Third Sunday in Lent
by Olivia DiAgostino
In Exodus 17:1-7, the Israelites are struggling. Consumed with thirst, with the basic human need for water, they are angry with Moses, who has led them out of Egypt and into the wilderness. Moses’s vision of a promised land pales in comparison to their immediate need. They have come so far – and for nothing!
This winter, I’ve been studying the major prophets with a group at church. A common thread is how prophets are often shunned, misunderstood, treated as other because of their bizarre-seeming statements. Indeed, as a 21st century reader, some of Isaiah seems downright incomprehensible. In today’s readings, we see that both Moses and Jesus are dealing with people who reject their leadership. But another commonality among the prophets is that they offer an alternative reality, a vision that draws the entire community closer to God – as absurd or unrealistic as it may seem to those of us not gifted with prophetic vision.
Were I an Israelite, I have no doubt I would be complaining and quarreling with Moses, as the text puts it. On days when I have little hope, it is easy to look around at a world full of sin and death – a climate in distress; Black men murdered by police; so many of God’s people without access to food or clean water – and become overwhelmed. But in Exodus, in John, and in our world today we Christians know that is not the end of the story.
God calls us to transform our battered world into a place of flourishing, to bring about the reign – or kin-dom, as we sometimes say – of God. What would it look like to embrace this alternative vision? May we have the courage to do things differently. May we build Beloved Community.
Prayer: God, grant us the gift of trust in you and the courage to work toward your vision of the reign of God on earth as it is in Heaven. Amen.
Olivia DiAgostino is the transformation program coordinator at United Women in Faith. She resides in New Jersey, Lenape land, with her husband, toddler, and rescue dog.
Children’s art is from the 2023 Daily Prayer Guide.