Tomorrow, a couple dozen members of all ages from our church will head over to Camp Wapogasset, near Amery, WI, to spend the day at our Fall Retreat.  Then again on Sunday, folks will explore Tamarack Nature Center while hiking together that afternoon.  These wilderness experiences will hopefully be a chance for us to reconnect with each other while also reconnecting with the natural world that God has placed us within.

Our time together is not likely to be as trying as the wilderness experience that Moses led God’s people through on their way from slavery in Egypt to the freedom of life in God’s promised land.  I say, “not likely,” because Pastor Betsy is in charge of the agenda and who knows what she has in mind for the rest of us?  😉 Even so, a couple of afternoons outdoors less than 50 miles from home doesn’t quite leave as much to chance as 40 years in the Sinai.

But living though the uncertainty of these current times is, without a doubt, a wilderness experience worthy of comparison to the story of Israel’s own wanderings.  The challenges that God’s people faced as they followed Moses ultimately reshaped them into a community that could experience life in new ways, no longer subjects, but free to follow God vision for the world.  Unsurprisingly, in the midst of each challenge, God’s people struggled to see the vision.  Perhaps they were just too close to it? When when we have the perspective on these times to see how God might be reshaping us?

Read Deuteronomy 34

Approaching the end of the journey, as the destination is in site, God speaks to Moses one last time, on another mountain.  From this vantage point, Moses can see all that has been promised and the fulfillment of that promise for God’s people was at hand.  We can imagine that it’s on this mountain, and in this conversation with God that Moses has the distance to take in all that has been experienced and the future that is now before the people for whom he has been responsible.  The prophet now rests, the culmination of a life’s work is understood.  Moses dies.  God’s story continues.

As we journey in the wilderness, some of us literally – all of us figuratively, may we too find opportunities to step back far enough to catch glimpses of what God has promised.

May God’s peace find you this day.  –Pastor Peter

Let us pray,

God of the mountain top, as we journey through the wilderness, give us the strength to move forward, the patience to endure, and the openness to see your vision laid out before us.  Amen.