Sat, 23 March 2019
(Ex.3:1-8a,13-15; Ps.103:1-4,6-8,11; 1Cor.10:1-6,10-12; Lk.13:1-9)
“The Lord secures justice
and the rights of all the oppressed.”
Thus does the Lord God appear to Moses and call him to rescue the Israelites from the Egyptians. He has “witnessed the affliction of His people”; He has “heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers” and “know[s] well what they are suffering.” And so, by the hand of Moses, He will lead them to “a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.”
Yes, brothers and sisters, the Lord “has made known His ways to Moses”; His “kindness and compassion” He has revealed to His people. The great I AM (YHWH), He who is and who will always be, has come and shown Himself to His servant on the “holy ground” of Mount Horeb. In a “bush [that] is not burned” though flaming with fire, He opens Moses' eyes to His presence. And He tells him His glorious NAME, by which He is “to be remembered through all generations” – that it is He who is Life. And, of course, the life He brings is one of mercy and healing.
Yet, though the Lord is certainly “merciful and gracious,” He is also just; thus does Paul remind us that though all the Israelites “were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea” in their exodus from slavery, though all ate and drank from “the rock [that] was Christ… God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the desert.” So the blessings they had gained by the mercy of our God, they soon lost by their own disobedience. And so could we all lose the grace of Christ at work in our lives if we “desire evil things, as they did.” For God is merciful, but God is just, and will not have His kindness presumed upon.
Thus does Jesus Himself also warn us, even as He warns the people who question Him this day that they are no better than those “whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices,” that we are not without guilt ourselves. Thus does He proclaim, “If you do not repent, you will all perish as they did,” as all sinners do. And thus does He warn us by parable that if we do not bear fruit in His name, we shall be cut down and thrown in the fire – for there is no wasted ground in the kingdom of God.
If you cry out to Him, He will hear you, for it is He who “redeems your life from destruction” and your salvation is His desire. But justice insists that if you turn back to your sin, you choose to remove yourself from His loving arms.
Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.
Music: "Going Home" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.
O LORD, give us repentant hearts
that we might not be removed from your sight
but burn with your Spirit always.
YHWH, let us not presume upon your mercy, for you have saved us but we remain in danger of falling again if we do not remember your NAME, if we do not keep in mind that you have made us and that you have saved us, you who are Life itself. If we forget your benefits, our iniquities shall return, and then how shall we stand in your presence?
You alone are holy, LORD; you alone are beyond our tongues to describe. Let us be silent before you and remember the blessings you pour upon our souls. For though you are far beyond our ability to comprehend, though your ways far surpass our own, yet you look with compassion on our affliction and seek to rescue us from all ill.
But we must remain humble at all times, lest our branches become barren. Ever we must bear fruit in your Name or we will be separated from your grace, from the surpassing light of your face. O LORD, lead us through this desert to your Promised Land.