Saturday, May 31, 2008

My Obituary

My obituary is what came to mind as I read Deuteronomy 34, about the death of Moses.

Then the LORD said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.”

He could only look at the promised land, not go in. This was because he had not followed God's clear instructions and guidance while leading God's people.

That speaks to me of my 20 years of ordained ministry, during which my church and my society have gone in awful directions - in large part because of me and people like me. Too many times when I chose to be acceptable to people by ignoring or covering over God's clear instructions. Too many years of compromises to placate people instead of honor God. Too much uncritical acceptance of sweet sounding religious words instead of "the pure Word of God." Too much of me and too little of Christ in ways too numerous to blog.

I believe that God is making a new heavens and a new earth, as the Bible says. He might even be reforming the Anglican Communion toward that end (or maybe He's eliminating it toward that end). Because God is kind and loving I will catch glimpses of what will be, but it will not be made real in my lifetime. That's OK. Good enough for Moses, good enough for me. God's will be done.

Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished.

Can't say I'm holding up that well, but what this tells me is that God blesses and preserves even his imperfect servants. Just as I don't have room to blog all my failures, I don't have room to list all the joys, pleasures and other blessings that God lavishes on me. Jesus says that we who are "unworthy servants" are still his "friends." What comfort in knowing that my failures are not greater than God's mercy and goodness.

But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the LORD sent him to do...

The New Testament says that God is not unjust - He will not overlook the good that we have done in those wonderful seasons when our faith and works came together. I give humble thanks - and I really do mean humble - for the ways that God has gifted me with the Holy Spirit and activated those gifts to His service. My offering has been imperfect; my treasure has been in a clay jar; pick your favorite Biblical symbol. Yet God holds honors and rewards I can't even imagine - not because I love him but because He first loved me.

So, sorry for the hoax. I ain't dead yet (at least as I type this). "...and though this body be destroyed, yet shall I see God; whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold, and not as a stranger."

1 comment:

Alice C. Linsley said...

"I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there."

This is symbolized in the 120 years assigned to Moses. The Number 1 represents God and all things of God. The number 2 represents boundaries and territory. Zero is a symbol of eternity and also of divine mystery. So Moses was allowed to see the promised land, the earthly shadow of the eternal Kingdom of God.

Sorry, Fr. Tim, I couldn't resist offering a possible explanation of Moses' age. : )

For symbolism of other old guys in the Bible go here: