You are here

Reflection II: Struggle in the Wilderness

Ron L. Buford
Oct 23 2011


A journey Moses thought would take 40 days . . . took 40 years . . . and how he’s going to die on us? What will we do, now?

Reading this text at the end of Deuteronomy, brought to mind Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Harvey Milk, and so many others who fought and died before they could see the day that America could elect an African American president, and Massachusetts could elect its first African American governor.
On the night Mr. Obama was elected, I could not believe it. No matter where you stood politically, most everyone was amazed.

I called Mamie, a dear family friend, the then 95 y.o., and the grand-daughter of freed slaves. When I had last visited Mamie in St. Louis, we went to lunch. During lunch my cell phone rang, or so I thought . . . . It was Mamie’s cell phone. I knew Mamie liked to sew, but I was amazed when I got back to her apartment and she showed me here new digital sewing machine.

So on election night, As soon as the election was called for Barak Obama, I instinctively called Mamie, my oldest family friend.

“Ronnie, is that you?”

Yes, Mamie, Can you believe what just happened?

This grand-daughter of slaves then paused, and said something I will never forget as long as I live . . .

“Is there anything too hard for the Lord?”

After reading this Deuteronomy text . . . those words and three more words came to mind, “Turn the page!”

So, turning the page the story continues to the next book of the Bible, Joshua, with these words:

After the death of Moses, the Lord spoke to Joshua, “My servant Moses is dead. Now proceed to cross the Jordan, you and all this people, go into the land that I am giving to them.”

Turn the page!

Friends, our society seems trapped in what Christopher Lasch in the 1980’s prophetically called a “culture of narcissism,” perpetually breaking the 10th commandment – “Thou Shalt Not Covet,” It’s time to turn the page!

Some ask, "Why should we train and restore rather than imprison and execute. We had to pay for our education?

Turn the Page!

Why should we have to overcome old patterns of racism, sexism, and homophobia for everyone when it doesn’t affect me personally . . .?

Turn the Page!

Why should anyone get free healthcare coverage, when I had to pay for mine . . .?

Turn the Page!

Why should I vote for a school levy, if I don’t have children in school?

Turn the Page!

The church has been far too silent in recent years about our cultural narcissism, a modern tyranny, for far too long. In the worlds of Albert Schweitzer, ours is a conspiracy of silence that keeps us in bondage to death. In this church that was once known as the mouth house, it’s time to “turn the page.”