Reflection by Rev Sydney Maitland for Sunday 22 March 2020.
There is something strange about how Moses’ life was about letting go of things and also of about being let go himself.
At his birth, his mother had to let him go, first onto the waters of the Nile and then into the care of the daughter of Pharaoh. And even when his mother was taken on as a nurse, it would only be to see him grow into the adopted son of another woman.
He would grow up in the royal court, a foundling not of royal blood, and when he learned who his people really were he then had to leave and live in the wilderness.
If Moses’ mother started it off by letting go of him, then he also had a life also of letting go of self and of his sense of who and what he was.
When he met God in the burning bush, again he was not going to be a free agent but would live according to the bidding of God.
Moses’ life must therefore have been one of profound personal insecurity bonded with an even more binding sense of being in the presence of God.
And yes, it all started when his mother entrusted him to the waters of the River Nile.
This sense of letting go by Moses’ mother was also there in the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
She also would respond to a call by God to bear a son not of the seed of her espoused husband, Joseph. She would nurture Him and teach Him His prayers, until He reached the age of adulthood and would be under the care of the local synagogue.
And it was Mary who according to St John launched Jesus on the ministry of wonderful signs, at the wedding in Cana. Small wonder that Jesus spoke to her so harshly for she was also sending Him on the road that would lead to the cross.
Both of these acts of motherhood point to something which is central to Jesus’ life in the world.
God had also let go of Jesus as He accepted God’s charge to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to be the atonement for the sins of the world at Calvary.
God also had to let go of Jesus and trust in His commitment and obedience, and these were well tested throughout His ministry.
They may have started in the wilderness above the River Jordan, but they were there to the very end, even when on the cross Jesus was being taunted, tormented and tested to use His power to come down from the cross.
Even God Himself was facing the challenge of the mother of Moses and Mary the mother of Jesus, and indeed every other mother on earth in letting go and trusting that the Son would succeed and would prosper.
But Paul says something more in writing to the church in Corinth. It is that as we face our trials, God meets us in them and brings us through them.
There may well be times when we wonder if He is there at all, and when our personal faith is indeed tested. But it is as we also come through these things that we are strengthened and fortified.
That strength and fortitude also equip us in encouraging others facing their own trials and sorrows.
These days of silent pestilence, whose progress we watch in other lands and countries, also face us.
It is silent and hidden, insidious and possibly deadly. But these things have been encountered before and in other lands. On the other hand, as Christians we also have the comfort that even the worst that can come to us is denied its power to terrify.
The sting of death is drawn and promise of eternal life is given as we place our trust in Jesus Christ.
Moreover, this pestilence leads us to reflect on the limits of human ingenuity and organization.
It points to our own sense of mortality even when it is stripped of its power to terrorize.
For all the sophistication of our systems and methods, our technology and the primacy of science, we are still exposed in the fragility of our way of life.
Perhaps that very fragility is something we need to rediscover, and perhaps it is something that all mothers know about anyway.
It is when we are flexible that we are strong, for rigid thinking is fragile and liable to break under stress.
And part of our strength is in accepting the limits to our abilities and in accepting God’s mercy and providence as it comes to us, sometimes glorious and majestic, and sometimes hidden, subtle but still a very present help in times of need.