Crying Out

The theme for worship tonight is the call of Moses. The people of Israel called out to God and God heard their cries. God chooses Moses to be His instrument of freedom and but he resists…at first. Has God chosen you for for a specific task; to proclaim freedom in someway? Have you resisted? Are you doubtful that you can do it? Listen and trust God.

Oh God,
Your people are crying out, and You hear them.
They are crying out from bondage;

lost and alone.
They cry out, but I often know not their cry.
Their cries are often missed by my ears and I perceive them not.
Some even cry out without knowing they do.
They cry out through their actions and choices.
They don’t know their dire situation.
They are in bondage.
They fight and struggle.
They search and search, but they find no relief.
They search for meaning but find no firm foundation.
They cry out, and YOU hear them.
Oh God,
I cried out once, and You heard me.
I cried out, and You showed me mercy.
I cried out, and You sent Jesus.
Your people are crying out, and I either do not hear or refuse to hear.
I confess my deafness to You.
Forgive me.
Heal me of my deafness, oh God, and send me.
Send me that Your people may hear and know Jesus.
Oh Lord, my God, hear my cry:
I repent…

The Pastor -|—

Now therefore, go…

Exodus 4:10–12 (ESV) ~ 10 But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” 11 Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”

Oh God,
through Jesus Christ,
You have called me.
You have called me to Yourself.
You have called me to a new life and to New Life.
You have called me to Go therefore to all nations…
You have called me to bring glory to Your holy name.
You have called me to things that scare the living daylights out of me.
You have called me to suffer in many ways.
You have called me to set aside my selfish desires.
You have called me to obedience.
You have called me,
an unqualified sinner,
to speak of You and to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
You have called me.
Some days I just want to run away.
Some days I just want to say, “Send someone else“.
Some days I just want to hide.
When those “Some days” rear their ugly head,
Kick me in the butt as you did Moses.
Now therefore go…
And may I have the faith to trust You,
and rejoice in the certainty of Your plans.
Oh God,
You have called me.
Help me to go.

The Pastor -|—

Shine

Holy God,
Your mercy is great,
Your grace is abundant,
Your might is awesome,
Your love is precious,
I begin this day waking in Your arms,
and basking in Your glory.
I want to leave this house clinging to You
and embracing Your commandments.
Grant me, I pray,
Your Spirit that I may shine.
As the face of Moses shined; reflecting Your glory,
may my life shine bright.
But may I not veil Your glory but boldly live for You.
Oh God, I want to shine for You.
In Jesus name I pray.
Amen.

The Pastor-|—

The “bronze snake”

Amazing and merciful God,

Our “bronze snake” has been lifted up.
Our Savior has won the day.
Our Lord reigns on high.

And through this “lifting up” we find forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ.  When we grow impatient,
When we become disobedient,
When we long for that which does not save,
you still show amazing love, grace and faithfulness.  As those Hebrews bitten by those snakes in the desert, we too deserve punishment and wrath.   But as you showed mercy to them you show mercy to us as we confess our sins.

May we look to our “bronze snake” and live.
May we look to our “bronze snake” and see victory.
May we look to our “bronze snake” and give you all praise and worship.

Amazing and merciful God…we give you thanks. 

Amen

“Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim till all the world adore his sacred name.”
“Come, Christians, follow where our captain trod, our king victorious, Christ, the Son of God.”
[ELW 660 “Lift High the Cross”, chorus and vs.1]

edh -|—

Remove your shoes

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5)

The Old Testament small group and sermon series takes us to Exodus this week (despite the fact that the small group have been canceled tonight because of weather).  I didn’t get very far in my reading before I was hit by some pondering and thinking ~ holy ground.  Moses saw this “strange thing” on the mountain ~ a bush burning but not being consumed by the fire.  Of course he had to take a closer look (me…I might have been a little more leery).  As Moses approaches the bush God belts out that this is holy ground so take off your sandals. Why take off his sandals ~ more on that later.

As I read that section I got to thinking about “holy ground” today.  What is considered holy ground?    Many people would define holy ground in various ways.  Some might say their home is holy ground.  A guy might say his man’s den is holy ground.  A golfer might say that St. Andrew’s golf course in Scotland is holy ground.  But what is holy ground?

The word “holy” means special, set apart, different.  The Bible is holy and therefore special, set apart and different ~ it is a book like no other book; for it is a living word.  God is holy and therefore special, set apart and different.  Communion, baptism is holy…and you get the picture.  But do we treat these things as holy?  Do we give such things in our lives the same respect that Moses did for some dirt around a bush?  I am not saying we should take off our shoes during Holy Communion or a baptism (that might not be a good idea for some), but how do we treat and view such events?  How do we treat the truly holy things of God?

We can get so caught up in protecting “holy things” that we miss the fact that the very things we are protecting are not truly holy.  They may be special, set apart and different in our lives, but in relation to our souls they do nothing.  I have seen people treat sports as a holy event; protecting it at the expense of time in worship.   I have seen people protect their status at the expense of the promises they made in Holy baptism.  I have seen people protect their pocket book at the expense of their relationship with their holy God.  Our “holy things” do nothing for us in the long run.  They provide some happiness and security now, but do nothing for our souls.

But consider this ~ we are ALL living on holy ground.  We are living holy lives.  We were created by a holy God to do holy things.  We were redeemed by a holy savior through a death and resurrection that is indeed special, set apart and different.  All that we consider “holy” is only available to us to call “holy” because our holy God created such things and such opportunities.  We may have special things, people, places and times in our lives but they are nothing outside of God.

So if I can dare to be allegorical here let me suggest that we take off our shoes ~ which is anything that gets in the way of truly encountering God ~ and worship God with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength.  Let us treat the things of God for what they are ~ special, set apart and different.  Only God is life-giving and life-sustaining.

We are indeed standing on holy ground ~ remove your shoes.

-edh-