The Israelites who follow Moses out of Egypt have experienced some significant traumas! During the liberation process from the oppressive Pharaoh, they have crossed the parted Red Sea and witnessed the massive drowning of their pursuers. They also have learned to trust the Lord for their survival in the wilderness. They have learned to rely on God both for food and for water. And Moses, as their leader, helps bring them to this trust through his own obedience to God’s commands. No wonder the group’s anxiety escalates when Moses takes a long time before coming down from Mount Sinai.
We can also understand why the traumatized Israelites would go to the next in command with their request. They ask Aaron to make gods for them as a coping mechanism to soothe their anxiety when they become apprehensive and impatient while wandering in a strange place. The fretful people willingly give up their precious gold earrings toward the making of an idol. They willingly sacrifice relationship with the one true God for a golden idol. Moses has left them too long.
Tough times and tribulations that we have experienced in the past or face now can make it more difficult or quite impossible to stay close to our Maker. God may seem absent from our midst. As disciples of Jesus, we must willingly acknowledge how our untended wounds may impact our relationships with the Divine and with each other. Using temporary or unhealthy practices to substitute the authentic relationship with God will only delay our reconciliation with Yahweh.

Ultimate Healer, help us face and repair our individual and collective wounds from life’s traumas so we may live joyfully as your faithful creation. Amen.

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Lectionary Week
October 9–15, 2017
Scripture Overview

The narrative in Exodus 32:1-14 reflects on the blindness of the people, but the focus is also placed on Yahweh’s intense anger and on Moses’ intervention. Yahweh’s mercy prevails, and Moses is revealed as the quintessential mediator. Psalm 106 recalls the folly of the people in making the golden calf. The sinfulness of the Israelites is laid to their forgetfulness. The inability and unwillingness of the people of God to remember is a damning sin that calls for a tough response. The Philippians text stresses the need for faithfulness to the gospel. Matthew’s version of the parable of the wedding banquet offers a negative example of faithfulness in the form of a guest who comes to the wedding without the proper attire.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Exodus 32:1-14. How do you demonstrate allegiance to or dependence on God’s faithfulness in your life? What “golden calf” diverts your attention?
• Read Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23. Re ect on those times when you recalled the past, lamented, and cried for mercy.
• Read Philippians 4:1-9. Con ict creates discord. How do you handle con ict in your spiritual journey? in your church?
• Read Matthew 22:1-14. God continually invites us to divine encounters—with God directly and with others. How seriously do you take God’s invitations?

Respond by posting a prayer.

This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”

Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.