Monthly Archives: March, 2013

Peter’s Redemption

Luke 24:1-12

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Resurrection of Jesus

24 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body.[a] While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women[b] were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men[c] said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.[d] Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

You know those days – we all have them.  We have the best of intentions and set out to do our part to make the world a better place through our small niche of interactions, actions and reactions.  Then it all goes horribly wrong.  We make mistake after mistake and even begin to marvel at how absolutely screwed up things have gotten over a relatively short period of time.  Those days it may seem even hard to put words together to fully state the crazy events of the day, because it is just THAT BAD.  Then we go to bed, glad to have the day behind us, only to awaken with a fresh start and a renewed spirit (hopefully we were able to put the bad day behind us!).

Let’s face it – Thursday and Friday before Easter were some really bad days for Jesus’ friend and follower, Peter.  Up until that point, things had really been rocking along with the disciples.  They were witness to powerful miracles and developing an intensely personal relationship with Jesus.  He was dropping hints about leaving them but I’m sure those subtle statements just rolled away like water off a duck’s back.  There was simply no way for mere humans to understand the power of Jesus’ words about leaving – things were just too great to stop it all now.  Peter was one of those closest to Jesus, so it must have been quite a surprise to hear – right from Jesus’ mouth – that Peter would deny knowing him not once, but three times.  But deny him is exactly what we read that Peter did following Jesus’ arrest.  Did he set out to do that – of course not.  In fact, I am sure he couldn’t believe he had done it either when he heard that rooster crow the last time.  But none of us knows what we will do in a scary conflict until we are there.  Peter must have felt incredibly disappointed in himself.  Then the events of the crucifixion unfolded and Peter had to have known he played a key role in the process.  My bad days haven’t ever really been THAT bad, but Peter’s feelings of devastation must have been so very overwhelming as he watched his friend die that Friday afternoon.

But the opportunity for redemption came much sooner than any of them expected!  Peter was the first to hop up and take off running for the tomb when he heard the news that his friend was risen again, just as he said he would.  Peter felt “amazed at what had happened.”  The word amazed is probably the best English word choice based on translation, but seems to be very much an understatement.  When Jesus rose from the dead after the dark and confusing weekend following his death, thinking of it today as amazing seems also to fall short of how mysterious this would have been for Jesus’ friends and followers, especially for Peter.

In our Christian faith, Easter is the big one!  It’s the day in the church that represents our foundational belief that Jesus Christ came to save us from ourselves.  I’ve made some sacrifices in my life for those I love, but none can even scratch the surface of the sacrifice that God made to share this gift of his son with us, even when we obviously weren’t deserving of it.  Jesus Christ is risen today, as we celebrate every Easter morning, with the promise of new life in him.  I’m sure his friends were all grateful once they realized who he was (another blog post about how confusing that must have been to not even recognize him when they saw him!), but I’m sure that Peter’s feelings were just indescribable.

Our lives intersect with Peter’s in so many ways.  We have denied our Lord many more than three times.  We have turned away as things are going badly and we make sure to protect ourselves when confronted with challenges to our beliefs.  But Peter and all the rest of us children of God get both grace and mercy on this beautiful Easter morning.  Peter spent the rest of his life doing what God called him to do, spreading the word of God to all who would listen and dedicating his work to fulfilling the promise of the Holy Spirit.  It seems to me to be the very least we can do as we are renewed and redeemed through the death and resurrection of Christ.

Gracious God, lover of all souls, bring us closer to you through the gift of your Son to the world. We are redeemed through the resurrection and we know what you ask of us as we walk with you in our daily lives.  We commit to you that we will love one another and spread the Good News.  Jesus Christ is Risen Today – Alleluia!  Thanks be to God.  AMEN.

Passing the Buck

Luke 23:1-49

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Jesus before Pilate

23 Then the assembly rose as a body and brought Jesus[a] before Pilate. They began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man perverting our nation, forbidding us to pay taxes to the emperor, and saying that he himself is the Messiah, a king.”[b] Then Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He answered, “You say so.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no basis for an accusation against this man.” But they were insistent and said, “He stirs up the people by teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to this place.”

Jesus before Herod

When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him off to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had been wanting to see him for a long time, because he had heard about him and was hoping to see him perform some sign. He questioned him at some length, but Jesus[c] gave him no answer. 10 The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. 11 Even Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him; then he put an elegant robe on him, and sent him back to Pilate. 12 That same day Herod and Pilate became friends with each other; before this they had been enemies.

