August 13th, 2003
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5, 8, 16-17
A Stiff-Necked People
The people complained bitterly to Moses. "What have you
gotten us into?" Hunger, heat, and years toiling through the desert
brought rebellion. "Wasn' t Egypt a better place to die?" Moses complained
to God, "They are going to kill me. Do something." God listened
to the clamor. Water was found. Laws were revealed. God
dwelt among them.
Relationships to God and community are restored again and again.
The people were on fire. Following Christ became the passionate source
of their days. A new identity slowly took shape. But rifts were
not left behind. The currents of community bring injuries. Jesus
calls us to forgive and be forgiven. The space between us already is
too great. We won 't improve without the help of others.
The main character in Naguib Mahfouz's story was a powerful man full of
contradictions. He loved midnight revelry and secret liaisons.
He also loved God. He loved his family but ruled with fear. His
self-deception resolved into a bargain: God, grant me forgiveness, but not
true repentance. I am not ready. Not yet.
God, we are a stiff-necked people. Our own righteousness blinds us.
Your call is buried in our chatter. We fear to listen.
Restore us to community. Teach us the joy of forgiveness.
to the writer of this reflection.
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