Show Me Your Glory
Exodus 33:12-23; Psalm 99; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10; Matthew 22:15-22
October 16, 2005
Moses could have chosen a very comfortable wealthy life as one of Pharaoh's elite inner circle. When Moses learned of his true origins with the Israelites he chose a different and much more difficult path. God called Moses out of his comfortable life to become the leader of a group of slaves.
At each point on the exodus journey of the Israelites, Moses receives an unmistakable sign from God: the parting of the Red Sea, the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, the conversations with God, the water struck from a rock in the desert, the manna and quail in the desert, the burning bush, the giving of the tablets of the law on Mt. Sinai and today's theophany where God's glory passes by Moses.
Most of us would be completely changed if we experienced just one of those encounters with God in our entire lives. Moses seemed to have a direct encounter with God on a monthly basis.
The central problem everyone has with God's calling and our discernment is that most of us want to seek and serve God, but we are never completely sure just exactly what we are to do. Then when we are doing something, we are never sure it is the right thing. For this reason I have often envied Moses. After all, God provided a sign for Moses at every step along the way that he was doing the right thing.
Wouldn't it be easier for the rest of us to be assured that serving on the vestry or working on the altar guild or gardening or working as an interim rector was exactly God's calling? Imagine that you are out trimming the bushes at church one afternoon and suddenly the bush catches fire (without being consumed the Bible tells us) and a voice comes out of the bush and says "Pam, you have found favor in my sight. Trim this bush."
Or imagine I am doing a baptism some Sunday and the altar guild managed not to put any water out for the baptism. Suddenly I hear a voice that says "Father Bob, strike the font with your prayer book." I do and water fills the basin. Those just might be subtle cues telling us that we are on the right track.
I don't know whether Pam has had any bushes catch fire and talk to her or not, but I can tell you that not one of my baptisms has involved any secret voices or automatic water. Most of us just plod along doing what we are doing hoping that we are doing what God wants us to do. It would be nice though if every now and then God would show us some little sign.
Moses expresses this same sentiment in his remarkable dialogue with God. At first he appeals to God on behalf of the Israelites but then at the very end, Moses appeals to God on behalf of himself. Moses asks to see God's glory. "Show me your glory I pray."
Isn't that the way all of us are? When we are making big decisions in our lives to move, to change jobs, to have children, to put mom in a nursing home and etc. we want som ...
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