Shekinah Glory

In-Between Times
March 6, 2011, 12:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Moses returns to the mountain, disappearing into the clouds and into the devouring fire. Moses is swallowed up and out of sight of the people whom have followed him out of the land of Egypt to converse with God about legalese. We are in the moment between liberation and institution. The excitement of leaving the chains is still fresh in everyone’s mind. Some are still recovering from the lashes that the Egyptian’s laid across their backs at a Pharaoh’s order. Some may still smell the sea air in their cloths from the Red Sea which closed upon the chasing Egyptian army behind them. This text is the pause between freedom and the moment where someone says, “So, now that we don’t have the oppressive yoke of slavery around our neck, how do we live?” It is the moment between a popular movement and a semi-permanent government. It is the difference between listening to God through Moses alone and the building of a Tabernacle to house the presence of God in the people’s midst. It is definitely a time in-between.

So, now the pillar of fire that has led the nation of Israel into the desert has rested in the clouds of a mountain. This fire beckons Moses forward so that they can reason about how this covenantal people shall behave. Still, it is more than mere individualistic, moralistic codes like some who would wheel the 10 commandments into public halls would make you believe. That is merely the beginning of a code that solidifies the relationship of a nation’s government with their most high creator. It is a way to do trade, it is a way to do worship, it is a way to order family, it is a way to understand agriculture, it is a way to regulate food preparation and it is a new way to to be a nation.

This is a law that Moses will continue to expound upon in scroll after scroll. Yet, here it is the exciting discovery of law. It is the difference of living by someone else’s oppressive rules your entire life and then finding out that you are free. Sure there are fits and starts to come with this new law. The people get confused and mix idols in with the God whom has no image, but is a relationship. The law will be lost, forgotten and rediscovered in generations to come. In the end the prophets will come to proclaim its reformation in the people’s hearts. Finally, Christ will remind those of the celebration of this path into the fire on the mountain. He will remind those crippled by a legalistic mindset that the law was made for humans and not humans for the law.

Yet, here we are waiting for Moses to return from the mountain so we can know how to live.

I believe that this church finds itself in such a moment of in-between times. It is between the times of the memory of a beloved patriarchs and matriarchs, the fond memories of bonnet filled children in pictures, the fading presence of previous pastors, the changes of a neighborhood and most importantly a shift in how important the church is seen by a neighborhood. Some are freedoms that we may celebrate, while others seem like sad losses.

It is time to move on. Pining for the past is what is done when someone has little or no future. Whether good or bad we can no longer be stifled and stagnant. Memories and Ghosts are not visions and dreams. Decisions must be made and you must make them. We have no Moses returning from the fiery bosom of our maker to tell us the direction of this church. It is time for us to grow up in our faith and determine where we want this place to be.

Let’s not make the mistake of the nation of Israel. We do not have to flounder in the desert for 40 years because we lack the courage to walk into the promised land. It is time to make some decisions about what we expect, what we want and if those expectations come anywhere close to reality. Then when we make our decisions we need to be content. Content that we have done something good for the furtherance of God’s work.

Let’s not become paralyzed because of in-between times. Let’s courageously lead and show our community the example that this place is excited about its future and expects to flourish in faith well into the future.


2 Comments so far
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Brian, this was wonderful. I think we all find ourselves “in-between-times” during our lives. I love your prophetic call to move forward. I especially love how you candidly call the church out of the past. Beautifully done. 🙂

Comment by Crystal

Thank you.

Comment by pastorofdisaster

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