Today we continue our journey into Lent. A journey that reminds us of our human frailty and takes us to the cross. Our scriptures today are powerful reminders that we so easily forget who we are and WHOSE we are without constant guideposts along that journey.
We have all heard people say that our faith—Christianity—is so NEGATIVE. That it is just a list of “Don’ts.” Perhaps some of those people have been us. I am not going to spend a lot of time on that argument, although I could make a very positive argument for warnings. For example: most restaurant servers will say, “Hot plate—don’t touch” when they set down your order in front of you. Now, just from personal experience with some of you, I know that you will touch it just to see how hot it is.
Originally preached Sunday, March 4, 2018
When my kiddos were little, I would try to give them guidelines in positive terms—to give them the image I wanted them to see—such as, instead of saying “Don’t spill your milk” which happened every meal—I would say, “Please move your glass back” farther from the edge of the table in order to give them the DO not the DON’T do. And when I was teaching I would say “Please walk” instead of “Don’t run.” You get the idea.
Well, in our scripture this morning from Exodus, God does not advise us in that way—God has high standards for his children, and just lays it out for them and us. God DOES explain the “why” of some of his standards, though. Beginning with WHO God is.
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
What this scripture is saying is:
I love you. I loved you so much that I sent someone at great peril to himself to rescue you from a terrible situation. I brought you out of tragic circumstances that you did not even recognize for their impact on you and your children. Things were getting worse and worse and I saw your suffering. I made a way for you and will continue to make a way for you. A way that will lead you to health and wholeness.