Lent Day Twenty Eight

Exodus 3:13
But Moses said to God, "If I come to the Israelites and say to them, "The God of your ancestors has sent me to you," and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?"

Zornberg [Particulars...] page 74

'Maharal takes the inner logic of God's self-naming a stage further. God's being is a being-with — "I shall be-with you." It will always respond to the need of the human, to the specific quality of the human cry. The particular idiom of a particular time, a particular place, a particular conception of God will draw forth an answering sense of redemption. From Moses' view-point, this name of God is no name at all: it yields nothing constant, nothing knowable through all vicissitudes. It is contingent, the very figure of human desire — a fluid, dynamic name, it expresses the First Person form of God's Name (some read the Tetragrammaton as the third person form of the verb 'to be'), addressing the human, involved in dialogue with the human. It changes constantly, as human beings find and lose relationship with Him. This periodicity implicitly contains within itself the idea of continual "slaveries" — periods of catastrophe and subjection.

The human experience of redemption, then, will be episodic; it will remain a problematic existential desire. Even after this first redemption, the human being remains the 'center of surprise in creation,' [Martin Buber in 'On the Bible' ]


And newly found is this Iona hymn: "God's Surprise" sung to the tune "Scarlet Ribbons".

just a taste, from the first verse:

Who would think that what was needed
To transform and save the earth
Might not be a plan or army,
Proud in purpose, proved in worth?
Who would think, despite derision,
That a child should lead the way?
God surprises earth with heaven,
Coming here on Christmas Day