Above: Elijah in the Wilderness, by Washington Allston
Image in the Public Domain
Missing the Obvious
FEBRUARY 27 and 28, 2017
O God, in the transfiguration of your Son you confirmed the
mysteries of the faith by the witness of Moses and Elijah,
and in the voice from the bright cloud declaring Jesus your beloved Son,
you foreshadowed our adoption as your children.
Make us heirs with Christ of your glory, and bring us to enjoy its fullness,
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
–Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 25
The Assigned Readings:
Exodus 33:7-23 (Monday)
1 Kings 19:9-18 (Tuesday)
Psalm 78:17-20, 52-55 (Both Days)
Acts 7:30-34 (Monday)
Romans 11:1-6 (Tuesday)
They tested God in their hearts
and demanded food for their craving.
They spoke against God and said,
“Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?
He struck the rock indeed,
so that the waters gushed out and the streams overflowed,
but can he give bread or provide meat for his people?”
–Psalm 78:18-20, Common Worship (2000)
God had delivered the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. The Book of Exodus, having attempted a natural explanation for the parting of the waters, regarded freedom as the miracle. And freedom was the miracle. Yet the slave mentality persisted, so the next generation (not raised as slaves) entered the Promised Land.
God had revealed Baal to be imaginary. The only real deity, quite different from false gods, spoke in silence, not noise.
God–I AM–had done so much publicly. Why was it not enough for many people? We human beings seem to have a reluctance to change our minds about the major issues much of the time. This is partially an evolutionary adaption–a survival technique in the wilderness. If, for example, gatherers thought that a certain variety of mushroom was poisonous due to passed-down folklore, they were slow to reverse that assumption–probably for a good cause. Yet this evolutionary adaptation, combined with the frailties of ego, leads to
don’t confuse me with the facts
religion, theology, and politics.
I am cautious to avoid being excessively certain about divine attributes out of a desire to avoid heresy as God defines it. Yet I make the following statement confidently: God, in the Bible, has a track record of doing unexpected (from a human perspective) things. Thus we move in Scripture from the mysterious encounters of Moses with God to the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity as Jesus of Nazareth, whereby many people saw the face of God. And I wonder what God is doing that I see without recognition because I do not expect it or I do not want facts to upset my conclusions. It is a question worth applying to self, is it not, O reader?
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
OCTOBER 22, 2013 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF FREDERICK PRATT GREEN, BRITISH METHODIST MINISTER, POET, AND HYMN WRITER
THE FEAST OF BARTHOLOMEW ZOUBERBUHLER, ANGLICAN PRIEST
THE FEAST OF PAUL TILLICH, LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN