Christ Church, Susquehanna
They continued, “If we have found favor in your sight,let this land be given to your
servants for a possession; do not make us cross the Jordan.” But Moses said to the
Gadites and to the Reubenites, “Shall your brothers go to war while you sit here?”
Fear and doubt are common at the start of a journey or along the road. Even when we know it is a trip we should take, we may prefer to stay at home. Doubts about the rigors of travel may plague us. Mental blockage may delay our start but we must overcome it if we are to go anywhere. Bishop Paul knew this when he once told me that often the thing we most want not to do is what God would have us do.
I found myself in such a place at the start of this week with doubt, fear and mental blockage in the face of reading the books of Numbers and Deuteronomy to understand Moses’ journey through the wilderness. Furthermore, today’s date (July 4th) and Brexit news from the U.K. put me in mind of how others with roots in the Book of Common Prayer have grappled with fear and doubt before a journey.
In today’s reading, leaders of two small tribes of Israel (whose names, thankfully, are pronounceable) tell Moses that they would prefer not to join others in crossing the Jordan. They seem fearful, beg not to be forced to cross and somewhat cowardly say that Moses’ other followers should take everything beyond the Jordan. Moses reproaches them, essentially saying “will you allow others to do the work while you sit on your duff?” They then set aside some of their fear and offer to come along on the military expedition provided that they first secure the safety of their families and herds. Moses accepts the offer but tells them sternly to “do what you have promised.”
Here are matters to consider. Will I hesitate before my next journey? No, but I may acknowledge that a little fear, doubt and mental blockage are normal and should not put me off the trip. Will I allow others to carry the load or will I help my fellow travelers with my prayers, my ideas and (perhaps) my arms and back? With God’s help, I will help. Will I prepare for the journey and keep my promises? Yes. Time to pack my bag.
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