Sunday, September 25, 2005

From Exodus, 17: 4 - 8

So Moses cried out to the Lord, "What shall I do with this people? A little more and they will stone me!" The Lord answered Moses, "Go over there in front of the people, along with some of the elders of Israel, holding in your hand, as you go, the staff with which you struck the river. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb. Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it for the people to drink." This Moses did, in the presence of the elders ofr Israel. The place was called Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled ther eand tested the Lord, saying, "Is the Lord in our midst or not?"

While from a textual standpoint the answer to the Israelites question is clear, the greater moral question is obediance to authority. Religious or not, we have the obligation to obey authority, if that authority's power is justly and righteously employed. If that power is misused or abused, we have a moral obligation to choose what is right by Natural Law, regardless of who or what that authority is or represents.

This concept makes no exception for our faith backgrounds, our beliefs or decision to not believe, because we all have a calling to obey authority. All too frequently we put ourselves before others, thinking our own authority is wise enough, strong enough, righteous enough, for any situation. How foolish! How little do we each really know? Are we like the Israelites who look at all God has done for them and still put him to the test? Are we so wise and arrogant to think that we have all the answers?

If we put ourselves first because we are 'rational' people capapble of thought and reasoning, we play a dangerous game - we risk disobeying moral authority. Does moral authority exists? Yes, contrary to what some might say - moral authority is based on natural law - and in that there is a fundamental right and wrong. We are called to obey that authority, our conscience drives us to follow that authority. Though our lifestyles and faiths might employ that law differently, the concept is undeniably true.

Spend just a minute in silence thinking about natural law - our entire country is founded on the principal of this natural, moral, law, and to disobey authority, when it is moral, is to be criminal. We are smarter than that, wiser than that, braver than that! We have no need to test authority that is righteous! True courage is the ability to set aside selfish wants and desires to follow real moral authority. The conquering of self, the denial of self for the sake of natural law and moral authority is real courage.Whom do you follow?