A Pastor Chad Lenten Update – 3/17/2023
This week as we bring our Week of Compassion coinboxes back to worship, we will remember those around the world who are struggling and looking for answers in the midst of the hardship of life. Our text shared last Sunday talked about God’s people in the wilderness and their search for water in the desert. They were perplexed and confused at how it might be possible that God would free them from Egypt’s grasp only to have them languish and die in the wilderness. They wonder to themselves, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
In our weekly devotional, Rev. Danielle Shroyer wrote (ref. Exodus 17:1-7):
In the seasons of our lives, we all have felt frustrated and lost in the wilderness. During this times, our fear gets the better of us. Survival mode reigns. Sometimes our focus on survival is so loud we miss the cry underneath. "God, have you abandoned me?" What would it have looked like, I wonder, if the Israelites had instead cried out for God's assurance? "Show us you're still with us, God," they could have prayed with open hearts. "We feel alone and unmoored." Where could the water have come from, if the question had come from a softer place than the rock of our human defenses?"
What I hear Rev. Shroyer suggesting is that instead of lashing out in anger with God, instead to simply be honest with ourselves and with God about what we need and express it to God. What is it that we REALLY need? What is it that we REALLY want from God? Are we open to asking? Expressing our deepest needs to the one who knows us and loves us?
That being said, I also believe that God loves us enough to take our frustration, anger, and pain as well—no need to perform and play nice. God is big enough to take our questions and angst and emotion no matter what it is. However we are feeling, what a gift it would be to be REALLY honest with ourselves and with God about what we are truly thirsting for.
As we give our coin boxes this week, it is one of the ways that “The Lord is among us.” Our gifts expressed in love and generosity will go a long way to helping those who are facing great struggle in these moments. Our gifts are like water from the rock. May we continue to give generously and may we, ourselves, be honest with God about what we are thirsting for in our lives.
This Sunday, we will look at a powerful and thought-provoking passage in John 9 about a man born blind. What can we gather from the passage? What questions do we have? How can we see more clearly with Jesus as our guide? Come to worship with your joys, sorrows, faith, and questions as we continue on this journey of Lent.
Please check out the congregation’s questions from last Sunday (below) and looking forward to being with you in worship this Sunday!
Peace in Christ,
Week 3 – Questions on Exodus 17:1-7
- Why didn’t God prepare water in advance so people don’t have to test him?
- How do basic needs block our ability to think and act on more intangibles
- Is the Lord among us or not? — Moses and the people. Seriously.
- Should we trust that water is the way to God?
- Let’s discuss what Jesus means by “living water.” I get the feeling that it has more than one meaning
- Why is it that the people are testing God when they ask for water? Should their faith be for God to provide all things to them all the time?
- Why are we always being tested/punished?
- Why are many folks so impatient?
- Would you say “racism” existed even in Jesus’ time; example Jesus and the woman at the well
- I wonder how water from a rock would taste….?
- Why does God not physically stand in front of us?
- What is meant by “living water?”
- Why are we people of limited faith?
- What do you do if you approach the well and it appears to be dried up/empty?
- Are we always seeking God out or is he always already there and we simply ignore him?
- Why did the Lord not just tell them to ALL walk to the rock?
- When asked this question I didn’t know how to respond: “How is accepting lifestyle of lgbt not condoning sin?”
- How can we trust/have faith in God like Moses did?
- How do you comprehend what you can not?
- Moses didn’t ask God to give the people water. Instead he said, “What shall I do with these people?” Did God know already what they needed?
- How does God choose when to perform miracles?
- What is the difference between hope and false hope?
- Should we test the Lord, can we answer our own questions with prayer?
- Why do the people complain about things as they have been released from slavery?