Tomorrow evening at 7:30, (with dinner at 6:30 downstairs in St. Andrew's Hall) we will gather for a simple midweek service of Holy Communion. As we gather around word and sacrament, prayer and song, we will also be taking a deeper look at the faith of Moses.
Now to set the table, remember that God interrupts Moses' relatively peaceful life with a call to go back to Egypt to confront Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of slavery. And Moses' response is, "Really! Who am I? Why me?" That question "Why?" when it applies to our lives can be problematic because not every "Why?" question has an easy answer.
- When dreams for a job, our family, or retirement don't unfold as we hoped or planned
- When someone we love gets really sick or dies
- When we bear the brunt of a conflict at work, at home, or at church
- When violence or natural disaster claims innocent lives
The question of why bad things happen to good people is one that has been asked throughout human history. Yet remember that in the act of creation God didn't get rid of the chaos but instead pushed it aside as he was creating the world. So there are still moments when chaos breaks into our lives, disrupting things and challenging us. And at times we contribute to the chaos with our own bad choices. This is not the answer that we probably want but remember that when it comes to unsatisfactory answers to tough questions, we are in some pretty good company, with Moses and a great cloud of witnesses throughout scripture.
When we are struggling, going through a rough patch, and know that we are being called to do something challenging, we are going ask "Why? Why me?" but we are rarely left with a satisfactory answer. Moses' story and faith journey doesn't solve this problem but gives us a different way to think about these challenges. Moses' story reminds us that that in our challenges, God isn't away on vacation somewhere while our lives unfold or unravel. No, God is right here with us and promises to give us courage, strength, ability to speak, people to support us, and whatever else we need to face a difficult challenge. And when we are able to get to a place of acceptance, of knowing that we can't change the situation nor can we understand why it's happening, then we are freed to ask different questions. "Where is God present right now? And by his grace, how am I going to get through this?
We too worship the God of Moses, not the "Why?" God but the "I AM" God, the one who promises to be with us always, the one who doesn't offer all of the answers but does welcome our questions, and the one who gives us the tools and the traveling companions we need to face life's challenges along the way. Thanks be to God. See you in church!