31 Maple Street
Bristol, Connecticut USA
September 3, 2023
Rev. Kristen J. Kleiman
This past week, life for many children – and adults – changed. A new school year began, and kids walked into new classrooms and new schools. Teachers and school staff greeted new students. Parents transitioned too – putting their children on the bus for the very first time; sending their kids off to college. Even life for new graduates changed as for the first time, they did not buy school supplies and begin another school year.
Our lives are constantly full of change. In New England, our nights are growing cooler. Our hours of daylight are growing shorter. Life is constantly changing, and yet, instead of expecting change every moment of our lives, we often assume, hope even?, that everything will stay the same.
Moses was no different from us. After a tumultuous birth where he was given up by his Israelite mother to save his life and then adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter; after a privileged childhood where he was raised as a prince of Egypt which led to an extremely unfortunate incident where Moses took justice into his own hands and killed an Egyptian who was beating an Israelite; after all of that rollercoaster of change, Moses had settled down into a life in Midian.
Moses’ sense of justice, his heart for fairness, led him to help the daughters of Jethro, which led to marriage with one of Jethro’s seven daughters. And Moses set out to live a life of calm and tranquility, a life of ordinariness, a life tending his father-in-law’s flock during the day and coming home to his family at night.
It is a life many aspire to – no high highs, no low lows. Just the same ordinary good day as the day before.
Same is not how life goes, though, and Moses discovered that, one day when he was out doing his same daily task as every other day. This day was different. This day, there was a flame of fire coming out of a bush, and yet burn as it did, the bush was never consumed.
We say we like things to stay the same; however really, we like a bit of novelty, a bit of excitement, otherwise we would watch the crackling yule log channel instead of action adventure movies.
Moses’ eye was captured by this incredible sight. Moses was curious, and he stopped to marvel at what this could be. And that was when God changed Moses’ life forever. That was when God invited Moses to be God’s instrument in freeing God’s people from slavery and oppression.
On the one hand, it is a wonderful thing to so clearly hear God’s calling for our lives. It is a blessing to know which way God wants us to go in life, and yet, this was a big, big change. One moment, Moses was a ‘nothing’ shepherd watching over someone else’s sheep, and the next, he was being called by the God of his ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to be a front and center leader, boldly going to Pharaoh to bring the Israelites out of Egypt!
This was quite a pivot, and of course, Moses resisted it. Of course, he had his reasons, his excuses for why he needed to stay in this place and not journey forward into the future God had planned for him.
We all do it. Whether our invitation from God is big: the birth of a child, a wedding, a new job or new school year or something more low key like a new activity or ministry, a new piece of furniture, a new healthy habit, whatever God’s still speaking voice is calling us to, it is always change. And that is scary. Like Moses, we often have our reasons, our excuses for why we need to stay in this place and not journey forward into the future God has planned for us.
And that is where God says to us what God always says to us – ‘do not be afraid. I will be with you.’
I will be with you.
Oftentimes, the reason why I am afraid of change is because I worry about whether I will be up for the new. Will I have the time? Will I have the ability? Will I have the energy?
Change requires all of those things from us. God is promising to be there with us. Even as God calls us to move forward into the new, to grow, learn, and change, God is also promising to be with us, to give us the strength, ability, and energy to do this new thing.
It is simply who God is. The very essence of God is to love, to always be with us, to comfort us when we are afraid, to give us hope when we are unsure, to encourage, inspire, and strengthen us. To be our constant in the change.
Every day, God’s spirit is trying to catch our attention and guide us forward. The signs of the Spirit might not be as eye-catching as a burning bush; however if you look, if you listen, everywhere you go, you will start to hear God’s voice calling you, you will start to see God’s signs all around you.
And then maybe the change that is before each and every one of us, every day of our lives, then maybe that change won’t feel so intimidating or overwhelming because you will also know that God is there. God is with you, blessing you with strength and God’s presence.
God is calling you, inviting you, guiding you, and no matter the hardship you might encounter, no matter the discomfort, no matter the energy you need to expend, you will know you are in exactly the right place for you, in the place where God wants you to be, living the life God dreams for you, stepping into the future of hope God has planned.
God is with you. In this moment, in every moment, God’s love, strength, and presence are with us. Our constants in this ever changing life.