Trinity United Church
August 30, 2020
Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Anjanee Gyan-Dyck, Ed. D., LLWL
Liturgy: Exodus 3: 1-15, Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26,45, Romans 12: 9-21, Matthew 16:21-28
I urge you to read each of the scriptures for a greater understanding of the Reflection.
Dear Loving Father and Divine Mother:
I am pouring out my heart to you today so that you can fill every cell in my body with your love. Your love is pure and perfect energy that is not indecisive and confused. Your love has the power to dissolve all feelings of fear, weaknesses and limitations that block my mind from positiveness and creativity. It is your loving energy that melts away my compulsive complaining and resentfulness of circumstances and people. I now let go of all ill-feelings that weigh in the space of my heart. Pour your love into me and strengthen my resolve to focus on your Presence daily in my life. It is only in receiving your love that I can truly share love with others. Thank you, my Beloved Father and Mother. Amen
Some of you may agree with me that our entire globe is currently experiencing dark days. These are indeed the grimmest of times even for our ultra modern world with the increasing numbers of global deaths and cases of COVID-19, diminishing economies and resources, isolation and hardships. I could add a few more but you, like me, are already experiencing many of these restrictions while many of us are lucky to have reasonably good health. Daily we are warned to be careful and stay safe yet we still want to do some things we have always done and we continue to demand our social and economic freedom to institutions and businesses.
The reading from Exodus 3:1-15 takes us to 3 250 years ago in Egypt. Imagine yourself as a Jewish slave there. They experienced physical and mental bondage. The cruelty and suffering they endured were unbearable. God knew their unimaginable pain and came down to rescue them. The reading states that God did indeed come down to earth not only through Moses but as we know, later on through Jesus.
The reading describes Moses’ curiosity that leads him to encounter the Divine Presence of God as a burning bush. Even though Moses is reluctant, God assures him, “I will be with you.” When Moses asks, “Who are you? What is your name?” God replies, “I AM who I AM. The One who is called, I AM.” At the same time, Moses must have also had to ask himself, “Who am I? Who am I being asked to be because I am nobody. Moses also has to find out what he is being asked to do by God?”
As we ponder on this holy encounter and the transformational effect and realization on Moses, let us visit the reading from Matthew 16:21-28 fifteen hundred (1 500) years later. Jesus is speaking to his disciples about his approaching suffering and death. The outspoken Peter replies aloud to Jesus, “That must never happen to you!” Like many of us who complain loudly, Peter was speaking from his one-way, materialistic mindset and not from his inner God-self. He was instantly rebuked by Jesus.
We may wonder why Jesus did so because you and I could have said the same thing! Peter fails to understand that the forward path
involves internal strength rather than worldly knowledge. Jesus told him in plain words that his thoughts do not come from God but from man, meaning the material world. Jesus explains how to “carry the cross,” which means to encounter the Almighty God within. The path of Jesus was godly and holy because he was always in the Presence of God. Every step and every action he took was a sacred one that enabled him to always stand on holy ground. Moses, himself, had to learn that being in God’s Presence was to stand on holy ground. It is only by “carrying the cross” within, the oneness with God, that we can think and act from this one power encounter. It is only then that we too can stand on Holy Ground.
Peter, like the other disciples and many of us, find it very difficult to understand, much less, encounter God of the burning bush within our own inner self. The Old Testament reading on Moses is a good guide to help us prepare our body and mind for our own spiritual awareness, strength and actions. Intrigued by the light of the burning bush, we see Moses, not being allowed to get closer, but straining to hear God’s voice – My name is “I AM.” This is the very name of our own Conscious Self inside of each of us. A Sanskrit mantra, “Sohum” also means “I am That.” I AM is the nature of God, the Christ-Consciousness that is our Consciousness within our self as well. Paul stated this when he said, “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me,” and also as Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.”
When we can encounter the Divine One in us, we can experience the greatest and most amazing quality of love for the Supreme Being is Love itself. Your love between your soul and the Holy Spirit – I AM is the perfect love. Paul’s Letter to the Romans 12:9-21 helps us to answer what are we being asked to do in life, like Moses. Paul describes what love is and the power it has to conquer evil, greed, laziness, complaining, thoughtlessness, etc. He explains how love is the basis for patience, devotion, joy, humility, tolerance, peace, goodness, forgiveness, etc. Without love, we are empty vessels. We must have love. It is the very nature of the Divine God. Each moment that you spend near the sacred flame in your heart allows love to grow and grow. Moses, Jesus, and Peter understood the loving power of the Presence of God. These three leaders and many more, later on, came to also know that in the midst of their holy encounters on earth there was also the murky shadow of cruelty.
Today, in many different ways, we too, are facing murky shadows. It is easy to identify a few of them. We continue to complain about church closures, inaccessibility to hospitals, doctors, church
leaders, clinics, specialty stores, libraries, banks, etc. For one moment in our time, if we stop thinking about ourselves as social beings with rights, and ask ourselves “Who am I? What am I being asked to do? we may begin to get close to finding out from getting near to God’s Presence within us. Conversely, we may end up complaining like the Israelites did about their situation and their leader, Moses.
Your encounter with God is a powerful one. Paul’s Letter to the Romans 12:9-21 can help you to begin your journey and prepare yourself as Moses did in the desert. It can help you to face your moments of darkness and to cope with the murky shadows that clog your mind and prevent you from recognizing the grandeur within. As you connect with the “I AM” within, instead of negativity, love will grow and millions of thrills will pass through your heart. If you strive to love all and to meditate more deeply, love will come into your whole life that you never dreamed possible. Moses, Jesus, and Peter and others who encountered God, lived their lives in love and service to God. Similarly, when we encounter God-the I AM in our heart, collectively, we can bring God once more to soothe our saddened earth.
It is this collective spirit that can usher in the new age.
As we navigate through these darkening crises, the path ahead may seem cruel but we all have to walk through this journey on earth. One thing that is absolutely sure is that the love of God is available all the time to us – uncertain, searching and unsure human beings. Here is a short assurance that I found that can help each one of us:
The Light of God surrounds me,
The Love of God enfolds me,
The Power of God protects me,
The Presence of God watches over me.
Wherever I am, God is.
Holy Spirit, so often I try to put you in a box or frame you in my own image. I forget that my body is your temple and my heart, your home. I pray to you to allow your divine image to define and shape me. How can I ever praise You adequately!
You are everlasting and all-pervading.
You are the ultimate knowing and the means of salvation.
You are the light that clears away all darkness.
You are the Joy that resonates throughout the universe.
No matter where I am, You are there.
Burn my past and fill this empty vessel, and
Like Moses, in Your Presence, I stand on Holy Ground ready to love and serve You.