Jesus Sentenced to Death

13 Pilate then called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and here I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him. 15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. Indeed, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16 I will therefore have him flogged and release him.”[d]

18 Then they all shouted out together, “Away with this fellow! Release Barabbas for us!” 19 (This was a man who had been put in prison for an insurrection that had taken place in the city, and for murder.) 20 Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again; 21 but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” 22 A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him flogged and then release him.” 23 But they kept urgently demanding with loud shouts that he should be crucified; and their voices prevailed. 24 So Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted. 25 He released the man they asked for, the one who had been put in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over as they wished.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

26 As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. 28 But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the days are surely coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32 Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus[e] there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. [[34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”]][f] And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35 And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah[g] of God, his chosen one!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him,[h] “This is the King of the Jews.”

39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding[i] him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah?[j] Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into[k] your kingdom.” 43 He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

The Death of Jesus

44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land[l] until three in the afternoon, 45 while the sun’s light failed;[m] and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. 47 When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent.”[n] 48 And when all the crowds who had gathered there for this spectacle saw what had taken place, they returned home, beating their breasts. 49 But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

Remember the childhood game of “Hot Potato?”  The goal of the game was to pass an item of some sort from one person to another while music played.  When the music stopped, the person holding the item (or “hot potato”) was out.  No one wanted to be holding the item when the music stopped!  That game reminds me of the passing of the buck as Jesus was brought before Pilate.  As Pilate begins his inquisition, he soon realizes that this is somewhat of a witch hunt; no real crimes have been committed by Jesus.  He asks if Jesus is Galilean, and when he learns that is true, sends him off to Herod, who just happened to be passing through the area.  I’m sure he did so with a big sigh of relief, thinking that now this problem of Jesus and what to do to appease the chief priests and crowds that have gathered has just been taken off his plate.

Herod has waited for this for a while – a chance to see what this Jesus can really do!  He has heard about the miracles and the great following of Jesus, but Jesus is no trained monkey.  He doesn’t perform miracles on command for Herod at all, much to Herod’s disappointment, I am sure!  So Herod and his authorities dressed him to mock him as a king, and then sent him back, passing the hot potato yet again.  I have this image of Pilate smacking his forehead and shaking his head, as this problem appears right back in his lap.  But instead of decision making, the job of Pilate in the first place, he turns to the crowd and asks them their thoughts.  Passing the hot potato, yet again.

The Disney movie “Shrek” has a mob scene at the beginning of the movie, where the townspeople are chasing after this cartoon ogre with pitchforks and fire.  As you watch the movie, Shrek’s loveable and caring sides come out, and you forget all about how the townspeople were gunning for Shrek from the start.  That “mob mentality” ruled the day on that sad Friday all those years ago.  The shouts to release Barabbas, a known murderer, and to crucify Jesus may have started with just a few of the folks in the crowd, but the adrenaline and frenzy of the crowd grew and grew, just like at a sporting event or rock concert.  Before you know it, you’re high fiving strangers after a play as if you actually had a hand in the action on the field.  From our 20,000 feet view of 2000 years of time passing, it seems incredulous that the very people who had witnessed Jesus living his life with love and extraordinary miracles would just turn on a dime and demand his death.  So Pilate passes the hot potato this last time, reluctantly agreeing to the wishes of the crowd, even when knowing that the decision had no basis on fact.

How many times do we as Christians pass the buck when God leads us to a place where we would rather not be?  “Not me, Lord; this is too hard, the burden too great,” we say to ourselves.  “Maybe someone else will help that guy out.”  “Maybe another person will support this ministry.” “We had a late Saturday night with friends – I think we’ll just sleep in on Sunday morning.”  You know we’ve all said one or more of these types of responsibility avoidance statements.  Pilate saw his hands as clean from Jesus’ bloodshed, because he only just did what the people demanded.  But when we avoid our responsibilities, commitments, and duties and the hands and feet of God in this world, they don’t go away.

As we enter this Holy Week, listen carefully and answer God’s call to us.  It may be a quiet whisper in the wind or a shout from a mountaintop.  Don’t deny Him when He calls.

Dear Father, we know you love us.  We don’t deserve the grace and mercy you pour out on us every day.  Give us the will to persevere and do your work to glorify your name, even when it seems to hard or the crowds are leading us elsewhere.  Thank you for giving your son to die for us.  We love you, Lord.  In Jesus’ name.  AMEN.

Press On

Philippians 3:4-14

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

4 even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh.

If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.

7 Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ,[a] the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 I want to know Christ[b] and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Pressing toward the Goal

12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;[c] but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Beloved,[d] I do not consider that I have made it my own;[e] but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly[f] call of God in Christ Jesus.

