I see how stiff-necked this people is. (Exodus 32:9)
Have you ever had a stiff neck? Not just an achy shoulder, but a neck so tight that you can’t move your head without pain. It can get so bad that you end up in bed staring at a wall with a warm compress on your shoulder. Work, friends, and daily life get pushed out of focus while you wait for it to heal. Well, at least it can be healed! With the right combination of care and exercise, your neck loosens up and regains its full range of motion.
In today’s first reading, God complains about his “stiff-necked” people (Exodus 32:9). He is upset that some of them don’t look back and remember all that he has done for them. They also fail to look around and notice that God is still working miracles for them. Instead, they look only at the challenges standing right in front of them.
There may be times in life when we feel a little spiritually stiff-necked as well. Not looking back on the ways God has worked in our lives in the past, and not looking around at all the ways he is present to us right now, our necks stiffen and our vision narrows. We end up staring at the same blank wall every day, maybe even grumbling at our current situation. Why isn’t God on our side any more?
How do you heal a stiff neck? By stretching it out. By looking around you. Take time to read the Scriptures and reflect on God’s mighty deeds in the past. Review your own life and see where he has helped you. But also try to look around and see what he is doing for you right now.
This kind of spiritual therapy works just like any physical therapy: the more you do the exercises, the easier they get. Before long, you will be able to have a panoramic picture of God’s faithfulness and love!
Where are you looking today? Are you focused only on what’s right in front of your nose? Or are you looking around and seeing the Lord? Stretch, read, reflect, and rejoice! God is all around you.
“Lord, help me to keep my vision broad and encompassing. May I never forget your goodness to me!”
Father Ed Bakker,
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne