Overcome by fear, unconvinced and unwilling to take on the challenge of facing both a beleaguered people and the might of Pharaoh, Moses protests repeatedly. In return he receives the
assurance of divine presence that will direct and empower his mission to the glory of God. All Christians who, like Moses, face the challenge of accepting God’s call need to hear this witness.
Oppression and injustice seem to be the order of the day for many individuals and groups in our society. Violence to body and spirit plagues our communities in cities and suburbs and rural villages. We may well wonder whether God still hears the cry of the people. Certainly we need prophets to speak a word of liberation. The task is overwhelming, and the people of God are overwhelmingly reluctant to accept the challenge.
But God still calls prophets in this day to speak truth to power and to seek liberation for all people. The demand for justice resounds in the voices of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. People of color everywhere cry out in protest against the marginality of an existence that is forced upon them by hegemonic systems that control their lives. Will we answer God’s call and face the challenge that it represents? Or will we Christians, individually and corporately, remain silent, ruled by fear?
God’s promise of presence to a reluctant Moses is the same promise on which all who answer the call to seek freedom and justice for the oppressed can depend. God assures Moses and every reluctant prophet and Christian across the ages and today: “I will be with you.” Our acceptance of that call and our worship of God are ever and always by faith, and our response to that divine directive reflects God’s glory.
Glorious God, empower us by your presence to seek justice and freedom for all. Amen.
In Exodus 3, Moses is moved to inspect the bush because it is an oddity, and in so doing he encounters the presence of the living God. Not even Moses could be prepared for the challenge that ensues. Psalm 105 recites God’s great acts of mercy in Israel’s life; in this instance, focusing on Moses and Aaron. The key verb here is “sent,” and its subject is God. In Romans 12, Paul takes the notion of covenant demand and expounds on it. Christians are called not simply to keep rules; they are transformed and readied for new life in the world. Paul provides an inventory of new life for those who are changed and renewed by the gospel. The Gospel reading is one of Jesus’ most acute reflections on the obedience expected of the faithful. He announces his own destiny of suffering obedience and invites his disciples to share in that radical destiny. For the faithful, there is no “business as usual”; it’s a divine call that brings challenge.
• Read Exodus 3:1-15. Have you experienced God’s call to something you felt ill-equipped for? What did you say to God? to yourself?
• Read Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c. How difficult is it for you to praise God in the midst of turmoil? Why?
• Read Romans 12:9-21. Where in your life do you have opportunities to bless those who curse you?
• Read Matthew 16:21-28. What does your call to discipleship in Christ cost you?
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