Written by Steven Liechty
"Then Moses said these words to all Israel, telling them: I'm 120 years old today. I can't move around well anymore." - Deuteronomy 31:1-2
Well, who can fault Moses here? At 120 years of age he utters a common complaint heard in the hallways of nursing homes and on the fairways of country clubs. Because I don't want to belittle r the mathematical skills of the Deuteronomist, I'll just attribute Moses' longevity to good livin'.
I, too, have had trouble moving around recently because, well, I've been moving … from one city and church to another. There is nothing more stressful and physically demanding than a move, especially if you do your own packing and unpacking (not to mention loading and unloading the truck). My back and knees and fingers—just to name a few body parts—feel as if they belong to the body of a 120 year old man.
And yet, there is something strangely spiritual about moving. I can‘t quite put my aching fingers on it, but it has something to do with "out with the old; in with the new." Like Moses, I'm on the cusp of crossing the River Jordan, but unlike Moses I will be able to cross it because I'm not quite 120 years old.
Moving reminds me that life is not, or should not be, stagnant. As we cross the Jordan Rivers of our lives (sorry for the sappy sound of that!) we will stir up the waters, creating chaotic moments, shocking the sleepy ecosystem. We may shy away from those experiences, but we are never so near to God as when we cross the Jordan or the Red Sea, or when we return from Exile, or when we carry the cross. It's all about movement, folks. "In God we live, move, and exist," writes Luke in the book of Acts (17:28). We don't just live and exist. We move.
No matter where we live, God, help us create some movement in our lives. May the box in which we inevitably place you be unpacked. May we be reminded that "good livin'" requires more than just a healthy diet and physical exercise—it also requires a movement of the spirit and a stirring of the baptismal waters through acts of love and justice.
Jimmy R. Watson is the Pastor of St. John United Church of Christ, Cumberland, Indiana.