier between Moses and the earthy reminder of all our beginnings ("from dust you have come and to dust you will return") Moses is simultaneously brought low and lifted up.
On Ash Wednesday at UniPlace we each received the sign of the cross on our foreheads to these words: From dust you came and to dust you will return. On the journey between, go with God. Standing on holy ground, Moses' call is grounded in God's passion for justice and his identity is lifted high, to be more than he thought he could be.
Posted by UniPlaceRev at 5:00 PM
When I walk into a restaurant or store, I admit, I am usually focused on my own agenda and may not look side to side. This sometimes results in offending someone two feet away, trying to get my attention.
Today I was reading Exodus 3:1-15 and was struck by the words, Moses said, "I must turn aside and look at this great sight." The great sight was a burning bush, ablaze but not consumed. We know the story. The bush was a revelation of God's call for justice and liberation. By choosing a diversion from his own agenda, by turning aside and looking, Moses opened himself to the risky business of answering God's call. I wonder what it will take for me to interrupt my daily routine and notice what is two feet away, hear the cries of God's people, and receive the summons to action.
Here's another verse from our theme hymn for Lent, Ours the Journey:
Posted by UniPlaceRev at 4:15 PM