Weekly Reflection Saturday October 1, 2016

Greetings and peace to you all!

In the book of Numbers there is a scene played out when the Israelites through Moses sent twelve "spies" into God's promised land to see for themselves that truly the land God intended for them to have was "flowing with milk and honey." Now I remind you that this scene occurs after the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt for 400 years and God brings them to the very edge of the promise Land.

"After exploring the land for forty days, the men returned 26 to Moses, Aaron, and the whole community of Israel at Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran. They reported to the whole community what they had seen and showed them the fruit they had taken from the land. 27 This was their report to Moses: "We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country-a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. 28 But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak! (Numbers 13: 26-28)"

What's absolutely astounding to me is that even though they "saw with their own eyes" the beauty that God intended for them to have. Even when they picked with their own hands the bounty of this beautiful land. Even though they probably felt in their own hearts how wonderful it was that God intended them to possess this land, that their hopes and dreams of living in a land flowing with milk and honey were quickly dashed because they focused on the worldly "buts" that were presented to them. "But" … there are people already dwelling in this land. "But" … those people are strong and powerful! "But" we don't have the financial resources, the human resources, or the strength to challenge those people and they'll crush us!

Thank goodness for Moses who later in the story says; "it can be done - with God's help!" Yet on this day… the people's fear won the day and Israel was to wait longer than necessary to have God's plan fulfilled for them.

Through this story you and I can see that it is very easy for us, as humans, to be delivered to freedom by God… but to not live like we are actually free!
This week I've felt a bit overwhelmed by the cynicism and criticisms that I see around me. Perhaps this is just where I am at in my personal life. Perhaps, I am currently in a place where I am more keenly aware of people's dissatisfaction with the world, our government, our culture, even our church family. Yet, my eyes continue to see that God is attempting to do "great things" through us and among us! The very ordinary people who comprise St. Peter's!

Perhaps we would do well to remind ourselves that as God's heavenly princes' and princesses' living in the Lehigh Valley, that we, like the Israelites, are called to trust God and to take action that brings God's abundant life into center stage. Perhaps we would do well if when we see a ministry faltering or a particular incident take place within our community that is not safe or healthy take place, that we lend our hand and/or our voice to offer assistance to our sisters and brothers in Christ rather than step away and focus on the "buts" of the world.

You and I live in challenging times! If your eyes, like my own, see the hatred, the violence, the disparity, the lack of financial resources of our world, without seeing what God is up to even in the midst of these challenges, we will be overcome with the "buts" of the world and quickly find ourselves "paralyzed" by fear or simply become overwhelmed. In our community of faith, we should be able to find a "resbit" from the "buts" of this world. We should be able to be surrounded by sisters and brothers in Christ who understand the worldly realities, however have more faith that God is leading us, that God is within our midst trying to empower us all to proclaim the love of Christ in a world that doesn't necessarily want to hear this message!

I thank the Lord that I am surrounded by all of you… I thank the Lord that we face the challenges that we do in the world in which we live, because together…. And always with God's help… many incredible and divinely inspired ministries are being completed!

May God continue to surround us all and remind us all that indeed we are "Freed" as God's children living in the year of our Lord 2016 and empowered for wonderful ministries!
Peace and blessings

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