September 3, 2023

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

  • First reading and Psalm
    • Exodus 3:1-15
    • Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b
  • Alternate First reading and Psalm
    • Jeremiah 15:15-21
    • Psalm 26:1-8
  • Second reading
    • Romans 12:9-21
  • Gospel
    • Matthew 16:21-28

The first reading from Exodus:
Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.”

Moses and the Burning Bush, with Moses Removing His Shoes
ca. 1465-1470 Bouts, Dieric
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Painting, panel
Philadelphia, PA

When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”

He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. Then the LORD said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.” But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'”

God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’: This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations.

Our first reading from Exodus is important. In it in response to Moses’ questions, God says to Moses “I AM WHO I AM.” Here He gives His name and essence. This passage has been imported to the New Testament. It was translated from Hebrew to Greek, and God is the same God that speaks to Moses through the burning bush. Moses is uncertain when he asks “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh? …… What is the name?” God’s answer is positive, but ambiguous. Who, what or when are left not mentioned. In his message Pastor Stevenson continues on to help us understand. ………..

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