Friday, March 4, 2016

Daily Devotion for Day 21 of Lent 2016

Scripture Reading: Exodus 19 (NRSV)

In today's reading, we see God as inaccessible to the people as they near Mount Sinai. We do have the wonderful image of bearing the people on eagle's wings that is more well known in Isaiah 40:31.

We also hear that the people will be a "priestly kingdom and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:6).

This is an important distinction for their identity.  Within this understanding, two competing ideas can emerge.  You might see yourself as holy and thus look with disdain upon the peoples surrounding you.  Or you might see yourself as God's messenger and seek to help your neighbors, working as the feet and hands of God.

As followers of Christ, we tap into the latter viewpoint.

The dense cloud covering God may have been a protective
measure as the common belief in that day was
that if you looked upon God you would die.
When we continue in this passage, we also get a glimpse of how God is not a human being.  There is a sense of the "otherness" of God.  It is terrifying and dangerous.

Christian theology has long made God completely accessible and muted this aspect of God's character. One of the problems with this is that we often imagine God loving us so much that we even blunt the image of love.  Love is cheapened to meaning whatever we think we need or desire.

We then remake God into our image rather than the reverse.

Holiness, shown within this story, takes effort.  It includes washing and will power.

The Lenten season is about tapping into these disciplines.  How is this image of God within today's reading both scary but reassuring at the same time?

Photo by Carol Patterson from, used by permission under the Creative Commons license.

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