Forming Faith Blog

Moses: Equipped by God (October 1, 2017)

Exodus 2:23-25; 3:10-15; 4:10-17

Free Resource- Blessing Others (Kids- 3rd-6th)

Unit Theme (Sept. 10 – October 8): God Provides Blessings

 

Moses and the Burning Bush, Gebhard Fugel, 1920, Public domain

Our first series of texts in the Year 4 Narrative Lectionary moves through the theme of “God Provides Blessings” in our Living the Word faith formation resources. Last week, we saw God blessing Jacob at Bethel, despite the fact that Jacob used deceit to steal his father’s blessing from his brother Esau. This week we fast-forward to a time when the descendants of Jacob have grown into the nation of Israel, having settled in Egypt to escape a serious famine. Israel survived the famine, but eventually became cruelly enslaved to the Egyptians. That is where our story today picks up.

The selected passages provided by the lectionary are really three snapshots of the call of Moses. The first part, from chapter 2, we learn that the Israelites are suffering and God has heard their cry and will act to rescue them. Due to length and the patience of worshippers, we then skip Moses finding the burning bush and get right to the point: God has chosen Moses to be the one who will lead the people into freedom. In this time where polytheism is the most common religious expression, Moses asks for God’s name, basically asking, “Which God/god am I representing here?” Then, we skip the instructions and move straight to Moses’ excuses on why he can’t answer this call, basically that he’s not an eloquent speaker (he may have had a stutter).

In your faith formation context, you can take this set of passages in many different directions.

  • Tell the Story. You can take the passages (and some of what is in between) and tell the story of the suffering of the Israelites and God acting to save them by calling Moses as the agent of God. The story can be told in drawings, by acting it out, or even through a video clip.
  • God listens. You can focus on God’s love for the people and how God does not want anyone to suffer. Just as with Moses, God appoints people just like us to relieve suffering and stand up for justice as agents of God. Where in your community or in the world do you hear the cry of the suffering? The recent series of hurricanes and an earthquake come to mind, but there is suffering and injustice all around us. What steps can we take both individually and as a community of faith to alleviate suffering and bring justice?
  • What’s in a Name? You can focus on God’s name, explaining the significance of the I AM and connecting the giving of that name to the community. God wants the community of Israel to be in relationship with God, and be able to call on God personally. One possible analogy would be that God giving Moses God’s name is like giving someone your phone number; both indicate a desire for a relationship.
  • Excuses, Excuses. Or, you can focus on the last part of the passage, Moses trying to get out of the call. Moses becomes a great leader of Israel and a major character in the story of the Exodus. However, like us, Moses didn’t think he was good enough. Most likely, Moses’ request that God send someone else comes from fear. He might have been afraid of embarrassing himself in front of Pharaoh. He might have been afraid of failing. However, God promises Moses to stay close and provide assistance, even providing accommodation for Moses in the person of Aaron, his brother. We all have felt fear, especially at trying something new. How can we take courage in God’s presence with us?

No matter which direction you choose to take this story, may God be present with you on your journey!

-Gregory Rawn (Publisher)

This week’s FREE resource is an activity designed specifically for upper elementary-school students (but can be adapted for any age) that provides a worship experience related to this passage. It comes from our Living the Word: Kids (3rd-6th) curriculum, which provides weekly lessons covering each Sunday of the Narrative Lectionary year with a large variety of activities to accommodate the span of different learning and teaching styles.