Know What You're Looking For(Exodus 32:1-9)Rev. Michelle Nickens, September 11, 2016
Part of the Pentecost 2016 series
Fifteen years have passed. The debris at the WTC and Pentagon crash sites has been cleaned up, and there are beautiful gleaming monuments standing in their place. But our hearts are not clean. September 11th triggered a shift in our national psyche leading to war, fear, suspicion of the stranger, and creeping nationalism. The ugliness of religious intolerance has become acceptable. The events of 9/11 strained the ethical character of our nation, and we haven't healed well.
Our spirit is not right and our hearts are not clean. The toxic dust that was once three inches deep on the ground and that lingered in the air for months after the attacks has finally cleared. But it took Congress 14 years to pass a healthcare bill for the first responders and clean up workers who are sick and dying. Our spirits are not right, and our hearts are not clean.
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32:1 When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2 So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” 5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” 6 And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.
7 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” 9 And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. (ESV)