Exodus, Narrative Lectionary, Reflectionary

I AM on the line

I got a pocket call yesterday from a dear friend. I didn’t pick it up because the phone was deep in my purse, where I did not hear it. She left a two-and-a-half minute voice mail. It sounded like she was talking to someone in a store, but since her phone was probably in *her* purse, too, I couldn’t make out what she was saying. I know her well enough to know this happens sometimes, and whether or not we like to admit it, most of us have perpetrated pocket(book) calls.

Marshall and phoneThey are a plot point in the “How I Met Your Mother” episode “Last Words.” Marshall’s father has died suddenly, and they had no chance to hold a final conversation of any meaning. His dad’s last phone call to him was pocket-dialed, but even though he can only hear static, Marshall can’t bring himself to delete it. He thinks back over his last encounters with his dad and tries to find something memorable, but is still dissatisfied.

I’m guessing Moses would have preferred a pocket call from God over the face-to-face encounter described in this week’s Narrative Lectionary text. We don’t get the whole conversation (the burning bush comes up some other year), but there is definitely some caller ID.

14 God said to Moses, “I Am Who I Am.[a]

  1. Exodus 3:14 Or I Will Be Who I will Be.

Moses could not escape by getting on the Do Not Call list. I AM had work for him to do. I Will Be Who I Will Be was sending him back to Egypt.

I’m guessing the first part of this conversation sounded like static. Moses hemmed and hawed. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He dismissed it, tried to talk himself out of the situation.

When Marshall finally listens to the whole message, he finds that in the end his dad realized he was connected to Marshall’s voice mail. He laughed at his pocket call mistake and left Marshall the message he longed for, that last “I love you.” It’s a comedy show, so he went on to discuss foot cream, but Marshall concluded, “My dad’s last words to me were, ‘I love you.'” He chose to call it good.

This won’t be Moses’ last word from God. But it’s momentous because he learns the name of The One Who Is And Who Will Be. He learns the name of The One Who Will Be With Him. And even if the beginning of the message felt like nothing but static, in the end he got the Word and went.