United Church of Christ

Look at it!

"So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it on a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live." - Numbers 21:4-9  

Moses' ragtag wilderness wandering people complained, whined, and grumbled at God. They missed Egypt. They were impatient with the route. Bored with manna (which we think of as a blessing) they said, "We detest this miserable food." Poisonous serpents came among them and many of them died. Was that a metaphor in the mouth of the biblical storyteller? We don't know. To cure those bitten, Moses erected a replica serpent and the people would look toward it and be healed.

There are things that poison life … attitudes, like anger or jealousy … interpersonal events, like incest or workplace betrayal … systemic violence, like racism, toxic waste, healthcare injustice. The first step and the only chance to heal them is to name them.

Today would be a good day to say "thank you" to a journalist who searches out scandal, exposes greed, columns inequities, photographs homelessness, hunger and war. Today would be a good day to say "thank you" to a therapist who pries and supports and listens and challenges. Today would be a good day to say "thank you" to a whistle-blower, a blogger, a preacher, or a friend who has told an honest truth. Today would even be a good day to check out the fangs in the mirror.


God, I am ready to look at the poisoned and poisonous parts of my life and the most twisted coils of my society. Show me. Forgive me. Help me heal and become a healer. Amen.

ddtirabassi2012.jpgAbout the Author
Maren C. Tirabassi is Pastor of Union Congregational UCC of Madbury, NH. She is the author most recently of The Shakespeare Reader and Other Christmas Tales.

Please review our Community Guidelines before posting a comment. If you have any questions, contact us.

Latest UCC News

Global Ministries reaches out, offers prayers for partners, UCC mission workers in Beirut Treading Water