A reflection on Exodus 33:12-23, the Hebrew Bible lesson for Proper 24a, according to the Revised Common Lectionary.
God takes Moses, and he puts him in a little crack in a rock atop a mountain. God was going to pass by Moses, and God wanted to let Moses catch a glimpse of Him.
So God passed by – but Moses wasn’t allowed to look yet. He wasn’t able to look until God had already passed. And then… Moses was able to see the place… Where God had just been.
Our English texts usually say that Moses could “see his back,” but that’s an inaccurate translation. Moses caught no sight of the “body” of God.
He saw the place where God just was.
That preaches, I think, because it’s how I often experience God. In the busyness of life, I’m not anywhere near aware or awake enough to see God’s Presence. I’m answering emails, making visits, writing sermons, picking up kids from school, washing the dishes…
But, when I look back over my day, with intention, I can see God’s Presence so much easier.
I’ve used the practice of a nightly examen for quite some time now. Examen is a prayer, usually prayed at the end of a day, where you intentionally recall your own failures, but also God’s little gifts of grace through the day. Sometimes I forget to pray it. Sometimes I fall asleep in the middle of it.
But, never have I prayed the examen and not seen God’s Hand, God’s Presence, or the place where God just was in my day.
Here’s the thing, though: if I don’t take the time to look, I almost always miss it. Find that little crack in a rock, and sit in it. Open your eyes, and see the place in your life where God just was.