Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Exodus: The Lord said to Moses, “Go down at once to your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt, for they have become depraved. Exodus 32
Deprave is an interesting word. It comes from Latin – de – completely and pravus – distorted. That’s what life feels like so much of the time now, completely distorted. It’s like we’re squeezing through a keyhole into a new era, but with no idea what it might look like once we get to the other side of the door or if we’re going to like what we see.
The Exodus reading is the story of Moses imploring God not to punish the Israelites in the desert after they made a golden calf and danced around it, crazily. God says to Moses, “Let me alone then that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them.” And as an afterthought says, “Then I will make of you a great nation.” In other words, let me get rid of this lot who are crazy and begin fresh. But Moses implores God to let his “wrath die down.”
They were squeezing through a keyhole into a new era and they didn’t know where they were going – and behind always looks more comforting than a future we don’t know. So while Moses was busy talking to God, the people revolted and returned to practices they knew in Egypt.
In the gospel reading from John 5, Jesus is speaking to the fears of people around him: “I have come in my Father’s name, yet you do not accept me.” Jesus was also offering a new way of being – another keyhole into a new way of living and thinking, and the people he’s talking to aren’t ready to move into that future. They cling stubbornly to the past.
Do we hold on to the past by the fury with which we face the future?
Letting go of the tension and whirl of these times may be difficult – we’re so programmed to react instead of having time to act in a reasonably calm and centered way. But today, right now, perhaps we can consider flexibility in our body and in our thoughts.
We may not be able to get rid of the things that make us crazy right now (we’d have to wipe out half the city to accomplish it!). But we can let our wrath die down. We can accept that wherever we’re being led will bring a new beginning, and whatever that new beginning looks like, we can trust that it’s where we need to go.
We can, right now, focus on the light that grows.