Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent



Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, and how you swore to them by your own self, saying, ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky; and all this land that I promised, I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.'
So the LORD relented in the punishment
he had threatened to inflict on his people.



The Book of Exodus paints a rather different image of God the Father than we might expect of God the Supreme Creator. This God is very much involved in human life and history and takes a particular interest in the Jewish people. He personally rescued them from bondage in Egypt, a favor not granted to many other people, and brought them into the land he’d promised “Abraham and his descendants” several hundred years before.
Many Christians were taught about the “Angry God of the Old Testament” and the “Loving God of the New Testament.” They suppose these stereotypes actually fit the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit who are revealed in the Bible.

But these images not only fail to describe the God who is revealed to us; they also fail to describe the “god" of our everyday experience: the "Absentee God." The hard question they ask when life is painful is not, “Why is God so cruel?” but “Where is God? Why does he not care?”

I have heard young people assure me their parents “Don’t care” if they waste their money, stay up all night, miss school, drink alcohol, or take an impulsive trip out of town. Perhaps their parents didn’t care; I could not tell. But the children who seemed to think their parents were cool were actually describing parents missing-in-action. Like Henry David Thoreau and his “government that governs best that governs least” they and, perhaps, their parents, prefer an authority without love, compassion or emotion.
This is not the God who appears to us in the Sinai Peninsula or at any time since then.

A woman who does not get angry if her husband is unfaithful does not love her husband. A parent who is not angry when the child flouts his authority does not love his child. And a god who does not get angry when his people exploit the poor, abandon their wives, widows and orphans, and wastes the land does not love his people.

Some people might prefer a god who is always nice and never gets angry. They won't find that god in the Bible. They are like undisciplined children who want to rule their parents, having all their demands met until the parents have exhausted all their resources. 

The God whom we meet in the Old and New Testaments calls us to himself; and by our Baptism, Eucharist and Penance we accept the call. 

And there is nothing sweeter in my experience than the angry voice of God who says, "Ken, we do it my way or not at all!" 

My immediate response is a very glad, eager and grateful, "Yes, Sir!"

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.