Resilience is not a quality a lot of Americans seem to have today. As a school principal, I see that in our students, their families and our staff; as a parent I see it in my teenager; in myself, I see it loud and clear when I’m faced with something uncomfortably challenging. Our instant gratification society doesn’t lend itself well to the concept of pressing on during times of trial. I think I struggle with persisting in the face of uncertainty because I lose confidence. I become unsure of my decisions, my skills, the conditions aren’t what I predicted they would be and/or I just don’t enjoy the resistance that comes with pressure to succeed. Correcting my course is often more about self-preservation than discerning God’s call for me to walk in the intended path.

But our path in walking with Jesus Christ is nothing if not unpredictable. We as humans, make and execute plans and then the road curves in a way we had not foreseen and so we chart new courses or correct our direction to accommodate the challenge. But when we do this alone, relying solely on our intuition and innate skills and talents, we will miss the mark and either give up or persist in a direction not laid out for us through faith. Paul’s words to his friends in the church in Phillipi reveal more to me about Paul’s unwavering commitment to living the life God intends for us…such a dramatic TRANSFORMATION for a man who mocked and persecuted the followers of Jesus. He turned his life so completely to Christ that when he says, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus,” he has a credibility that perhaps a less zealous follower of Jesus wouldn’t be so fortunate to have.

Paul shares that all that he valued has lost meaning to him in the face of his relationship with Christ. I look around my home and see all the “stuff” I have acquired; things I valued as important and even necessary when purchased or received as gifts. These things have, unfortunately at times, taken a place of worship instead of my unfailing focus on God. Paul states, “More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” What a pure way of viewing those things which stand between us and a deeper walk with God, that it is our LOSS when we focus on those instead of keeping our eye on the prize of everlasting life. Life is certainly not simple, but it is made much more complicated when we clutter our worlds with things to entertain us, make us feel prideful and distract us from our mission to be Christ’s work in the world. But getting rid of stuff isn’t the goal set by Paul in his statement to the Philippians; rather that they lose their luster when we step back and measure those things that have value compared to our Lord.

So, let’s all agree that we must persist in keeping our focus on our true north of deepening our relationship with Christ. Identify the things standing in the way of that and move them out of the way. Choose to lower their value and raise the importance of our faith in God. Press on, even when it’s hard. Gaining righteousness from God based on faith, as Paul describes in his journey, sounds like a better way of living while we work to share Christ’s love with the world.

Father, help us to see the value in our relationship with you more than we see the value of the stuff surrounding us. Give us the strength and courage to press on in our walk, knowing that life everlasting is far more rewarding than our cluttered lives. We adore you Jesus, and praise your name every day. Amen.

What, Me Worry?

The Mission of the Seventy

10 After this the Lord appointed seventy[a] others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’[b]

As long as I have known my Mother-in-Law, she has been a worrier.  We have a joke in our house that we can just tell her our worries and she’ll free us up to live without the worry anymore, because she is doing all the worrying FOR us! But in reality, worrying just gets in the way of our close relationship with Christ, because worrying is the very thing Jesus tells these early evangelists NOT to do as he sends them to unknown destinations to spread the word of God to unbelievers in a time where it was inherently dangerous to do so.  Sending them out “like lambs in the midst of wolves” speaks of Jesus knowing full well the dangers that each of us face as we carry our torch of faith into the broken and misguided world in which we live.  Yet he asks us to press on, just as he directed these seventy chosen faithful when he told them to stay put, no matter the welcome.

But let’s be real.  If I am in an uncomfortable setting, the last thing I want to do is to stay there!  And who likes to be rejected when we try to form new relationships and step out of our comfort zones?  But if we stand firm in our beliefs and listen to God as He calls us into the world to do the work of the Holy Spirit, even when we we are sincerely uncomfortable, He reminds us that we are sharing the Kingdom and our works may not produce the fruit we want, but rather what HE wants.  And when you think about it, growth is uncomfortable!

Stay strong, dear followers of Jesus.  For as we go out into the world,  Jesus reminds us that in doing so, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”  How can we want more for our world if we worry about going out into that world?  We are armed with faith and love and that really is all we need to make a difference.

Father, send us out into your Kingdom to do your good works.  We give our worries up to you.  Guide us and protect us in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Anyone Can Relate to the story of the Prodigal Son, Right? Let’s Talk Reconciliation

I mean really, the story of the prodigal son returning home to his father as his somewhat bitter and older brother looks on in disbelief from Luke is a story that can resonate with just about all of us.  But what about the reading from 2 Corinthians?

