This week we hear a biblical story of the human experience of divine presence – Moses’ craving to physically see God. This is a feeling that other people may also have experienced as they confront times of uncertainty. Through the story we hear that there is an assurance that God desires to be in an authentic, mutual, loving relationship and through the session material we explore experiences of God’s presence in others’ and our own lives. Biblical scholars discourage readers of the story from thinking of God in human form (anthropomorphic). They note that the Hebrew word translated “my back” (v. 23) is achorai
, which refers not so much to something spatial as temporal. What God actually says to Moses is that Moses can see “my afterward.” In other words, Moses like us, can experience the effect or the power and presence of God without seeing a being called “God.”
As we read this ancient story, let’s feel the bedrock of God saying all the things that God will do. Let’s be comforted by the craving of Moses to physically see God. Let’s find ourselves as often as we can in the clefts of rock where, if we are patient, we will at least see the “afterward” of God, to whom we orient our living. Let prayer be the moment-to-moment, lively conversation with God who desires a reciprocal loving relationship with us.
Holy Companion, the place I will not go is the one where you are not. The rock I will not hold is the one you will not pass. The rest I will not have is the one you have not given. The friendship I will not live is the one that is not of you. Amen.