5th Sunday Lent – “If I be lifted up…” Remember Moses…
Here’s a thought: Here’s what it might look like to pray with the passage from Numbers concerning Moses lifting up the serpent… [Numbers 21:4-9]
But with their patience worn out by the journey… Am I worn out by my journey? No patience left? How does weariness affect me?
the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food! [manna]” This is better translated “rebelled” instead of “complained.” What drives me to rebel? Hunger? Thirst? Fear?
In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of them died. Might the serpents be consequences for their rebellion? Not as a punishment, but as karma?
Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray the LORD to take the serpents away from us.” OK, we get it; we’ve had enough. Call the whole thing off.
So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses, “Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live.” Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he lived. Note well: look intently at what bit you, at what is killing you and you will live!
What does this have to do with Jesus on the cross, especially since he refers to both Moses and cross several times?
Look intently at what bit me, what’s killing me enough to make others pay the price for my woulds. Jesus on the cross looks back at me with loving mercy. It’s all about healing!