We’ve been in our new house for a month now, and no matter where we look, my wife Felida and I can’t find our silverware. Losing something you need or value is a hazard of moving. One year when we moved from Sedona to Tucson, the movers packed our printer in the wrong box and we couldn’t find it for six months. And this time it’s the silverware; for three weeks we used plastic forks, knives and spoons at every meal until my wife gave in and bought a cheap set of tableware from the dollar store. If we’re lucky, we’ll find what we’ve lost before we move from this house again.
Losing something you need or value is a hazard of moving. I suppose that’s one reason the Israelites grumbled to Moses as they wandered through the desert. Their lives as slaves in Egypt had been harsh and unforgiving, but they nonetheless left things they valued when they followed Moses across the Red Sea – their homes, their food, their sense of security. And so they grumbled, expressing their willingness to give up their newfound freedom if they could go back, if they could reclaim what they’d lost.
One year my wife and I vacationed in Washington D.C. and arranged through our elected Representative to tour the United States Capitol. I’d seen it from the outside when I was a child but it was my first time to enter that place where democratically elected Representatives and Senators actually make laws for our country. Its inspired halls and chambers echo with the footsteps of democracy.
To see the heart of democracy overrun with rioters on Jan. 6th, 2021 was heartbreaking. The loss weighs on me. Maybe it weighs on you too.
And yet I am hopeful. Hopeful that as a nation we can come through this time of loss and division and emerge into a new and better future. That seems a long way off and will take a lot of hard work, but America can meet this challenge. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream of justice and liberty for all people is still unfolding.
Joni Mitchell once wrote in a song, ‘Something’s lost, but something’s gained in living every day.’ Loss is a part of life, but even as we say goodbye to ideas and relationships and treasures and dreams that we value, we discover new ideas and new relationships and new treasures and new dreams.
The Israelites said goodbye to Egypt. Even though it’d been home, it wasn’t where they needed to be any longer. God had something different in mind for them, a new and better future.
Loss is part of life, but so is gain. No matter how challenging the world seems, we live every day knowing that God is with us and that God has something beautiful in mind for us. Let’s get to work making the dream a reality for all.
Thanks for listening. I’m going to go look for our silverware.