Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Re-discovering Our 'True Face'

This week scriptures are Exodus 24: 12-18, 32: 1-6 and Matthew 17: 1-21

These two stories, taken together, give us an excellent picture of how you and I sin (that is "miss the mark" or "fall short") in today's world.

Now mind you, I'm not suggesting that we partipate in religious orgies-like the Exodus story; or are incompentent at casting out demons-Matthew's narrative. What I am saying is that you and I and many around us fall prey to the same fears exemplified in these two stories.

We'll talk about this at length on Sunday (I hope you'll be there), but here's the down and dirty version:

The people in the Exodus story were afraid that they'd been abandoned. Their line, "as for Moses, we don't know what has become of him" is expressive of that fear. And in their fear they went to Aaron and asked for an image, a god, that they could worship. One thing you've got to say about idols-particularly ones like Aaron made-they stay where you put them. You can control them and they'll never leave you.
The bad news is that they can't do anything either.

Many of us who have been abandoned in some way in our life time struggle with how these gets played out in our faith.

The disciples struggled with their fear of failure. By this time in Jesus' ministry they had already been sent out two-by-two and had healed the sick before. But this was a particularly harsh situation. The demon encountered (epilepsy) had serious social reprecussions. What if they couldn't do it? What if they were taken over by the demon? What if.... What if.... What if......

At Bible study last night Alan asked if I was using these scriptures (and Sunday's) to move us toward a theme or focus for Lent. The answer is "Yes."

Each of us struggles with things that keep us from our "true face" our true identity. Things that keep us from recognizing and affirming the Image of God in ourselves (and in others). Many, if not all, of these are rooted in our fears. Fears that we will be abandoned, be alone. Fears that we will fail, be judged as not capable or worthwhile. Fears that we will be shamed in some way.

Lent is a time to explore the things that keep us from our True Face. In Sunday's sermon I said that if we sit in the darkness of these fears and struggles long enough, the darkness will become the Face of God. And we will see our own face reflected in God's face; because you and I are made in God's image. Scripture tells us that the one who was the complete image of God-that is Jesus-shows us what you and I are created to be. Lent is a time for clearing away things that seperate us from that image.

I hope you'll join us Sunday; and then again on Ash Wednesday. Let's make this journey toward resurrection together during this time of preparation and prayer.


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