Readings: Exodus 32: 1-6 and Psalm 106: 19-23
Exodus 32:6 – He made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf.
Psalm 106:20 – They exchanged their Glory for the image of a bull.
In both passages, we have the story of the people departing from God to worship an idol made of gold. True, Moses has been gone up the mountain a long time. But the people did not worship Moses. While Moses is up on the mountain, clearly the presence of God remains on the mountain. The presence of God is right there in plain sight when the people and Aaron make another “god” to worship.
This is not a pretty story about what happened in the life of the chosen people and their relationship with God. Yet it is recounted and retold over and over by these people and generations to follow. Why? For the same reason they tell and tell about the Passover, the parting of the sea, the fall of Jericho, the defeat of Goliath… We remember and retell good and bad stories for the same reason: to remind us of God’s love and grace. In the stories where we (corporate) are not faithful or where we have sinned, they remind us of God’s love in spite if our fleshy weakness. In the stories where God provides or guides or redeems… we are reminded of God’s constant love and care for each of us.
There is great value in the telling and retelling of these stories where God is active and present in the lives of the people, always bringing comfort, guidance, peace, and, of course, love and grace. But these stories are not just found in the pages of the Bible. They are also found in the day to day living of our lives. We each have stories to tell of when God rescued us, when God forgave us, when God redeemed us, when God loved us… These too are powerful stories of God’s continuing presence and activity in the lives of His people. They are stories we need to hear over and over. They are also stories others need to hear. Our faith is communal. Our faith is a shared faith. Today, who will we share our story with?