Scripture Exodus 3:9-10 I have indeed heard the cry of my people, and I see how the Egyptians are oppressing them. Now I am sending you to the King of Egypt so that you can lead my people out of this country
Dietrich Bonhoeffer laments that for many who call themselves disciples, 'my only duty as a Christian is to leave the world for an hour or so on a Sunday morning and go to church to be assured that my sins are all forgven.' Bonhoeffer is describing the 'cheap grace' that he observes the church practicing. Perhaps Bonhoeffer's criticism and concern is not only from a by-gone era. Could the same warning apply to the Christian Church in America at this time?
In contrast to church that is practiced for one hour on sunday morning, we heard yesterday the call of God for Jeremiah, to go wherever God sends him and to say whatever God tells him to say. Discipleship is the call to go into the world. We see this on many occassions. Elijah, fresh from his confrontation of the religious and political elites of Israel, flees to the wilderness. The presence of God gives him rest and feeds him. And then God directs him to leave the safe and secure and return to the halls of power. Jesus too, in the gospel of Luke, sends the disciples out into the towns and villages, to confront disease and the demonic. Jesus says to them, go. And today, in our reading from Exodus, God tells Moses to go. God tells Moses to leave his wife and children, his flocks and the safety that he has built for himself and return to the halls of Pharaoh. The life of discipleship is a life in which the settled is regularly left behind for the unsettled, the status quo abandoned for a promised but as yet unrealized future that God is making.
I wonder if we have not made this command to go, to be on the move, too 'safe.' God calls Moses and Jeremiah and the disciples to journey and promises them security. But security and faith are the source of strength and courage, insight and compassion that leads them into public realm, in to the social evils of their day. The spiritual awakening of Moses inspired a confrontation with slavery. The spiritual journey of Jeremiah led to public speeches against the most beloved idols of the day & for a just society. The spiritual journey of the disciples took them far and wide, healing the sick, liberating the possessed, AND, after Pentecost, creating communities of care in which all were dignified and none were shunned or shamed. Marianne Williamson once wrote, 'You are a child of God. You're playing small does not serve the world. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.' Hers is another voice, like Moses and Jeremiah and Bonhoeffer, that challenges a view of faith as that which secures us from conflict. Instead, faith in Christ secures us to engage the darkness of the world. This faith urges us to go into the world to the pharaohs, to the temples, to the people, to the sick and possessed and the cast aside and make manifest the glory of God.
Prayer – Forgive us Lord for making faith a hiding place, and excuse to ignore the struggles of our sisters and brothers. Forgive us for allowing Sunday morning worship to be the end of our faith instead of its beginning. Teach us to expect more of ourselves as your disciples. Not that we need to prove ourselves or earn your love, but out of a desire to be where you are. Shape us into your hands and feet in the world even when we are called to challenging places and causes.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.