So here we are. So close to being done you can almost taste it. Only a day or two more.
Between now and then, of course, there is a fair amount of pomp and circumstance, a number of ceremonies, and a lot of speechmaking that you may not quite have the patience for. (An observation I make with not a little sense of irony.)
But such occasions do merit a pause, an opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been together and where we’re going. In this space we pause to invoke sacred tradition, the wisdom of our forebears in rite and word.
We gather to hear blessings, sacred text exhorting us to loving relationships and encouragement, or reminding us of the importance of wisdom and of the God who imparts knowledge and wisdom to humanity.
II. THE TEXT
And we hear the story of Moses and his encounter with God at the Burning Bush. This story has a lot of appeal to read at a time like this.
Now, part of that appeal, to me, is that this passage was the basis for one of the first sermons I ever had occasion to preach to the Class of 2018 when they were freshmen. I won’t check to see if anyone here remembers that sermon, or was even present, or if you were present, if you ever came back after that. (For those of you putting on appearances for your parents, I and the other chaplains will promise to act like we know you in the receiving line after the service.)
But beyond the mere nostalgia factor and the aesthetically pleasing bookending that using this same passage to begin and end a college career can bring, there is something compelling about this particular passage from the Hebrew Scriptures that bears looking at at times like this.
One of the most compelling parts about this story—and there are many—is God’s declaration to Moses that he should remove his sandals because where he is standing is “holy ground.” It’s a beautiful sentiment but it’s worth stopping to ask, what is it that makes this ground holy? Continue reading