The fleeing Israelites praise, dance, and sing as the waters close behind them and rescue them from the pursuit of soldiers intent on re-enslaving them.
Many of us have a story of waters closing behind us. It dwells deep in our bones, in our genetics, in the hidden folds of our souls, in the lyrics of our spirituals, or on thin paper stored carefully in attic trunks. We recognize ourselves in the Israelites: their resistance, fear, anxiety, and complaints along their freedom walk. So we acknowledge the likely sinking of their hearts as waters flood or seep back after their crossing to eliminate the way back and force them on into the unknown. Perhaps this dread coexists with their relief and joy, or perhaps it surfaces later.
Part of the power of the story of God and beloved Creation as recorded in the Bible is how that story intersects with, informs, and is informed by our experiences. As we are called to repair the jagged breaks in God’s whole-world family, part of our work is to call forth and recognize the many pieces of God’s story in Creation. This touching and piecing together of each bit heals the silenced ones and repairs the whole.
So we invite other pieces of the story. We wonder about the men and horses submerged by miracle waters; the Africans kidnapped and borne away on great waters; the European immigrants crossing starting-over waters; the modern-day migrants tossed on dangerous waters. And we wonder how the image of the bodies of African men washing up on the shore connects to today’s disproportionate incarceration, disease, and death rates for brown and black bodies in North America.
Perhaps these wonderings, these invitations, help deepen and repair God’s story for the healing of the world.
Creator of the story of life, open our hearts to the stories, questions, pain, love, and healing of this whole world. Amen.
Again this week, Exodus tells a story about Moses that is retold in the psalm. The angel of the Lord protects the Israelites and allows them to cross the sea on dry ground, but their enemies are swept away. The psalmist recalls this glorious event. The forces of nature tremble and bow before the presence of God, and the people are delivered. Paul recognizes that there are matters of personal preference or conscience that are not hard and fast rules. Some will feel freedom in areas that others do not, and we are not to judge each other for these differences. Jesus tells a parable in Matthew that highlights the danger of hypocrisy. We who have been forgiven so generously by God have no right to judge others for minor offenses.
Read Exodus 14:19-31. When has the path of faith seemed risky? How have you trusted God and others’ wisdom along the way?
Read Psalm 114. How do you listen and act to repair the story of God’s love for the whole world?
Read Romans 14:1-12. When have you recognized something as more important than your being right? How has that recognition shaped your faith?
Read Matthew 18:21-35. How do you recognize your own wounds—or those you have inflicted on others—in this parable? How might this parable help you to repair these wounds or the relationships attached to the wounds?
Respond by posting a prayer.
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