Daily Reflection
July 13th, 1999
Steve Kline
Public Relations
Exodus 2:1-15a
Matthew 11:20-24
I pick through today's readings searching for a scrap of hope, a grain of encouragement.

For the most part, the words at first glance are neither hopeful nor encouraging:

Many children endangered.  One saved.  Anger, murder, exile.

The psalm is about anguish, distress and offers prayers that enemies suffer spectacular and awful punishments.

In the passage from Matthew, Jesus tells people in certain towns that surely they will burn in hell.  Their sin?  They were thick-headed.

What am I supposed to make of all this?

That there is unexpected brutality and that life will take unpleasant twists and turns?  I know that already.  That no matter what I do, I will be the victim of back-stabbers, gossips, bullies?  I know that, too.  That if I am not quite sharp enough to discern God's message, I will go straight to hell?

I didn't know that.

So I look again at the Moses story.  The infant will be God's instrument of salvation.  God protects him.  Moses finds refuge, even after committing murder.  God's purpose is being played out even when all I see is evil and despair.

I find my scrap of hope in the psalm:

". . . You who seek God, take heart . . . "

There is my focus: Seek God.  Do not be distracted by evil, do not obsess about what others do or say.  Seek God.  Take heart.

With this attitude, the passage from Matthew offers a new understanding: Jesus is telling me that it is important for me to pay attention.  Jesus' words are bursting with hope and encouragement.  How?  Why?

Because God is alive and with me here and now, and that should make a difference in the way that I live.  If it doesn't, if Jesus has no impact, then nothing can save me.

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