The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night.-Exodus 13:21
Here, in Exodus 13:21, we stand before the wild and untamed presence of a God who appears not as something that is easy to visualize, comprehend, or grasp, but as one who is raw kinetic energy, moving, dancing, and swirling unpredictably before the people. Like the divine name, YHWH, which cannot be reduced to a syllable or sound and whose meaning refuses encapsulation by logically and carefully worded formulae, this visible fiery manifestation of God cannot be contained. It is uncontrollable, wild; God is free. Walter Brueggeman wrote “We live our lives before the wild, dangerous, unfettered, and free character of the living God.” This wild and untamed God brings risk. When the cosmos was created, God said “It is good” not “It is safe.”
Our journey with God in Lent brings promising risks of considerable loss. There will, indeed, be losses, and yes, death too if we be so blessed – the death of our unfaithfulness, pride, hypocrisy, self-indulgence, exploitation of others, dishonesty, and all manner of unrighteousness. The free and unregulated movement of God leads us through the barrenness of our inner selves to a place where we, too, are free, fully alive, and at home in the affections of our untamed God.
Lord Jesus lead us into a death like yours so that we may experience a resurrection like yours. Amen.
Rev. Mike Brown, Partner Congregation Pastor