Exodus 16:2-15; Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45 – The 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time – for September 18, 2011
“The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses…” (Exodus 16:2)
Books have always been an essential part of my life. In my youth I read about dogs and cried (like Lad: A Dog). I read political thrillers and stayed up late until finished (like Seven Days in May). I devoured adult novels and scorned kid’s comic books (James Michener’s 1,000 pager The Source but not Superman, please and thank you).
As a young teen, I unwrapped a birthday present from Mom and Dad. They knew my desire. Not just a book, but the Book.
Adam and Eve’s sly reach for fruit. That terrible flood and Noah’s heroic boat building. Abraham leaving home, headed for the unknown, trusting God. The baby Moses plucked from the Nile. David slaying Goliath. Jesus born in Bethlehem on a starry, starry night. Mary Magdalene’s early morning walk to the tomb. Paul, struck from his saddle, soon harnessed by God’s call. The Bible seemed chock-full of saints with gumption and grit.
And yet, as I matured, and kept reading, I realized there was more than gumption and grit displayed by those populating the Bible’s pages. There were grumblers.
Which eventually made me appreciate the Bible more. As a child, I wanted heroes. As an adult, I sought honesty.
When I regularly preached, few Sundays didn’t include referencing one of the essential stories of the Bible: the exodus. It’s a history lesson, a journey story, a rallying cry and an enduring metaphor. Even if I didn’t directly mention the exodus, I wanted listeners to be freed from bondage to Pharaoh, knowing the ancient oppressors of Egypt were not unlike the modern “slave masters” of racism or sexism or commercialism. There are endless ways for people to be shackled. The exodus also informed my counseling with individuals. Guilt or self-doubt enslaved a person. I knew they (and I) needed to start a personal exodus, leaving a past, braving a future.
With grit and gumption, to be inspired by God’s call to freedom.
What have you unnecessarily grumbled about?
But don’t forget the grumblers and grumbling. Continue reading →