“Then I (God) will take away my hand, and you shall see me from the from the back” ~ Exodus 33:22
Dear People of St. David’s,
I hope and pray that you and yours are well and that you have a deep sense of peace and expectation about this new season of Lent. I’ve always loved this season of the Church year because more and more of us take time to pay attention to God and our spiritual lives. We find that our paying attention opens the door for God to enter our lives more and more. This year, the Daily Lenten Meditations are not only in printed form and as a PDF accessible on the website but are also being offered in podcast from called Cross Connections. I hope you’ll check it out.
In Lent and, indeed, through all seasons of our lives, most of us struggle with what’s coming next or what might happen for us, for the people we love, and for our church home. Part of this struggle and fear comes from our evolutionary brain that is always looking for danger around the next corner, so we don’t get eaten by that saber tooth tiger which is prowling around the neighborhood. Part of the struggle comes from some of life’s less pleasant experiences and the many losses that come for all of us. Part of it is that we’re not quite sure if God is actually watching out for us, even though we lean on faith in the hope that God is always with us.
None of us can rightly see what’s coming next, and so each day is lived on some spectrum that stretches from trust to fear. We hold onto faith and hope, but the truth is we only see God at work “from the backside”. Looking back over our lives can become a sure way to allow God to build our trust and help us to live in hope for whatever comes next.
One of my favorite stories about seeing God from the backside is referenced at the top of this letter in a conversation between Moses and God. At this point in the wanderings of the Hebrews on the way to the Promised Land, God and Moses have gotten very close – so close that Moses asks to see God face to face. This is not quite what the scripture says, but in the Frank Allen translation of the Bible, God responds to Moses, “There, there Moses. You can’t see me face to face but let me put you in the cleft of this hill and cover you with my hand. You’ll hear me pass by and after I do, I’ll remove my hand and you can see me after I’ve passed through, from the backside.”
That’s exactly what God does. Moses sees God and what God is about after God has passed through, and so do we. Take some time to look back over your life at the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ you’ve experienced, and you will see how God has been with you: the grace and love that have touched your life because God has been with you every step of the way.
God, this God of love who cares so deeply for us, invites us to live on the trust side of that spectrum and rely on God for whatever may be coming next. The promise of the Cross and Easter is that what is coming next is more life.
So, let me invite you this Lent and throughout the year to look for God as God has passed through. If you do, you will know that the God who has been with you, will be with you as you go forward, living in trust.
Grace and Peace.
The Rev. W. Frank Allen