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Giving new meaning to the phrase "children of God"


They say writing is hard work. Heretofore I have never considered writing "work" (not since university, anyway), because I have only engaged in it when I felt like it.

My goal in this space is to produce pieces on a regular basis. Now I understand writing being hard work, because I have "blogger's block". I don't feel like writing. Nevertheless, here I am.

Enough meta-blogging. Here is some content.

I am a lector at my parish, so I have a "workbook" containing all the Sunday readings as well as commentary. The commentary for
today's Old Testament reading remarks that the Israelites in this selection ask what must be the second most irritating question in the Bible:

"Why did you ever make us leave Egypt? Was it just to have us die here of thirst with our children and our livestock?" (Ex 17:3)

Now anyone who is familiar with teenagers will be able to hear the sarcastic whine in that question. And there's more: the commentary also left a teaser saying that the first most irritating question is in Exodus 14. I looked up that chapter, and the question they are referring to jumps out:

"Were there no burial places in Egypt that you had to bring us out here to die in the desert?" (Ex 14:11)

Whoa Nellie! Now that's a doozy: "Why'd you drag us all the way out here to die? Aren't there enough graves in Egypt?" There's more. I found a grumble that ties those two questions:

"Would that we had died at the LORD'S hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread! But you had to lead us into this desert to make the whole community die of famine!" (Ex 16:3)

There's that sarcastic whine again: "I wish we could have died in Egypt where at least we had food, instead of starving to death out here!"

I think of the book of Exodus as an allegory how we relate to God as we endure the human condition. Despite the very concrete and tangible ways the Lord reveals himself to the wandering Israelites, they can barely keep their minds on him; instead they are distracted by their own hunger and thirst, let alone by shiny golden calves. It is as if God gives us, today, the book of Exodus in order to say, "I will chase you down until the day you die and will never abandon you, but see what happens when I do all the work?"

The moral is that it is easier to let God come to us when we are invested in the process. Thus God gives us times when he seems silent so we must strain to hear, and times when he seems absent so we must strain to see.

I don't mean our own works justify us; that's heresy. I mean that God is a clever leader, who makes it seem like we are helping out even when it is all his doing.

God is the original Dale Carnegie. Or, another way to look at it, the original mother of a toddler.

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