It’s Monday Morning. We pray that you have found rest and refreshment over the weekend, and we hope that you had a wonderful time of worship on Sunday. We are nearing the mid-point of Lent.
PRAYER: (from the Lectionary)
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves. Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever, AMEN.
SCRIPTURES: (from the Lectionary)
1 Corinthians 10:1-13
“Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, ‘I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.’ When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’”
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us some e-mail…” —Overheard in church .
PRAYER FOCUS: Are You Amused or Amazed?
Moses was walking through the wilderness, keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. Moses was almost out of cell range—like, forget about 4G and data—so he was, you know, totally bored. But he had enough of a signal he could still text with his wife Miriam, Jethro’s daughter. Ahead of him he noticed a burning bush, and the glare from the fire was making it hard to read the touch screen of his iPhone 5.
MIRIAM: How r u?
MOSES: Hey QT. I’m BRD.
MOSES: I just saw a bush on fire…It’s not going out.
MIRIAM: For real?
MOSES: Just keeps burning…w8, I go C…
MIRIAM: Better not! If u lose 1 of dad’s sheep he’ll freak.
MIRIAM: LOL <3.
And verily Moses was too distracted to turn aside and behold such a great sight. The meaningless chatter on the electronic screen diverted his attention from the flaming angel rising from a blazing bush that would not be consumed. When the Lord called, Moses was starting to get data again so he could check his Facebook…
Amuse. v.tr. 1. (modern) To occupy one’s attention in an agreeable, pleasing, or entertaining fashion; to cause to laugh or smile from pleasure. 2. (archaic) To distract, delude, or deceive, often with pretense or illusion. [from Old French amuser, to stupefy; from Latin a-/ad-, to or towards + muser, to stare or gape at stupidly.] *
Amaze. v.tr. 1.(modern) To overwhelm with sudden wonder; to astonish greatly or surprise. 2. (obsolete) To bewilder; perplex. [from Old English amasen, to astound, stun or flabbergast.]
Stop, look and listen. It’s what our parents told us to do before crossing a road. It’s also good advice for a time such as Lent. We live in an age where we are greatly distracted by things of surpassing insignificance. We are far too busy being amused to be amazed. Did you notice the amazing sunrise this morning? How about the awesome lightning branching across the sky last night, the majestic way the thunder rolled? Were you too distracted to notice? Maybe the Lord your God is trying to speak to you.
Lent is the time to reflect and refocus. A reflective heart looks for the way home. We shift our focus away from our amusing-me-obsessed culture and back to the Holy Ground our Heavenly Father has lovingly prepared for us. What we focus our attention on shapes our perception of reality—what is and is not.
Stop. Power down. Go quiet. Let the silence settle in until it’s not uncomfortable.
Look. Shift your eyes from your work to God’s work. If you’re too hemmed in by your stuff, move to a place where you can smell a flower, hear a bird, watch a sunrise or a storm, feel the sunshine or the power of the wind…
Listen. This time, before you jump up on God’s lap and barrage Him with your list of prayer requests, sit quietly, like a contented and well-loved child. If you must speak, just say, “I love You, Lord”. Or perhaps, “Here I am”.
God had chosen Moses. It didn’t matter to God that the well-born Moses had fallen from his high place to such a low point that for the past forty years he had been an obscure, forgotten shepherd of another man’s flock. It didn’t matter to God that Moses felt himself unworthy and incapable.
God called Moses by name. God knew everything Moses had ever been through. And He knew those times of hardship had developed in Moses the attributes of character he would need in the days ahead. But God didn’t speak to Moses until He had his full attention.
God knows we’re distracted. And He won’t speak to us until He has our full attention.
In a little less than four weeks, the sun will rise on the celebration marking the highest holy day in Christianity—the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Start preparing now to be amazed on that day.
It’s Monday morning. How much amusement can you live without this week? How much amazement are you ready for?
[*TMP Note: the Latin verb muser is not to be confused with the Greek noun muse, referring to the mythological nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, each of whom ruled over a particular art or science, and from which we get the current expression of the word that refers to the source of an inspiration or idea.]