We Are Rocks
Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 78:1-4,12-16; Philippians 2:1-13; Matthew 20:1-16
September 25, 2005
We are baptizing two children today. Last week we baptized one. I hope we can do this every week.
So in a little while we will baptize them INTO the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but INTO what kind of world are we baptizing them? What kinds of churches will these children have and how will the churches of the future compete against fundamentalism, terrorism and politicians who use religion to get votes? Who will be the ministers of the church of these children? What kinds of ministers will they become?
To answer this question I want to lean on our text from Exodus today. To recap, Moses led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt through a miraculous parting of the Red Sea and into the desert to wander for a long time – 40 years. They have no destination, no direction and the people are tired or wandering, tired of not having enough to eat and tired of living day to day on the graces of God. So the people quarrel among themselves and with Moses and his brother Aaron. They grumble, they murmur and they are about to stone Moses for taking them into this inhospitable, lifeless desert. God instructs Moses to take the elders of the tribe with him ahead of the gathering and strike the rock where fresh water will come out for people to drink.
Fortunately Moses was not stoned to death and the people had enough to drink. This story is important to keep in mind as I am going to tell you more stories about ministry, about leadership and about changing lives. Our story from Exodus concludes with Moses asking "Is the Lord among us or not?" This is always a good question to ask about our role in ministry.
Our first ministry story takes us to the African country of Rwanda in 1994. The Hutu tribe has gone on a rampage of violence against the less powerful Tutsi tribe. The world and the United Nations turned its back on Rwa ...
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