It is September – a wonderful time for new beginnings! I wonder if it is a good time for you, right now, as September begins, to make a new start in your life of faith. And I wonder what that would look like for you.
Today’s story from the Book of Exodus is all about a new beginning for Moses that leads to a new beginning for God’s People, Israel, in a new land and with a new freedom. And it starts with God speaking.
Moses was going about his work, looking after his father-in-law’s sheep, not looking for a change, not searching for adventure, not trying to figure out what his next big mission should be. But God speaks to him, and everything changes.
God gets his attention with a burning bush, calls him by name, and then explains that God has a task for him to do… to go to the Pharaoh, and bring God’s People out of slavery in Egypt.
God speaks to others too. The Apostle Paul comes to mind, back before his name was changed, and he was Saul. He was travelling along the road to Damascus when it happened. God got Saul’s attention by … Read more »
“Here I am, Lord”
The Hebrews were a group of marginal, oppressed people, living in the land of Egypt long ago, and in an attempt to keep their population under control, the king of Egypt ordered that any male babies born to the Hebrews be thrown into the Nile river to drown. And that’s when Moses was born.
After hiding the little boy for three months, Moses’ mother placed him in a basket and released him to float down the river, from which he was rescued by the Pharaoh’s daughter, who took him in and raised him as her own son.
We don’t know anything about Moses’ life as he grew up in Egypt, just as we don’t know much about Jesus’ early life. But the book of Exodus indicates that although Moses had the privileges of royalty, he did know that he was born a Hebrew, and he had a certain amount of identification with their plight as an oppressed People.
The first story about Moses’ adult life is about him trying to stand up for a Hebrew who was being beaten by an Egyptian. But rather than just order the Egyptian to stop, Moses’ anger takes over and he … Read more »
“FIRE is the rapid oxidation of a material in the chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products.” I looked that up on Wikipedia, where it also says this about FIRE: “Fire in its most common form can result in conflagration, which has the potential to cause physical damage through burning.” That is, unless we’re talking about Moses’ burning bush where the bush was miraculously burning and burning, but not being consumed.
As you may have guessed by now, FIRE is the topic of my sermon this morning, just as FIRE was the theme of our Saskatchewan Presbyterian Youth event here this weekend. When we titled the weekend “Fire’s Burning, Draw Nearer,” we hoped that youth from across the province would come together this weekend – drawing near to one another (making new friends and renewing old friendships) and that they would draw near to God as well through worship, study, discussion, prayer, and music. With participants from Regina, Prince Albert, and Saskatoon, I think I can speak for the group when I say that we’ve had a wonderful time together.
Now, when I say that we’ve had a wonderful time together, I don’t mean to … Read more »
The concept of being called by God or called by God in Jesus Christ is one that runs all the way through the Hebrew and Greek scriptures — our bible.
God called Abram to leave his family and his country, and to go to a new land where God would make him and his descendants into a blessing to the world.
God called the boy Samuel to be a prophet to the people. God called him to speak words of judgement against those who were not living in God’s ways so that they would turn and follow God.
Another prophet, Isaiah, explained that God called him even before he was born. He believed that his whole identity and nature was to be one who gathered Israel back to their God. That was his call.
Jeremiah too was a prophet appointed by God to speak God’s words. When God called him, Jeremiah said, “O God, I don’t know how to speak! I’m only a boy!” But God said, “Do not be afraid, because I am with you.”
In the Greek scriptures, God’s call was heard in the voice of … Read more »
The following sermon was preached by the Rev. Amanda Currie at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Saskatoon, during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in January 2008. St. Andrew’s hosted an ecumenical worship service on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008 at 7 a.m. The Prairie Centre for Ecumenism coordinates a wonderful schedule of ecumenical prayer and worship in Saskatoon each year, and we were pleased to take part by hosting one of the services. Our worship reflected on the readings for Day 4 of the Week of Prayer, and on the theme “Pray always for justice.”
This morning’s reading from Exodus is one of the scripture texts assigned for day four of the Week of Prayer. It is the familiar story of Moses speaking with God at the burning bush. When I’ve preached on this text in the past, my focus has been on the experience of God’s call. God speaks to us in a variety of ways — not usually as dramatically as through a burning bush that’s not being burned up! — but God does speak to us in scripture, through people in our lives, by the Holy Spirit, and as we carefully listen to God in prayer.
And … Read more »