You know how it is. You scroll through your e-mail – your social media feed – clicking away. Usually, I ignore random pop-up anything. I don’t like to waste my reading time. But when God winks, you have to blink and then sometimes double blink just to make sure you saw what you saw. Come to think about it, there was another devotion that got those blinks started even earlier.
In Jewish tradition, this is the week they remember Moses giving Israel its final blessing before he climbed the mountain to return to YHWH. I’ve read this passage a few times over the decades, but this time I really saw Moses as that preacher/teacher man that he must have been. Here’s a bunch of people gathered around – watching him – waiting for direction – impatient – worried. Some enthusiastically chose to follow. Some were probably pressured to join. Some were family members and had no choice. Some probably just wanted to get outta that ‘Egyptian’ Dodge. In any case, LOTS of people, left their friends and other family members choosing to follow this Moses character and help him build a new tent.
Good people. Untrained people. People of all ages. People who had only known slavery and abuse. Angry people. Stubborn people. Confused people. Sinful people. Hopeful people. Needy people. Rebellious people. Luckily, people that didn’t have to worry about food, or illness, or clothing, or even shelter. God covered those bases. Still – all in all – it was a lot of people.
I remember a few classrooms that were full of the same kind of people – just not so many. I remember the frustration of having so many hands in the air – waiting for help – waiting for more direction – trying to find the words that would explain what I had already said a dozen times before. Lucky for me – kids are not quite as set in their ways – not so fragmented – not so clueless. Moses throwing those tablets really didn’t really surprise me when I thought about it. After all, Moses was a human, too, and frailty is our middle name.
“For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel. ~Deut 34:12
Which brings me back to the second blink. Did you know that Johann Sebastian Bach always signed his completed work with the acronym: AMDG? Ad Majorem Dei Gloria. In the old days, when we were required to take Latin in high school, we knew this could be translated, ‘To the great glory of God.’
Seeing that little phrase threw me right back to 1971 when my college choral group started practicing the Bach B-Minor Mass. Our choir director pointed out that dedication because he wanted us to understand what Bach heard in his head as he wrote it. Little did I know that in the few months we worked on it my life would change. You see, two months after my father died, we performed that work, and for the rest of my life, nothing will ever surpass the Glory of God that surrounded me that night.
What if we looked at everything like Herr Bach? Roll out of bed. Feed the dogs. Wash the dishes. Drive the car. Do the same job we did the day before. Listen to whiny people. Help a child with homework. Signing everything as we completed it with the initials, AMDG.
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”~Lk 12:32
So there you go, and that is my prayer for pastors tonight. In Yeshua’s name, I pray that you are able to write the acronym, AMDG, at the end of your day – every day. Whether it be after all the trips at all hours of the night, or the millionth complaint about the length of the sermon, or the gossip that is circulating in the junior high group, or the furnace that needs replacing, or the funeral that is coming tomorrow, or the day that seems to have no end or money that is never enough. That somehow – like Moses, you are able to perform awesome deeds and mighty works that always reflects the Glory of God.