14 Jun Moses Action Figures, Anyone?
There is so, so much that preachers are not taught in seminary. Don’t get me wrong—I loved my seminary experience and I learned a ton—about theology and scripture, preaching and worship, pastoral care and the sacraments. I use my theological education every day, and I was blessed to receive an excellent foundation that serves me well and that I continue to build on. But, no one taught me how to conduct a Session meeting, or how to talk about stewardship and capital campaigns, or how clip-on microphones work. No one mentioned a word about how to get the office copy machine unjammed, or how to manage social media, or what to include in new members’ classes. And, for sure, no one told me I would one day be sitting in my office googling Moses action figures.
(In case you’re wondering, yes, the Moses action figures are pretty great. But nothing, and I mean nothing, beats the plague puppets and the plague masks for sheer awesomeness! Seriously, I have the best job in the world!)
On Sunday, our very creative, clever, cool Calvary Kids started a visual display of the Moses story. A burlap-looking cloth is our Egyptian desert. A long, flowing scarf that runs between teals and greens and blues is our Nile River. We wrapped the baby Moses in a blanket, put him in a basket and set the basket in the river, as we re-enacted what Moses’ family did to save his life from the murderous Pharaoh.
Scripture tells us virtually nothing about Moses’ growing up years. When we left worship last week, he was a 3-month old in a basket. When we pick up the story this Sunday, he is already an adult (hence the urgent need for an action figure.) But, just because we don’t know the story of these years in Moses’ life doesn’t mean they weren’t important. As we saw on Sunday, there are a lot of “gaps” in scripture—periods of time when it appears that not much is happening. For example, between the last scene in Genesis, when Joseph dies, and the opening scene of Exodus, when Moses is born, 400 or more years have gone by. During these long years, there are no prophets who are speaking, no divine announcements being made, no angelic visitations of which we are aware. But it would be wrong to conclude that God was absent, uninvolved, or worse, didn’t care about what was happening with God’s people.
During those four centuries, the Israelites experienced a long period of blessing and abundance. Their families were strong and were multiplying, along with their herds of sheep and goats. They were relatively secure and at peace with their neighbors. God’s promise to Abraham, that Abraham would father a great nation, was coming true.
Even when changes began to occur, when a new Egyptian Pharaoh took the reins of power and began to deal harshly with the Hebrews, God was still at work, albeit behind-the-scenes for a little while longer. Moses’ education and training as an adolescent and young adult were, unbeknownst to anyone but God, all part of Moses’ preparation for the task God would eventually call him to do. Moses would need every bit of what he learned in the king’s palace. Even though he wasn’t aware of God being at work in his life, God was nonetheless very present indeed as Moses was formed into a compassionate, justice-seeking leader.
Sometimes, God doesn’t seem particularly present to us, either. We don’t have a specific awareness of how God is at work in our current circumstances, but that does not mean God is absent. Times of spiritual “silence” or “dryness” happen to almost every person of faith somewhere along the way. The story of Moses reminds us that waiting on God is part of our call to faithfulness. It reminds us to trust that God is working even when we can’t see it. Yes, I know, waiting and trusting can be hard. Moses action figure, anyone?
Yours for the Kingdom,