Sunday, September 27, 2015

Moses and Planning for the Future

We are off lectionary at my church.  Here's what we'll be reading today:

Deuteronomy 34:  1-12

It's hard for those of us of a certain age to read the text that we'll be studying this Sunday and not think about the last days of Martin Luther King Jr.  His last speeches are full of references to the last days of Moses.  What does it mean to see the Promised Land, but to arrive too late to live there?

I first read this text as a child in a distant Sunday School class at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Montgomery, Alabama.  I remember feeling that Moses had been treated unfairly.  He had done so much work, and then not to get the final reward?  Not fair!

I suspect that many children react the same way to many a Bible story.  Think of all the people in the Bible who are treated unfairly.  They try so hard, but in this life, they don't seem to get their just rewards.

As a grown up, though, I find this parade of people like Moses to be a comfort.  After all, many of us are working on huge projects, and we may not live long enough to see success.  But the Bible promises that the work will go on even when we are not there to lead the way.

My thoughts return to Martin Luther King Jr. and the work of the Civil Rights Movement.  I think of our own justice activities in Broward county.  I think of all the incremental gains, and it's impossible not to think of all the work still left to be done.

I think of those workers who built medieval cathedrals.  They must have known, especially in the early days, that they would not live long enough to worship in the cathedrals.  But still, they showed up to do the work.  They knew that there would be following generations coming who would complete the work.

God calls us to important work.  How will we answer the call?  How will we plan for the day when the next generation takes over the work?

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