Reflection for OS 29: Oct 19
Today we reflect on the wonderful passage in Exodus, (33:12-23) where Moses speaks for us all when he pleads with God: “if your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here.” We hear Moses’s passionate desire to both see and know God and it resonates with us. We too are passionate to see and know God at work in our lives: Life is scary and without faith can be frighteningly rocky. The desire to know God is matched by our desire to know what God is up to. It is both confusing and challenging to our faith to have to cope with a God that sometimes seems to answer prayers and sometimes doesn’t. It is especially difficult in this world of instant reward and answer. And yet, if all our prayers were
answered in the way we expected, there would be no need to stretch our faith, no invitation to trust and strive to know God better. We would be worshipping a God without mystery, a God reduced to our knowing. Of course, throughout scripture we are invited to know God in a myriad of different ways. But this passage in Exodus reminds us that God will be gracious when God desires to be gracious, and will show mercy on whom God desires to show mercy. God is God. And God knows that God’s own Divine Presence is likely to overwhelm us if we actually could get a good glimpse. God’s response to Moses’ desire to look upon God was to protect
Moses, “If you were to see me in my full glory, you would be overwhelmed to the point of death. To protect you, I’ll cover you with my hand.” We also are protected from fully seeing God. What we see is enough to allow us to live into our faith.