Support the Café

Search our Site

Speaking to the Soul: I dunno, it just happened!

Speaking to the Soul: I dunno, it just happened!

AM Psalm 45; PM Psalm 47, 48

Exod. 32:21-34; 1 Thess. 1:1-10; Matt. 5:11-16



Hands down and without a doubt, Aaron’s answer to Moses’ (and I paraphrase here) question, “What the Sam Hill is going on here with that golden calf?” has to be the greatest answer since “The dog ate my homework”:


(Again, I paraphrase, as well as giving a nod to Billy Crystal…)


“Well, uh…you know…um…well, you know how these people are.  You can’t turn your backs on ‘em or they’re back to doing evil…and, well, you know, they came to me.  They said, “Where’s your Moses now?  We don’t even know if he’s dead or alive, and we need some gods.”  So, uh…well…I got them to give me their gold jewelry and I tossed it all in the fire, and…and…I dunno…OUT CAME THIS CALF!  I dunno what happened.  I mean, you know, POOF!  A calf!”


We’ve all seen some version of Aaron’s response, whether it’s the three year old trying to get out of the de facto evidence of crayon drawings on the wall, or the person having an affair getting caught in the act–the big shrug, the wide-eyed looking around and to the sky, and the hands palms up…


“Honestly, I dunno what happened!”


(See also the corollary phrases, “I dunno…it just happened!” and “I dunno, nobody was here when it happened!”)


But here’s the dirty little secret…This reading would be downright comical except for the fact not only have we all seen it, we’ve all done it at one point or another in our lives.  None of us are immune to the old device of feigning innocence via selective amnesia, and as convoluted and disturbing as this reading gets, what remains true in the end is…well…it’s a mess, but it is what it is, and we need to figure out where to go from there.


That’s exactly what God tells Moses to do–keep moving forward.  Keep moving to the place God wants us to be.  “Yeah, okay, it is what it is.  No doubt, there was some sinning going on.  Now is not the time to deal with it.  It will be dealt with later.  Now is the time for you to take the people to the place I told you about.”  


Might, at some point in our life, we have some sort of experience of reckoning,  in of those episodes of blindnesses to our own 21st century forms of idol worship?  You bet we might.  Many of us have come head to head with our worship of the idol of achievement…or the idol of busy-ness…or perhaps the idol of ego, and it’s not pretty.  We hear the words of that reckoning in one of the forms we use for the confession:  “We repent of the evil that enslaves us, the evil we have done, and the evil done on our behalf.”  Yet, all the same, the Eucharistic table beckons us.  We are invited to come forward, keep moving, and head out the door into the world, to find the place where God calls us to be.
When is a time you could no longer hide behind, “I dunno, it just happened!” and where was the place God was ultimately calling you to be, in spite of it?


Image: Worshipping the gold calf. Fresco from Dura Europos synagogue from Wikimedia Commons.


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café