Exodus 3:(1-6) 13-15
3Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3Then Moses said, ‘I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.’ 4When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ 5Then he said, ‘Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’ 6He said further, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
But Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your ancestors has sent me to you”, and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ He said further, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you’ God also said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you”:
This is my name for ever,
and this my title for all generations.
Here in Exodus 3 God’s preferred name/title is ‘I am who I am’ or then shortened to ‘I Am.’
Infants are born into the world of concrete thinking. David Elkind in his book _All Grown Up and No Place to Go_ talks about the age when growing children begin to leave concrete thinking and begin operating in a ‘new key.’
Compare the ‘I Am’ scripture above (Exodus 3) to a later instruction in Exodus 20:4 to;
(You shall) not make for yourself an idol,
whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above,
or that is on the earth beneath,
or that is in the water under the earth.
What is your preferred image of God?
How ‘concrete’ is it?
Has it changed over time?
Is there a difference in praying ‘to’ God or praying ‘with’ God?
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’
Background: Generally speaking, we Mennonites have a robust appreciation for Jesus. Over the last several years here at Marion we have looked at Jesus’ Geography, the Hard Sayings of Jesus, the Parables of Jesus, Jesus’ people and we just completed an extended look into the Way of Jesus.
Generally speaking, we Mennonites have a less robust appreciation for the Holy Spirit.
The after dark encounter of Nicodemus with Jesus is a rather famous one. Jesus is talking to him about two births, a water birth (embryonic fluid) and a Spirit birth… which is more difficult to ‘pin down’ or to ‘talk about.’
Can you name a time in your life when you have sensed some kind of ‘new life’ experience?
Did you ever tell anyone about it?
What words did you use to describe it?
Was your experience identical to others you have heard?
Does it bother you or comfort you that Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as ‘un-confined’ like the wind?