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view;[a] even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view,[b] we know him no longer in that way. 17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself,[c] not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Remember that saying from the 90s, “WWJD?”  What Would Jesus Do?  This started in Michigan in the Youth Ministry arena, as a way to help make clear for teenagers that our actions are reflections of our relationship with our Lord.  The saying WWJD went viral back when a virus wasn’t contracted through the internet – pretty amazing when you think about it!  This form of reminder, just like the verse 20 above, “So we are ambassadors for Christ…” is a look at the intimacy of our intended relationship with Christ.  My parents used to tell me, and I in turn have said the same words to my teenager, “You are who your friends are.”  The intent of these words was to serve as a reminder when surrounding yourself with buddies who may or may not make the kind of choices that positively influence you as you are maturing.  But that is really what Paul is telling the folks of Corinth.  God is making his appeal through us, he says, and that means we lay folks are the way to Christ for the people we meet.  In a talk I heard recently, an informal show of hands was asked for, as to how each of us came into our relationship with Christ – either through the lay of the church or through the clergy of the church.  Not one hand went up in answer to the clergy portion, with the group having a very LOUD “aha” moment that our role as the body of Christ is indeed as God intended it, “…so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  Paul tells the Corinthians that we are all given a new chance at reconciliation through Christ – a big “do-over” for our lives because Jesus gave his life for our sins.

How many times have you thought that you didn’t deserve the grace that you received because of the terrible sins and mistakes that have plagued your life?  That is the greatest mystery in reconciliation; that we don’t get what we deserve by our actions (Thank you God for MERCY!!) and we do get God’s grace even when we don’t deserve it?  It is a mystery to me because it runs contrary to our human nature.  We look at those who experience some radical success after they have shown themselves to be undeserving in some way and likewise, we are stunned when bad things happen to good people we know.  We are confused and devastated in both cases, because we are viewing all this through our human lens.  When we step back and really examine God’s decision to send Jesus to live among us and die specifically for us, then grace and mercy seem more than enough for us to use to live out the righteousness God intended.  Reconciliation is new life in Christ and through our relationship with him, with those in our lives.  It’s an action word, not a passive feeling.

What relationship in your life needs reconciliation?  What will your action be?

Coveting the Burning Bush

Exodus 3:1-15

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Moses at the Burning Bush

3 Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 10 So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12 He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”

The Divine Name Revealed

13 But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”[a] He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,[b] the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’:

This is my name forever,
and this my title for all generations.

I’ve always wanted to hear God speak to me.  I would prefer just a booming, deep voice, preferably starting with my name so I don’t mistake the voice as speaking to someone else instead of me (as if I have a choice!).  I happen to be a pretty literal person, with very pale shades of gray mixed in to the contrast of my black and white world.  Being literal means that I sometimes feel like I don’t hear back from God when I pray (I could write another entire entry about how much I am sure God doesn’t hear me talk to Him much either….).  It is only from the 20,000 ft. aerial view that I can easily discern God’s hand and works in my life.  In the moment, a “burning bush” type of message would certainly be appreciated.

But what would I do if that actually happened?  Here is Moses, finding a way to be fulfilled by tending the flock for his father-in-law, as a dutiful son-in-law should.  Then, when least expected, a VERY OBVIOUS message from God is literally on fire in front of him, full of the sound effects of the booming voice of God and a message that would have been very difficult to hear, not to mention to abide.  God isn’t just talking to Moses as an answer to prayer; but rather God is asserting His will in a most “in your face” type of way.  Ignore that?  Luckily Moses didn’t.  I hope that the writer of Exodus neglected to give us the whole story, the part where Moses was completed freaked out and asking a zillion questions about the bush itself, how in the world he would be able to go back to Pharoah after his somewhat memorable last departure, and that whole bit about freeing the Israelites?  How in the world was Moses going to be able to get that done?  And why the burning bush?  Was He trying to speak to Moses in the quiet times during his prayers and Moses couldn’t/wouldn’t hear or heed the message, so the burning bush became necessary?

So maybe a burning bush message sounds like God’s way of getting Moses to do a 180 degree turn, sending him on a life path that he never dreamed of, wanted for himself or his family and that seemed unbelievably daunting.  Maybe that is why God chooses a more subtle way to get my attention, because His plan for me doesn’t require a burning bush type of message.  I need to tranquilize those monkeys in my brain (thank you to Fr. Will Brown) and listen to His call to me, before He feels the need to send me a burning bush.