Advent meditation: After the time of Abraham’s great-grandson Joseph, the people of Israel became enslaved by the Egyptians. God called Moses to lead the people out of slavery. He gave Moses a more detailed covenant that included a moral code, a legal system, and a set of rituals with which to worship God. This covenant foreshadowed Christ and the Church in many ways. When God first appeared to Moses, Moses asked for His name. God said “I am who am.” While everything we see exists because of something else, God simply exists. He just is. In the language of the theologians, He is ipsum esse subsistens, being itself subsisting. God therefore gave his sacred name to Moses, YHWH. This name means, “He was, He is, and He will be.” This name is so sacred that by the time of Christ the Jews would not even pronounce it outloud, and so in Bible translations it is usually replaced with LORD.

Prayer: O come, O come, great Lord of might, who to your tribes on Sinai’s height in ancient times did give the law in cloud and majesty and awe. (From O come, O come, Immanuel)

Scripture: Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian; and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of YHWH appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and lo, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘YHWH, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’: this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, ‘YHWH, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt; and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt, to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ (Exodus 3:1-2, 13-17)

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