On the Stick of Change
So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live. – Numbers 21:9 (NRSV)
The serpent has bitten. Just look around.
What could it mean for God to take that evil, that destruction, and do something good with the serpent’s venom?
I don’t know. But what I do know is that, with the bronze serpent, God took a little bit of something entirely destructive. And then turned it into the means for healing.
I can’t help but think of our times, today. And what I want to say is this:
God can take the very worst thing. And turn it around. So that we can heal. So that we can stop the death. So that we can see each other again, without fear. So that you and I can emerge from home without a crippling fear that we will harm someone else, or they will harm us. So that the bite of the serpent is sufficiently reduced to a life-saving needle that brings us herd immunity. Please God.
And do you see it? Through science, God can do a miraculous thing. God can turn the symbol of destruction into a symbol of life.
Here’s my point:
It doesn’t matter what the object is: a serpent, a virus, you name it. What matters is what God is doing with it.
If you’re wondering where God is: Look to life.
If you’re wondering what God is up to: Look to healing.
If you’re wondering what God cares about: Look for symbols of wellness. Restoration.
Thanks be to God that God is pointing us to our liberation from this deadly scourge. We are almost there. Look and see what God is transforming.
On the stick of change.
Thank you, God, for restoration, for healing, for wellness. May we all know it well. Amen.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.