“Israel, listen! Our God is the Lord! Only the Lord! Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your being, and all your strength. These words that I am commanding you today must always be on your minds. Recite them to your children. Talk about them when you are sitting around your house and when you are out and about, when you are lying down and when you are getting up. Tie them on your hand as a sign. They should be on your forehead as a symbol. Write them on your house’s doorframes and on your city’s gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Who is Jesus? Who is the Lord your God that you will love so much? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). You see, in the first century, the Word was designated as Wisdom. Only certain people could acquire this Word/ Wisdom. John redefines this describing Jesus as the one who embodies the Word. And the Word is not only for a select few. Instead, the Word is for all because: "In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God." Truly, that is what St. John intended to share with everyone. Jesus' ability to: turn water into wine, heal the sick from afar, heal the lame, feed thousands, walk on water, heal the blind, and bring life from death. These demonstrate Jesus' ability to act in extraordinary ways. If Jesus' words are not enough for people to believe who Jesus is then these signs should help answer their questions. After all, Jesus says: "If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father" (John 10:37-38). John endeavored to teach us that Jesus was not simply a person born into this world like all the rest of us. Who is Jesus? You must answer that question for yourself, but John’s Gospel certainly provides guidance. Our answer to that question makes a difference in our lives as individuals and as a community.
This year we will kick off our Adult Sunday School with Adam Hamilton’s series on “The Creed”. Please consider joining us as we study the Word.
All the talk of the solar eclipse brought to mind an article by Vince Amlin that I read several years ago. I thought it was worth sharing:
“God said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you… But you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live…I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.” – Exodus 33; 19-23
I struggle with this passage. Like Moses, I long to know God face to face, to bask in the beam of the divine countenance. And I don’t understand why it’s not possible.
Then I remember my second grade class preparing to watch a solar eclipse. We made viewers by poking pinholes into the ends of shoeboxes. Through an opening in the side, I could see a tiny eclipse projected on the opposite wall. What I remember more than the eclipse, is the repeated warnings not to look up, not to try to take it all in with my naked eye.
That’s what God does for Moses. God tucks him safely into an opening with just a crack of light, like a loving mother leaving the door to her child’s room open just enough to allow the child to sleep.
God protects Moses from something that is too great to be grasped by one human being. And far from being disappointed, Moses is positively overwhelmed. The shoebox of his heart catches fire and in that moment, he bows down and worships.
Prayer: God, make me a pinhole, that through my brief and ordinary life others might glimpse a tiny ray of Your goodness. Amen.
- Pastor Dotty