Aaron’s Golden Calf

golden calf“Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 

Begin by reading Exodus 32:1-6. The Hebrews demanded that Aaron make gods for them to worship and remarkably Aaron did so. Up until this point of the Exodus narrative Aaron had been as the spoken voice of God to the people of Israel. God would instruct Moses, Moses would share the commands with Aaron, and Aaron would in turn relay all that God had said to the people. They had all witnessed the plagues in Egypt, miraculously crossed the Red Sea, and trembled in fear as smoke and fire descended onto Mount Sinai. They had not yet received the written tablets but the words of the Ten Commandments had been spoken by God in Exodus 20. Before and after the commandments were listed all the congregation of Israel said together “All that you say we will do.” So why after all that would they risk provoking the anger of God by making an idol to worship? Continue reading

Baptism and Re-Baptism

There’s a story in 1 Samuel about the Israelites carrying the Ark of the Covenant into battle with them.  They had beaten by the Philistines and wanted a rematch.  So they carried the Ark with them into battle so that, in their own words, “it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.”  Rather than asking God to save them they thought “it” would save them.  They confused the symbol with the thing it represented.  The symbol is not the thing.* Continue reading