The Rev'd Robert Warren
Moses got distracted.
It might have been recommendable to keep to the path. With a comfortable marriage and a looming inheritance all Moses needed to do, to ensure a comfortable future for himself, was to put one foot in front of the other. He could have meandered into late middle age and a respectable dotage.
A bush suddenly leaps into flame on a distant horizon and the twinkling catches Moses' eye. He utters the fatal words:
"I will turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt".
Significantly, I believe, God waits until he sees Moses turn aside from following his father-in-law's sheep. When he sees him do this, God speaks to him, and the story of the Exodus begins.
We have all taken our eye off the ball at some time. We might reproach ourselves for a misspent youth or a series of bad decisions as young adults. When we were small and we looked out the window we had a blackboard brush thrown at us by a teacher. Somebody might have insisted that we pare down our social, cultural or sports activities in order to concentrate on the three subjects most likely to give us the greatest purchase on a stable future.
When the local minister joined the school for weekly Assembly there might have been a truly remarkable agreement between him and the Head Teacher or school Principal that regular habits of work and stable progress towards a goal were "just the ticket". Funny how that works.
We will talk this Sunday about risk and uncertainty. Both the first reading from Exodus and the Gospel reading from Matthew's Gospel throw a wrench into the idea of the stable life gained by increments being the be-all and end-all. There are things worth wrenching your life apart for.
Moses heads off to talk to God. He loses the life he has built for himself in Midian. Jesus declares his intention to leave the Galilee and to undergo great suffering in Jerusalem. The reaction of his disciples is conservative and predictable: Heavens no - stay safe and consolidate what we have begun here. His words to them extend beyond them to us:
"...whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
I look forward to speaking with you about this on Sunday. We'll see you there.