Daily Reflection
August 13th, 2003
Jeanne Schuler
Philosophy Department
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Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Psalms 66:1-3, 5, 8, 16-17
Matthew 18:15-20

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.


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