Moses in Midian
Lent 3 - Year C
He'd escaped a murder charge in Egypt and was now in the process of working on his pension. He'd met a young woman in the neighbouring land of Midian, married her and had gone to work for her dad Jethro as a shepherd. On the day in question he was following the sheep along a straight desert track toward better grazing land further up. Jethro’s sheep would one day be his sheep. These flocks, this country and this life would be his flocks, his country and his life. Egypt was all behind him and even more remote was the intrigue of having been a Hebrew hidden like a guilty secret within the household of Pharaoh. It was a complicated life this Moses had led and one filled with risks since his childhood.
In Midian, though, everything had "come up roses".
Brick fits onto brick. That’s how the wall gets built. Chapter is added to chapter until the apogee is reached and the story then can coast to a respectable end. Moses needed only to keep his eye on the ball. It was not complicated. One foot needed to go in front of another. Those fat sheep must be directed down the straight path. That’s all. Nothing else.
This would be a good place as any for you to insert your *sigh*. Do it here. For at this moment something twinkled on the horizon as a bush spontaneously ignited into flame. The story of Moses’ commissioning by God and the whole story of the Exodus - the pivotal chapter in Israel’s history – did not debut with God commanding Moses to take off his shoes in front of the burning bush or explaining to him how he would be sent back to Egypt to rescue his people. It actually began a few lines earlier with Moses’ own fateful words to himself:
"I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up."
Curiosity kills the cat but it also ushers in new epochs in history. It changes the fortunes of those who allow themselves the luxury or the lunacy of not looking straight ahead. Were you chided by teachers, coaches and well-meaning uncles about not following the straight line? Would you not have been further ahead if you'd refined your resources, purified and concentrated your materials? "Straighten the lines of your progress.. Above all, don’t get distracted"!
God constantly stands in the midst of the settled paths of prophets, patriarchs and initiates to the Communion of Saints. Our iconography has a tendency to depict our heroes with resolute and slightly elevated gazes as they stare intently at their goals. But - before they were ever useful to God by being resolute and unshakable they were useful to him because they could be distracted - distracted from their day jobs and unstuck from all their several necessary trajectories. God could depend on them to shift their gaze from their desks and direct it out the window.