Scripture Reading: Exodus 32:1-14
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron and said to him, ‘Come, make gods for us, 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.’ Aaron said to them, ‘Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.’ So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from them, formed it in a mould, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’ When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, ‘Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord.’ They rose early the next day, and offered burnt-offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel. –Exodus 32:1-6
We probably do not think we are as fickle as these folks who escaped from slavery. We need to think about that again. Ours is a society that demands instant gratification. I get upset if my computer buffers at all and even more out of sorts if it continues for any length of time. We are so caught up in instant gratification that car accidents have increased markedly over the past few years because distracted drivers are trying to do too many things at once. If this god doesn’t work the way we want it to, we go in search of one that will. They are called idols.
Idols are not real; they are images of our making. They are like the chocolate bunnies we got as children, hollow on the inside. A paradox exists concerning God having substance we cannot see and idols we can see that have no substance. We experience God in the depths of our being as the very image of God was implanted in us at our beginning. As I stand before a mirror and view my image, I can lift my hand and view the reality of the source of my image. I can see the reality of God in myself and the souls of all God’s other children. We must be open to God’s presence in ourselves and others to relate to God through the depth of our being.
The Israelites were in the infancy of their journey with God, although this certainly was not their first instance of doubt nor the last. We are not different from them today. We try to create God in the image we want God to be. Communing with God requires a life commitment with intentionality of purpose. Such practice is well worth the effort as we draw from the well that never grows dry. (See John 4:14)
Prayer: God, anchor us so deeply in your love that we are not drawn to substitute images of our making for you. Amen.