ONLINE REFLECTION, ST. PAUL’S, FOLEY – PROPER 17, YEAR A
AUGUST 30, 2020
TEXT: Exodus 3:1-15
Collect for the Day – Proper 17
Moses had fled Egypt. He had murdered an Egyptian overseer after seeing him mistreat a Hebrew slave. He had married and taken refuge in the Sinai wilderness, and was a shepherd for his father-in-law Jethro.
One day, as he was tending the sheep, he saw a mysterious sight which attracted him. It was a bush that was afire, but it was not being consumed. Even stranger, a voice spoke to him out of the burning bush. “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob… You must lead my people out of bondage in Egypt.”
A reluctant Moses, knowing the opposition he would face, asked: “Whom shall I say sent me?” The interpretation of that mysterious response has been debated ever since the moment it was spoken: “I AM WHO I AM… Tell them I AM sent you.”
In the Hebrew language, that name is rendered as four letters. Hebrew does not have vowels, so the Hebrew letters have been translated as Jehovah by some, and YAHWEH by others. It is called the divine tetragrammaton – God’s naming of himself. Besides I AM WHO I AM, it can be translated I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE. But that is a discussion for another time.
The trajectory of sacred history from that point is known. Moses leads the Hebrews out of Egypt. They conquer and settle in the Promised Land (a point of much discussion even today). They have judges, then kings and face conquests. Their Holy City is laid waste. They are dispersed among the nations. Jesus comes to fulfill God’s promise. And the church is founded on his message and resurrection.
It all goes back to that moment at the foot of Mt. Sinai and God’s self-disclosure. The words “I AM WHO I AM” ring down through sacred history today.
Because of I AM, WE ARE. That is our sacred lineage. Without God being who God will be, we are lost. His messages of self-giving love, righteousness, justice, grace, and hope are the core of what we proclaim and how we are to live.
Because of I AM, WE ARE.