Monday, February 25, 2013

Lent: Defining the Promise

Over the past couple of weeks, we've been touring new day care centers for Zoom. At one, a Christian day care, I asked about their Bible study curriculum.

"We only teach the New Testament and Jesus, and not the Old Testament because it's not age appropriate."

I'll admit, I nearly cried. What you maybe don't know about me ... I went to Divinity School to study the Old Testament, and to get more of a perspective on the Ancient Near East. I love the early stories, I love the relationship of God and his people. I find Moses to be incredibly inspiring, because like so many men and women of the Old Testament, he was called by God, and was afraid, but stepped out in faith and became a leader, even though he questioned his initial calling. I can relate to this story, especially the early moment when Moses questions his authority and his calling, saying to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

And God said, “I will be with you." (Exodus 11 and 12)

 Moses came to understand B'rit, or the covenant with God. B'rit is God's Promise of having a relationship with His people. It's God's agreement that He will be with us, even when we're scared, even when we're not sure, abandoned, even when we're in the bottom of a pit and betrayed by family.

The Old Testament gives us living examples of people who persevered even in the face of challenges that were decidedly not "age appropriate," (Joseph, Ruth, Naomi, Dinah, Daniel, baby Moses) and in doing so we learn that regardless of our situation God will stay faithful. We find role models that inspire us, who we can relate to. And we find out that the big old loving promise started with God's people, in the Old Testament.

 It ripped out my heart that children would not be taught this. The beginning of the story. That God's promise is that old, as old as time, and it is timeless, unwavering. And God's promise continues, coming to life in the person of Jesus in the New Testament.

May each of you experience a bit of God's larger story today, embracing all of the moments that come your way, and recognizing that in the "in the bitter, in the sweet, in the calm and in the storm, All of Life is Holy Ground."

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