Aside

As Moses confronts the Pharaoh:

Please notice one thing about Moses. When GOD asks him to do something, Moses often replies I can’t do that I am not good at that. Moses then listens and eventually does what he is asked to do. What Moses is good at is listening, and he is obedient. Lent is about doing things. Listening for GODS word, and being obedient to His commands are two good to do during lent. Listen.

Flood waters.

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Yes, I have discussed the papyrus basket Moses was placed in or his survival. Yes, I likened that paper basket to an ark. Yes, I compared it to the ark of Noah.  Yes, I described some of the arks of Christianity. They are arks of the covenant. Arks that bear that sacred relationship between God and man. God did make a covenant with Noah, God made one with Moses. The arks were a means to salvation, the water a purification. Let’s dwell on that water. Let’s contemplate its relationship to the arks. Notice the complexity of the Ark of Noah that kept its inhabitants sheltered from the ravages of that storm. Dwell on the violence of that storm. Pay attention to the few that were saved. With Noah there is a complexity, boat building is no easy task. The boat had to be big enough to house those to be saved. Safety was in the boat, those excluded perished. Such an effort to save so few. Elaborate, yet inefficient. Such hierarchy! Such a struggle to get into that boat!

Turn now to Moses, his ark was simple. It was a paper basket small enough to contain him. Once saved, Moses saved many. Moses gathered the people into that covenant so that they might be saved. With only a staff and signs from the LORD; Moses guided the people through the sea. Once they crossed that sea, they journeyed to the Promised Land. The one in the ark of paper was an intermediate between God and man.

Now turn to Christ. The ark that carried him, Mary. His relationship with the water of the covenant? He entered it the same way we do, bathed in it and sanctified it so that many would be saved. In Christ the water of destruction turns into water of salvation. The water entered so that one might die to sin and rise in Christ. Through the action of one, all whom follow might be saved. Simplicity. Efficiency. Amazing how many barriers were eliminated. Gone are the elaborate building, gone is the barrier of an ark that contained a select few. Salvation is as personal as diving into a pool. Gone the elaborate construction, gone the mediators. A God that was once mysteriously distant enters our lives. A salvation obscure comes into focus. God and man come together. Simple..

I could have talked about Jonah in the Whale too

Aside

There was a man of the tribe of Levi who had taken a woman of Levi as his wife. She conceived and gave birth to a son and, seeing what a fine child he was, she kept him hidden for three months. When she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him; coating it with bitumen and pitch, she put the child inside and laid it among the reeds at the river’s edge. His sister stood some distance away to see what would happen to him. It’s not a bad time to think of Moses, his name means he was drawn out of the water. Moses was drawn from the water when the Egyptian woman retrieved that basket his mother placed him in as protection against the pharaoh. The basket, protection from destruction just as the ark of Noah offered protection from the flood. Boat and basket, both arks. Boat, basket, ark of the covenant, manger. Note Moses mother placed him in that ark, that mother that gave birth to him. Note to the woman who drew him out of the water, pay attention to the protection she gives him. Mary, mother of God. Look where Moses is suspended. On one side the love of his mother, on the other the fear of the Pharaoh. Suspended in an ark made of paper, saved by the love of a woman who drew him out of the water. That woman’s love conquered the fear of a Pharaoh. Love as Moses entered the water, and love when he was drawn out of that water. Salvation. Mary never abandons her Son. Not at the annunciation, nor in the manger, or at the foot of the cross.

The tradition of the Fridays of Lent is to walk the way of the Cross. Traditionally this was done at around 3:00, a reminder of Good Friday. Today that hour is often shifted to one that can boost attendance in a church. I don’t know how to feel about that. On one hand there is the abandonment of tradition. On the other the shift opens a path to  others. In allowing some to attend, others are excluded. What to do? Personally, I prefer the 3:00 hour. That is my bias, but I do realize others can’t keep to that schedule. Solution? The prayers of the Cross can be carried in a pamphlet (or probably on an APP) , and prayed on almost any walk. The walk, a city street, or a country trail. That is the best some can do.

A day after lent

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A day late and a dollar short, Lent began yesterday. Yet, yesterday was a busy day. I could not attend Mass or receive ashes. That is no  great sin as Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation. Missing the Mass was not a sin, but it was my loss. Fortunately the readings for that Mass are always the same: go into your inner room to pray, don’t put fasting on display. That is the contradicting  part of Lent. The Mass is communal, and the ashes an outward  sign. Thus there was no contradiction this time. This Lent is private. It is a personal challenge. Few around me observe the fast, fewer observe the abstinence. Not many approve of my Religion, or any religions. A day with many outward signs, becomes invisible. It becomes the secret handshake, cryptic so that only those that need to know, know. Properly the day or season doesn’t involve everyone, nor does it exclude anyone.

Part of the readings speak of going into the inner room to pray signifies the room that is a person’s soul. It is turning inward. The phrase does remind me of something else though. It reminds me of the inner room of the Temple of Jerusalem, the Holy of Holies. It’s the room few were granted admission to, it as limited to the high priests. Contrast a room that was exclusive by law, to the inner room of the soul. One room excludes by law and enforcement, the other is not reached for lack of effort. One is blocked off by others, the other isn’t entered through ones own fault.

Silent night

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Silent night, Holy night,

All is calm, All is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Sleep in heavenly peace.

That song has been running through my head since 3:00 pm  yesterday. I know it’s the wrong season, but is that really true? Silent Night comes from the Nativity, and last night was the night after the crucifixion. In the hymn Jesus lies in a manger, the LORD has descended to our realm. God becomes man. Yesterday Jesus dies on the cross, and is placed in a tomb. In that tomb the LORD descends into the deepest and darkest depths of our existence. Jesus descends into the depths of Hell to liberate all who helplessly lie there. Jesus brings the dead back to the living and sets humanity free. Death is destroyed, it looses its grip. The promise of Christmas is fulfilled. It is done. Silent night, Holy night.

Good Friday to Holy Saturday