God said to Moses, "I AM Who I AM."
- Exodus 3
Our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,
and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink
- I Corinthians 10
A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, 'See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?' He replied, 'Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.
- Luke 13
[ The complete Readings for Lent III, Year C, Revised Common Lectionary can be found at:
Very often in Scripture, there’s a lot of word and story to get to the central point. But the central point - the thing God wants us to hear - of the story of Moses and the Burning Bush is clear: God’s saying, “I AM who I AM”.
For each of us, there’s only one question that God wants us to ask immediately: “Am I who I am?”
On one level, knowing and being fully who we are is the central purpose of all “holy scripture”. All religious striving and activity - prayer, repentance, meditation, “good works”, worship - all are to lead us TO BE. To be Christ. To be a Buddha. To be an imitator of the Prophet. To be “made in the image of God”. To be a “saint”. To be Oneself. And to be fully Oneself is no less exalted than any of the others.
Moses says he can’t be what God wants him to BE … a Liberator. The Israelites say they can’t BE what God want them to BE … true followers of their God. The Corinthians say they can’t BE … faithful imitators of Jesus. Jesus’ parable of the fruitless fig tree says, “You think you can’t BE a manifestation of Love”.
We can BE who we ARE. But there is no cheap grace. Recall the beautiful lines of the song: “Behold a treasure not made of gold / In earthen vessels, wealth untold / One treasure only the Lord, the Christ / in earthen vessels.” Each of us has been filled with the amazing gift of the potential of Life. We must claim it. “Repentance” is a symbol of that claiming … reaching for Life. Eating the “same spiritual food” and drinking the “same spiritual drink”: “God”.
This is what we do in the mystery of the Eucharist each Sunday: eat God. That eating is the heart of all else we do in order to BE who we ARE. Who we ARE is no less than God.