1st Scripture Reading: Exodus 14:19-31 & Psalm 114
So here we are, in the 2nd week of the season of Creation, having stepped out in faith on a journey to God knows where! The Israelites have left the devil that they know, and are fleeing to a new life, a life that they must create a new vision for. And this life may not be comfortable or safe or any better than the one they left – unless they have a vision, some sense of what they want their lives to be in this new world they have entered.
Like many new immigrants to this or another country, they have to cross a sea. Some will make it, others will not. They will need a safety device – a lifejacket, or a boat, or a passport. They will need help: an immigration lawyer, or a sponsoring relative, or money or a promised job.
And what about us? How about our church? Are we entering a new country with this necessary re-organization? Is there a coherent vision? Or are we stepping out into the wilderness, trusting that God has a vision and a purpose for us yet, even though the way ahead seems uncharted and maybe dangerous?
“Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turns the rock into a pool of water,the flint into a spring of water.”
Hymn #222 VU “Come Let Us Sing”
2nd Scripture Reading: Romans 14:1-12 & Matthew 18:21-35
As things continue to fall apart around us, it is tempting, isn’t it, to start blaming and judging one another. As I read the letter to the Romans passage this morning it seems to me that there is a warning here for all of us. Who are we to pass judgment on one another – to judge another child of God? This is tough, folks. Surely it must be someone’s fault that 50% of the species of animal life in Canada are endangered or in decline.
Whose fault is it when thousands of Atlantic farm salmon escape from their pens, endangering the health of wild salmon? Whose fault is it that plastic so fouls the oceans now that we may never be able to clean it up, and never eradicate it from the food chain. Who can we blame for the fentanyl laced opioid crisis claiming hundreds of young lives in Canada every year?
I’m sure, like me, you can point your finger to many possible villains in these scenarios, but can we also acknowledge our own culpability? My heart breaks these days with every new plastic bag I bring home, knowing that this plastic is now a permanent part of my environment. When I am in pain I too want my physician to give me something that will take away the pain.
We need a new vision – but before we get one I think we will have to take responsibility for what we have done, and forgive ourselves and each other for the grievous mistakes we have made. And we had better pray that God will help us.
Hymn #12 MV “Come Touch Our Hearts”