CHURCH CORNER: We’re never alone on our earthly journey

By Dan Wilson

Hope Lutheran

From the dark depths of winter, we see the new life of spring beginning to blossom all around us. The days become longer and brighter as the crocus push up from the sleeping earth; then come the daffodils trumpeting the good news of the promise of new life.

One of the trees beginning to unfold its new leaves is particularly striking. The new growth is bright red and in the spring sunlight, it reminds me of the burning bush in Exodus. A bush burning brightly but not consumed. A bush that bears the voice of God.

I can imagine God’s voice coming from the bright red tree, probably telling me to slow down and enjoy spring’s beautiful show of creation. Calling me to slow down, and to experience God’s redeeming, real presence in our lives today. A presence experienced in many different ways.

Often we tend to think of God as “up there” somewhere in heaven. I think the burning bush text in Exodus 3:1-15 provides an interesting story of God’s sure presence in our lives today. Not far away, but right here with us, today. With you today.

In the text, God tells Moses four things about the Hebrew people in slavery in Egypt. God says, “I have SEEN their affliction. I have HEARD the cry of the people. I have KNOWN their suffering. And I have COME DOWN to rescue them.” Those words don’t sound like a far away God to me. How about you?

I won’t argue that God could see from one side of the universe to the other, so seeing their affliction could be from far away. And I won’t argue that God could hear from one side of the universe to the other, so hearing the cry of the people could be from far away. But knowing their suffering? Well, you could argue that of course God knows what our suffering is like. God created us. God suffered as Christ suffered for us on the cross.

But I think that knowing requires some first-hand experience. I think that requires a closer relationship and God confirms that by “coming down” to rescue the Hebrew people. Yes, God comes down to rescue the people from the oppression of slavery. God comes down to be with them in the midst of their suffering, seeing deeply their affliction, and standing with them as God hears their cry.

So it was in a world full of sin, a world full of oppression and injustice, that once again in Jesus Christ, God on Earth, God came down to walk the dusty, difficult roads of life with a broken people. Seeing their affliction then, and ours now. Hearing their cry then, and ours now. And knowing their suffering then, and ours now.

He came down to save us, and that we might come down from a life of sin and separation from God, and experience the truth of our down-to-earth God whose amazing grace showers us with forgiveness like a fresh, spring rain.

What an amazing gift of new life from our down-to-earth God who sees, hears and knows our suffering, and comes down so we might have new life that lasts for all eternity.

As you walk your earthly journey, you never walk it by yourself. Your God who sees your afflictions, hears your cries, and knows your suffering has come down to walk this earthly journey with you.

And on a beautiful spring day, if you stop from your busy life for just a moment, you will know the truth of our down-to-earth God in the beauty of all creation.

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