There’s Advent and then there’s Lent—two pivotal seasons of waiting, forever marked on the Church’s calendar. Advent culminates with the celebration of Christmas, and Lent rounds out with Easter. But these seasons are not the same. They feel different in that one looks toward a birth, and the other a death. Yes, the beauty of the resurrection is right there on the heels of the cross, but while Advent has a decorative spirit to it with lights and carols and all that Christmassy stuff, Lent is about un-decorating, stripping away the unnecessary. Plus, Lent occurs in the dark deep of winter while you’re doing your taxes, so yeah.
If you try to honor the season, Lent can get long and exhausting. That’s how we find Moses in today’s texts: worn out and weary in his own sorta Lent-like season. Sure, he’s a hero of the faith, but these verses remind us he was also a man like us, a man who’d just about run out of gas. He needed a pick-me-up, a shot of inspiration, some kind of a sign that God cared and would be with him in days ahead.
Then Moses said, “Please, let me see your glory” (Exodus 33:18).
You have to give Moses guts-points. He just asked for it. And he got it, but on God’s terms. It wasn’t God’s face Moses saw, but God’s backside as He passed by. In other words, instead of a static moment, Moses saw the glory or essence of God move by. God was on the move, so to speak, and that was enough for Moses to experience in order to then get up and lead the people to their journey’s end.
Maybe the season of Lent is wearing on you. Or maybe you’re simply in a Lent-like season that feels like it’ll never end and you’re just plain pooped. But you’ve still got all your normal responsibilities, plus those taxes to file and that snow to shovel. Why not go for some guts-points? Straight-up say to God, in a Moses-like manner, “I need to see your glory.” C’mon, what do you have to lose?
Just remember, God’s response will be on God’s terms, probably not as you’d expect. But you just might get a glimpse of God passing by. It might be some grand, unmistakable sign. Then again, it might be something faint, along the lines of a breeze. But the Lord’s glory, regardless of its expression, always carries this message: “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (v. 14). And that is sufficient for you and me to carry on.
Written by John Blase