Pastoral letter question: How do you see God’s mercy in the Old Testament?
By Benedictine Sister Colleen Quinlivan
I see God’s mercy in the covenantal relationships of the Old Testament. A favorite example is the relationship that God initiated with Moses.
Faithful to the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God hears and responds to the call of the enslaved Israelites, by appearing to Moses in the form of a burning bush. God called forth Moses to lead Israelites out of Egypt.
Despite Moses’ fears and resistance, God patiently and compassionately answered Moses’ questions. God assured Moses, “I will be with you and this shall be a sign for you that it is I who sent you; when you have brought the people out of Egypt you shall worship God on this mountain” (Exodus 3:12).
Notwithstanding the doubt and grumbling of the Israelites, God steadfastly works through Moses, leading them out of Egypt to Mount Sinai. On the holy mountain God speaks intimately with Moses, forming a sacred covenant with Moses and the Israelites. After the first attempt failed due to the worshiping of idols and giving in to their perverse ways, God wrote the Ten Commandments on two stone tablets which formed the sacred covenant between God and the Israelites.
This journey is one example of a merciful God who loyally guided Moses through challenging obstacles, provided opportunities for growth and repentance and related authentically to Moses to form a covenantal relationship with the people of Israel.
Sister Colleen is secretary/receptionist at the Chancery of the Diocese of St. Cloud.