Exodus 33:12-23 Psalm 99 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 Matthew 22:15-22
It isn’t going very well in the desert. The people, anxious for and weary of waiting for Moses’ return, have melted their jewelry in a fire. Aaron reaches into the fire pulls out a golden calf: the new god for the people of Israel to follow. There is noise: the noise of revelers and dancing … the noise of stone tablets, the ones written in the finger of God, being smashed, broken at the foot of the mountain.
Waiting for God is not nearly as fun as a golden calf party. Yet this God who seems so distant is the very one to whom Moses appeals. Please God, these are your people; come with us. Despite the numerous ways in which we have already left God and the “little g” gods after which we have sought and in which we have reveled, God’s heart is turned by a poor-speaking man named Moses.
(And so) the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” Moses said, “Show me your glory, I pray.” Moses wanted to see God. Don’t we, too?
Some days are pretty bleak; some, like today, are full of excitement. Let’s think for a few minutes, together, about God. Where do we see God in this church? Lots of people see God in a well lit window; when they see the cross, they tell us, they know they’re almost home. (Some days I think that “almost home” describes the majority of our earthly life.) I see God in this church in music from the choir loft, in small hands that hold a holy book aloft in the aisle, in fidgeting, and prayers on our knees, in laughter and dog tails sticking out into that same aisle; in holy food at pot lucks and at the altar.
I see God in a new shed, in classrooms and construction paper, in fresh cut grass, swept sidewalks, and a clean kitchen. I see God in grieving faces and happy voices and even, yes really, in church meetings.
I heard God this week through the voices of workmen in t-shirts and baggy jeans – work jeans – as they talked and bonded in a conversation, not of hammers and nails and labor, but of friendship, caregiving, pregnant wives, and new-born babies. I most definitely heard God, unbidden, and present. How much more so will God be present when we ask to see God’s glory?
Today is a special day, every Sunday is a “little Easter” as we gather to celebrate resurrection life. Today in St. Peter’s history is 5k day, and I see God in t-shirts and running shoes and the excitement of our new adventure.
I pray that it is enough today to remember, when things look bleak and God seems distant, that we, too, can argue with God, can implore God to know God’s presence, if not his face. See God today in sneakers and t-shirts, new faces and familiar ones, as we walk into the world to the glory of God and in God’s holy name. We run with the angels and with the very presence of God. Amen. Alleluia!