Today the challenge is to research a community who do not have access to clean water. This might be in your country or a nation overseas.
During Lent, pray for this community. As you take your shower, imagine how heavy the water is that they carry on their head. As you take a drink of clear cold water from the fridge, imagine the effort of boiling water so that it is safe.
Prayer and action are two sides of our faith. Read the story of Moses and the burning bush and let us reflect on this story.
Moses at the Burning Bush Exodus 3 In the first part, Moses sees the burning bush – he cannot approach because it is holy. He takes off his sandals and hides his face because he is afraid to look upon God.
2 The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush, and he looked, and the bush burned with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 So Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.” 4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him from out of the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses.” And he said, “Here am I.”5 He said, “Do not approach here. Remove your sandals from off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.
This part is our time of prayer, reflection and contemplation during Lent. Moses describes this experience as “a blazing bush that does not burn up.” He is caught between running forward to meet the blaze and coming no nearer and taking off his shoes (Exodus 3:2)– It is common for mystics, to describe the experience of God as fire or a furnace or pure light. But during this early experience, “Moses covered his face, afraid to look back at God” (Exodus 3:6). He has to be slowly taught how to look back. At first Moses continues to live like most of us, in his shame. God gradually convinces Moses of his love and grace, which Moses calls “favor,
But then the second part of the story comes immediately: the cry of the afflicted for God is calling Moses to go to them.
7 The Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 8 Therefore, I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me. Moreover, I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 Come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh so that you may bring forth My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
This is a key text for us to understand the link between prayer and action. This is the foundational text for teaching the essential relationship between spirituality and social engagement, prayer and politics, contemplation and action. It stands at the beginning of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but the connection is often forgotten or denied. It is the job of the prophets and Jesus to remake the connection.
We see the inherent connection between action and contemplation, the dialogue between the outer journey and the inner journey. Contemplation is the connection to the Source of Love that allows grounded activists to stay engaged for the long haul without burning out. Moses shows us that this marriage of action and contemplation is essential and possible.
So during this time of Lent, find out about a community that has no water justice, pray for them, reflect on their lifestyles compared to yours. And commit yourself to practical action in some way.