Sunday, March 24 2019
“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.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings… Then the Lord said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.” (Exodus 3:1-6).
About a week ago at least 50 people were killed and 50 wounded, in a hate-filled terror attack targeting two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch. I am numb to the senseless killings that seem to be occurring with more frequency. I know that God hears our prayers, but we need to respond to God. The burning bush glows bright when we repent of those things in our lives that keep us from the purpose and will of God, when we turn aside. Lent is a time of preparation, when we teach our children and youth to draw closer to the one we love. It is by our example of worship, study, prayer, and outreach our children see that we are people of God. I can’t imagine what it is like to grow up in today’s fear filled world. I do know that there needs to be a counter balance to the hate in the world.
Eternal life begins today and never ends. Please use these next few weeks of Lent to draw closer to the one who loves you deeply. God calls us to be the place of radical hospitality where all people are welcome. While many churches in our neighborhood want to exclude people that don’t agree with their politics or exclude those who are different than themselves, we strive to be the place where all are welcome. We can have difficult conversations because despite our differences, we can love all our neighbors. St. John’s can be a light in a dark world. We can be a place of peace, hope, and love in a world that is dangerous, fearful, and full of hate. Please pray that we might reach out to a hurting world with arms of love.
May we give shelter to the homeless, help to the immigrant, food to the hungry, cloths to the naked, and support the many wonderful charities in Huntington through our ECW. We have the power to transform the nightmare that the world can be into the blessing of the Kingdom of God. We are transformed through the grace of God and we become the transforming power in the world. Please have hope that God can fix this mess of immigration, shootings in the world, plane crashes, racism, and sexism. Somehow God will transform us into beautiful children of God that we were created to be. So if you have been hurting, frustrated, sick, or a little down, have faith that you can come to at St. John's and be welcomed and loved for who you are.
In Christ’s love,
Rev. Duncan Burns