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“Walk of Faith”

Opening Prayer:

When we feel overwhelmed by the storms of life, enter our hearts with your redeeming love, O Christ. When our fears overtake us and we cannot find our way, give us direction that we might faithfully serve you all our days, shouting your praises! AMEN.

Scripture:

Exodus 14:19-31

Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21

Children’s Moment:

           Have you ever wanted to be a superhero?  Caleb and I have had the conversation many times about if we could have one superpower what would it be?  I think mine would still be flying, although super strength would be a close second.  Moses wasn’t sure that he could do what God was asking him to do because he didn’t feel like he was very special.  Yet, God kept telling him to keep going.  God doesn’t need us to be superheroes, God uses everyday folks and transforms them into superheroes when they say yes to doing what God asks them to do.  When Moses said yes to leading his people, God used him to lead the people out of slavery.  He was like a superhero when he stretched his arms out over the water and divided the water and lead them away from slavery, yet he didn’t do that on his own – God did that through him.  God asks us to do things every day that don’t seem like superhero things like stretching your arms out, but then God does really wonderful things with it.  Those normal things can look like going to school, taking care of our chores, watching out for our friends, taking care of our siblings, or cousins.  When we stand up for someone who is being teased or make the choice to give up something we have for someone else, then we are letting God transform us and work with God to make the world better – those are superhero moments.  Let’s ask God to help us work with God to make the world a better place this week. 

Reflection: “Walk of Faith”

Do you ever wish you could do amazing things?  Have you ever played the superhero game at your house or with your family? What superpower would you have?  I think we like super heroes because we like to think about people who can come in and save the day, where nothing can stop them or almost nothing.  We like to pretend that we are invincible like that.  I think we long to be invincible like that at times.  It would make our problems disapear.   We want the good guys to win, and we want to be on that team. 

I think one of the reasons we tell and retell the story of Moses and the sea is that we need to remember that delicate balance of God’s faithful rescue and God’s people’s faithful trust and walk.  It always amazes me how God chooses to work in and through humans.  God doesn’t have to but does choose to partner with humanity to transform this world and us. 

It reminds me a bit of when my children were little, and they made a mess of the living room. I never cleaned it up, even though I could.  It would have been faster, easier and with a lot less arguing, but I would work with them to help them clean it up and to set it to straight.  When we retell this story, we remember that no matter how bad it got with Pharaoh’s soldiers hot on their tales the cloud of God’s presences was right there with Israel, never letting Pharaoh’s men get too close. No matter what happened the cloud of God’s presence protected God’s people.  They were never alone.  God was with them every step of the way.  I wonder if they understood the presence was there to protect them, or if they were as afraid of the cloud bearing down on them as they were of Pharaoh’s chariots?  I wonder if there are times, we fear the wrong things when in uncomfortable and frightening situations?

What we seem to forget is that this freeing from Egypt wasn’t a clean, neat, and tidy thing. It was hard and scary.  The people thought they were going to die.  They complained to Moses even after all the miracles, when their backs were up against the water, they complained that they could have died in Egypt why didn’t he just leave them there.  We forget the dirt, and the exhaustion, the crying children, the animals scared out of their minds.  The fact that the cloud was frightening, and Moses had to stand with is arms raised for them to pass all night long through the water.  It wasn’t easy.  They didn’t know the plan ahead of time.  They had no idea what they were doing, or how they were doing it or what the results were going to be.  We forget the bodies they saw lining the water or the screams they heard when the walls of water collapsed, the lives taken of Pharaoh’s soldiers, who were doing a job, forced into combat willing or not.  We wash over those details.

          We retell the essence of the story so many times and refer to it in so many other stories in the Bible throughout the old and new testament about how God rescued his people and heard their cries.  Which he did, but we gloss over the details.  We miss that God does not simply wipe his hand over the situation and make it happen, that God requires the people to get up and walk miles, to do it quickly – so quickly their bread does not even rise.  That they have to get up to the edge of the water not knowing what is going to happen, many thinking that they just escaped Egypt and Pharaoh to drown now.  He requires Moses to stretch.  Moses must stretch himself to go back to a land that he is a wanted felon in.  Stretch himself to convince the people to follow him and to convince Pharaoh to let the people go, and finally to stretch his hands out over the water – where literally the people’s lives depend on it.  None of those were comfortable stretches I would wager.  I wonder who were the first people to take the first shaky steps into the muddy water wondering if the walls on either side were going to hold?  I wonder who were the last to cross wondering if Moses arms were going to remain aloft long enough for them to make it?  I wonder if Moses knew if he could hold his arms that long?  How long can you hold your arms aloft?  I bet he didn’t feel like a hero.  I bet he didn’t feel like a person anyone would tell stories about.

          Moses was willing to make the stretch when God asked him. I wonder where God is asking you to stretch this week, this month, this year, this Coronatide?  Where are the places in your life that God is inviting you to a walk of faith?  To take that step into the water and trust that the walls will hold, that you won’t sink in the mud.  Where is God inviting you to walk in faith and stretch yourself to be transformed by God?

          It seems to me we are living in a time like no other right now.  Each generation experiences a moment like this.  A time that shifts perception and how we understand ourselves and the world.  It defines who we are and how we understand the world around us.  It changes what we know and who we become.  Just as God heard his people, walked with them and guided them as they called out to them, God hears us when we call out.  Are we calling out?  Are we asking for guidance?  Are we willing to be led?  Are we willing to do what is asked of us?  Are we willing to stretch as God asked Moses to stretch, are you willing to stretch?  Where is God asking you to do something out of your comfort zone or in a new way or in a different way?  Have you come up to a wall of water with what looks like no way through or around?  What is God asking you to do?  There will be casualties.  It won’t be easy.  Can you trust God through this walk of faith?

Music “Lead On, O Cloud of Presence” played by Sharon DelSignore.

Prayers:[2]

We praise your abiding guidance, O God, for you sent us Jesus, our Teacher and Messiah, to model for us the way of love for the whole universe.  We offer these prayers of love on behalf of ourselves and our neighbors, on behalf of your creation and our fellow creatures.

We pray for all those struggling with health concerns. We pray for all of our church families who are separated from loved ones or can’t see them due to the COVID outbreak, and we pr