Good morning everyone, and welcome to our distance prayer group. Today I have been thinking about how we approach God, what name do we give Him? The Radio 4 service on Bible Sunday from St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, was all about reading the Bible, and letting the Bible read us. Question: “Why do we read the Bible?” Answer: “Because it shows us the truth about ourselves and the truth about God.” So I am hoping to discover our name for God in a 3000 year old story about Moses, using Exodus 3 verses 1-15 as our reading.
In this awe-inspiring meeting at Mt Horeb, God knows Moses's name - Moses is frightened; he wants to know God's name, but God says “I am who I am”. Like our social distancing, God doesn't shake Moses's hand, but for Moses, He is still personal, for God knows his name. God knows our name too; and like Moses we are fearful, for among other things this pandemic shows us our fragility and precarious existence. But God says “I see you, I know you, I under-stand you, I will be with you”. Like the HSBC advert on TV, we know we are not alone. Moses then says “Here I am, put me to work”. Can we respond to God's call like Moses?
Then God says “I want to set you free”. For months, life for many of us has been like prison. Yet in the middle of this crisis there have been kind and patient people around. People who seem to be above fear, who have time for us, who seem to have been set free from worry. The future still looks bleak and frightening for us at present, but God is walking beside us however long it takes. Do we want to be free and welcome His presence with us?
God also says “I am on fire with love for you”. Like the burning bush Moses witnessed, God's love is a passion that burns but never destroys. Consider that image of fire in the Old Testament - the burning bush - then read about fire in the New Testament - the Holy Spirit coming in tongues of flame (Acts 2). God's burning love can transform us as it did so many others on the day of Pentecost. In these images from scripture, God does come close to us and we can begin to make out His name. The Bible shows us that name for God is Jesus. God is saying “In Jesus, I am dying to set you free”. Exodus 3 v.15 says "This is my name for ever and this my title for all generations". Do we in our generation want to be in the Jesus story?
Some words from the preacher at St Martin's last Sunday: “When you discover the truth about God you’re reading the Bible. When you realise the truth about yourself you’re letting the Bible read you.”
God bless, keep safe, thanks for being there.