Grace and peace to you from God our Creator and Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Do you remember “The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston? I watched God's calling of Moses in that movie, and compared it to today’s Scripture. The film makers edited out a lot from this scene. I guess it makes sense. Could you imagine Charlton Heston saying what Moses says to God in the book of Exodus? Moses does pretty much everything he can think of, to get out of what God is calling him to do.
Moses is up in the hills of Midian, minding his sheep when he notices a burning bush. I remember we had a fireplace when I was young. It was fun to watch the fire burn and the logs slowly be burned up. Sometimes my Dad would let me add a log to the fire when it was almost out, so we could sit and watch it for a while longer. I don’t know if I would enjoy a gas fireplace as much because the fire is always the same and you never get to add more wood.
Moses notices that this bush is not being burnt up. So he goes closer, and suddenly he hears the voice of God. “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob… 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… Come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”
And Moses response is “Who, me?” It’s understandable that Moses wouldn’t want to go back to Egypt. After all, the reason he left in the first place was that he killed an Egyptian who was abusing one of the Hebrew slaves. But God is persistent, “I will be with you.” Moses continues to try to find a way to not follow God's invitation. Finally, Moses says, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else!” Needless to say, God is not pleased. “Fine, I’ll send your brother Aaron with you and you can tell him what to say! Now pick up your staff and get going!” I so identify with Moses. Becoming a pastor was not my idea; but God called, and when I finally listened, I learned that being a pastor is what I am called to be.
So, what can we take with us today from this Scripture? First, we know that even though it might seem that God is not listening to our cries for help, God is with us, in all our fears and suffering. And we too can be God's ears and listen when people around us need to be heard. But we also hear in this Scripture that God is calling us to risk following God even when it is hard. There are so many ways we can share the good news of God's love with people. We can speak up, when we see prejudice carried out on people of color. We can step in, when we see systemic discrimination in our schools and at our jobs. We can stand up against bullying, especially cyber-bullying. We can demand that our leaders recognize the disparity that keeps people in poverty, from obtaining health care.
There is so much to do. God is calling us, all of us, to get up and go, just as God called Moses. Today is World Communion Sunday, a day when different Christian denominations remember are all followers of the same God. We can work together with our brothers and sisters in Christ in so many ways, in all of these causes. So when God calls us to go and be God's hands and feet in the world, let us respond, “Here I am, Lord. Send me.” Amen.