October 26, 2014
Matthew 22:34-46
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Deuteronomy 34:1-12


Endings and Transitions
Proper 25 | OT 30 | Pentecost 20

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Sandra Herrmann
As we approach the end of the year and the days get shorter and darker, many people have a difficult emotional time. That's why so many societies worldwide have celebrations during this season that feature light and put the emphasis on celebration. The secular world celebrates Halloween, while the Christian church celebrates the lives of those who have gone before us in the faith. In the United States this is followed by Thanksgiving and then the Christmas (shopping) season. But it is good to talk about those things that we are trying to avoid: darkness and our fear of change. Today's scriptures talk about the death of Moses, the separation of those who have been blood or spiritual family, and the end of things.

Deuteronomy 34:1-12
This passage opens with Moses atop a mountain, gazing across the Promised Land like a land owner looking over the property his children will inherit. He has been the spiritual leader of the Hebrews as they passed from slavery to a nomadic existence until this moment, when they will cross the Jordan River and enter Canaan, as God promised Abraham.

Mount Nebo and Mount Pisgah are both names for the same mountain. Pisgah derives from the Hebrew for "cleft" -- as in a cleft in a rock or mountain. The Nebo range is to the northeast of the Dead Sea in Jordan and rises to a height of about 2,800 feet, thus giving Moses a sweeping view of the Promised Land which he will not be allowed to enter. Instead he dies on the mountaintop, and though we are told that he was buried in Moab, no one knows where exactly his tomb is located. This gave rise to the belief that God himself buried Moses.

The fact that his burial plot is unmarked brings full circle the mystery that is deliberately maintained about the beginning and end of the story of the covenant. The location of Mount Sinai is also unknown, so that the people of God would not be making pilgrimages to it or seeking special knowledge in the place where the covenant was made, broken, and remade. Moses' grave is likewise a mystery for the same reason. The people of God are to walk with God, who is likewise invisible and the people are forbidden to attempt to make anything in the image and likeness of God -- or for that matter of any creature in earth or heaven to assist them in the worship of their God....

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This Week
October 26, 2014
Proper 25 | OT 30
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October 31, 2014
Reformation Day
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November 1, 2014
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Proper 26 | OT 31
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November 9, 2014
Proper 27 | OT 32
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November 23, 2014
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September 21, 2014
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