The Lord spoke to Moses: “Hurry up and go down! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, are ruining everything! They’ve already abandoned the path that I commanded. They have made a metal bull calf for themselves. They’ve bowed down to it and offered sacrifices to it and declared, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out the land of Egypt!'” Now leave me alone! Let my fury burn and devour them. Then I’ll make a great nation out of you.” But Moses pleaded with the Lord his God . . . Then the Lord changed his mind about the terrible things he said he would do to his people. Exodus 32:7-11a, 14 (NRSV)
I wonder how many times God has felt that way with humanity over the generations. I wonder how many times Moses felt like abandoning the people. Yet, he hung on and pleaded for their lives with God. I wonder if God is furious with what is going on in the world today – I suspect that is the case.
Every decade, every generation has acted in ways that abuse, exploit, murder, and reject God’s commandments. It’s part of human nature. How sad God must be over these things! Whenever someone asks me if I think the end times are near, I answer “yes” because I think the end times are always at hand, whether its for the world or our own individual lives. Jesus taught us that we should be alert, awake, ready, live prepared for the coming of Christ.
We don’t know when that will happen, but we are to live as if it will happen right now, at this very moment. That’s hard. So many things get in the way; so many doubts assail us; so many circumstances draw us away from God and from what we know is right and good and pleasing to God.
Sometimes it seems as if the world is always in an uproar somewhere, and it can be a frightening place to be, and the media plays up the horrible things that are happening. Where is the good news? Where are the decent, God-fearing, loving, charitable, caring folks? Well, they aren’t in the news most of the time.
However, they are in the world – all over the place. Even though we don’t hear about them regularly, all we have to do is look at the ways neighbors help neighbors, people reach out in times of disaster, and supporters show up for those who have lost loved ones or who are gravely ill. The children of God who believe in the teachings of Jesus: love, joy, peace, hope are in the world, quietly living out their faith and making a difference wherever they live, work, shop, play, or minister.
No, we aren’t perfect, but then no one is. Thanks be to God that God already knows this! Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection remind us that we have been forgiven and redeemed from our sins. Our calling is to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world, to speak and act as God’s child. May it be so.