God Has a Surprise in the Wilderness
(Posted September 17, 2020)
"A [person] does not have to be an angel to be a saint." --- Albert Schweitzer. 20th century
What makes a place a “wilderness?” I’m not referring to that term as we apply it to beautiful wild locations we choose to visit, with a trail map and a destination for our hike. Quite the opposite. The wilderness I’m talking about is the kind that the people in this Sunday’s Hebrew Bible found themselves, as they follow their stuttering, unproven leader through the barren desert east of Egypt and the slavery they escaped – destination unknown. They’d been told they were going to “a land of milk and honey” – which sounds like the kind of marketing hype you’d find in a modern day bad real estate listing for a sketchy timeshare.
Church Services on Sunday
Service begins at 10 a.m. Please observe these social distancing guidelines when you worship with us in-person.
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After days of wilderness walking, the people are not a happy band of hikers. There’s no food. There’s precious little water. Even though they were in bondage in Egypt, none of the things they had back when they were slaves could be found in the wilderness. And you know what they missed the most? Knowing that there was an actual destination where they would belong. The biggest absence in their lives was knowing what the future would be, or that they even had a future.
So the People of the Book began to complain, bitterly. Their later Hebrew descendants would refer to this in Yiddish as “kvetching” – loud bellyaching to the person who would lead them. This state of mind can lead people to wistfully romanticize just how good “the good old days” were, and forgetting just how awful they could be. That’s what Moses had to contend with. That doesn’t mean that the Hebrew people were bad. As Schweitzer’s quote above tells us, it simply means that they weren’t angels, but frustrated human saints. God had a surprise for the people in the desert, and God has an answer for all of us, today, wandering and waiting in the wilderness of a pandemic world.
Join us this Sunday, either in person in our socially distanced Sanctuary on Deer Hill Avenue at 10 a.m., or live online on Facebook. You’ll hear stories of a couple of my favorite people who were no angels but turned into saints.
See you at 10 a.m. this Sunday, September 20, when we’ll enjoy Jazz Sunday together, with a portion of the Hartline’s band musicians with us in person! - Pastor Pat Kriss