It’s the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost – 30 August 2020 – and we have another story about Moses from the Book of Exodus as our main scriptural reading.
Moses and the Burning Bush.
The theme of the broken servant – such as Moses – and God’s call recurs throughout Scripture. Moses is a broken man and he is nowhere geographically and spiritually when he encounters God – in the burning bush that is not consumed.
The 4 Lectionary Scriptures for this week are below, including the Exodus text. There are also prayers, Geoff’s audio sermon and Kath’s musical selection.
Exodus 3:1-15 (New International Version)
Moses and the Burning Bush
3 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’
“This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation.
1 Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
2 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
3 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
4 Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
5 Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
6 you his servants, the descendants of Abraham,
his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.
23 Then Israel entered Egypt;
Jacob resided as a foreigner in the land of Ham.
24 The Lord made his people very fruitful;
he made them too numerous for their foes,
25 whose hearts he turned to hate his people,
to conspire against his servants.
26 He sent Moses his servant,
and Aaron, whom he had chosen.
45 that they might keep his precepts
and observe his laws.
Praise the Lord.
Love in Action
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Jesus Predicts His Death
21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Offer your very selves to God: a living sacrifice, dedicated and fit for his acceptance. Romans 12:1
Creator God, you have created all things good. Nothing is beyond your reach or your redemption. You are the God of the whole universe, of all of creation and yet you are mindful of us. You call on us to reveal your presence and to speak of your faithfulness from generation to generation. Wherever we are, you are there. You were there before we arrived and will be there when we leave. Your presence makes every space a sacred space. You delight in our praise and rejoice in all your people who find a way to acknowledge your presence in our world and in our lives.
May our worship bring us back to you and increase our awareness of your beating heart at the centre of life, calming our fears and restoring our souls, knowing ourselves beloved of God, united with all your creatures in heaven and on earth.
We confess that often our eyes are so downcast that we fail to discern your presence all around. We confess that, even when your presence is startling, we can be so wrapped up in ourselves that we fail to notice. We confess that we have missed opportunities to witness to the presence of God at work in our lives and in the lives of others. We confess that we rarely live up to the marks of being Christian by grasping too tightly all that we have and by excluding others from our tightly drawn circle.
Forgive us, O God. Lift up our eyes to see you everywhere. Draw us out of ourselves to discern your presence all around. Give us boldness to proclaim your works. Release us from the boundaries we set ourselves, freeing us to love and welcome others in your name. Commission us anew, in the light of your forgiveness to draw attention to you in all of life.
NOTE: The above audio is in mp3 format and is also downloadable, if you wish to listen at a time when you may not have a reliable internet connection. Other devices are available but, on a PC, for example, if you right-click on the 3 vertical dots at the right side of the audio player, the drop-down menu should offer the option to “Save as…”
Prayers of Intercession
God, you love all that you have made, the world and all its creatures. Your love gathers and enfolds all things. Your heart breaks when any part of your creation suffers. So God, as our awareness grows of you present all around, may we be so attuned that we weep where you weep and our hearts break where yours is broken.
We pray for world leaders, that they may be filled with your wisdom and love and your healing power. We pray that their eyes, and our eyes, may be opened to the need to find new ways forward and the possibilities that abound for honouring all creation and for building nations where all are valued, where all matter.
We pray for all who live in fear today and for those whose fears have been realised – those who mourn loved ones, those who see no light of dawn after darkness. We pray too for those who have given up hoping for different or better. May we hold out hope and faith enough for the world and may we live in love.
God awaken us to your truth and your light, to all the opportunities we have of emerging from darkness fuelled by new energy to make our world, our church and our neighbourhood beacons of hope that is realised in our serving you by serving one another
Accept all these prayers, through Jesus Christ, our Lord who taught us to pray…
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
I selected the song “What a faithful God” as God’s love and faithfulness is worthy of all our praise. I never get tired singing the chorus over and over!