I’m glad to be back in Colchester after a wonderful 8 day retreat at Gonzaga Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester, MA. Truthfully, I struggle to answer the question, “How was your retreat?” Because it’s hard to put into words! Sometimes when we have spiritual experiences, they are not easy to describe.
On retreat, I was vividly reminded of the story of Moses pleading with God in Exodus 33:12-23. Moses and God are having a conversation about how things are going as Moses does his best to lead God’s people forward. But Moses feels a little stuck and says to God, “Now if you do think highly of me, show me your ways so that I may know you and so that you may really approve of me . . . Please show me your glorious presence.” (Exodus 33:13 and 18)
I just love this. How many times have I preached that God is after authenticity?
God desires a real relationship with humanity, with you and with me.
We see this time and again in our tradition.
I love that Moses asks to be shown God’s ways and even to see God’s glorious presence.
That took guts. That took chutzpah (extreme self-confidence or audacity)!
God doesn’t reprimand Moses for this. Moses isn’t scolded for this.
Instead, God tells Moses that he can’t see God’s face and live, nobody can. But “Here is a place near me where you will stand beside the rock. As my glorious presence passes by, I’ll set you in a gap in the rock, and I’ll cover you with my hand until I’ve passed by. Then I’ll take away my hand, and you will see my back, but my face won’t be visible.” (Exodus 33:21-23)
Sometimes we desire to know God’s ways.
We want to see God’s glorious presence.
And sometimes we get glimpses, glimpses of God’s glorious presence passing by as we sit among the rocks.
Photos by Rev. Lauren L. Ostrout
Thursday Thoughts 10/6/22