- Exodus 3:1-15
- Psalm 63:1-8
- 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
- Luke 13:1-9
Baptism is a calling into ministry. For the Christian, baptism is the “burning bush” experience that makes sense of the rest of one’s life in Christ. The fact that baptism comes for many at infancy means that the church must constantly look back to baptism to reaffirm the sacred calling to participate with God in continuing acts of salvation.
In our reading from Exodus, Moses is called to be God’s agent in the liberation of Israel. After killing an Egyptian, Moses had fled from Egypt to the desert of Midian, where he married and started a new life. While tending his father-in-law’s sheep, Moses was drawn to the sight of a bush that was burning but not consumed. As Moses stood before the bush, God called to him to remove his sandals as a sign of respect, as he was standing on holy ground. Moses was filled with awe and hid his face. God had seen the plight of the Israelites and chose to send Moses to deliver them. It wasn’t going to be an easy task, and Moses was hesitant to follow the call.
Paul knew the Exodus story. He wanted the converts he encountered to know the story as part of Christ’s message. As the cloud led the Israelites to the Promised Land through the desert and the sea, they passed into new life – their baptism. Paul also advised his converts to resist temptation. Even though hardship may be ever present, God is faithful and God’s grace will be present in difficult times.
The gospel reading is a solemn reminder that with the call comes accountability. God expects the Christian and the church to bear fruit: “If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.” Luke 13:9
- What are some of the characteristics of an encounter with the Divine in the story of Moses and the burning bush? What have you felt yourself in the presence of God – when have you stood on holy ground?
- What kind of “fruit” is expected from us as followers of Jesus? How are God’s judgment and mercy exemplified here? How would you define judgement and mercy?
- Compare Luke 3:8 with 13:6-9. What are the “fruits worthy of repentance”? What sort of fertilizer will help produce such fruits in your life?