Exodus, Chapter 15

Sunday, June 21st

Read

Exodus, Chapter 15

Reflect

One of the things I’ve missed the most during this time of social distancing and quarantine has been congregational singing.  Of course, I’m still singing in my car and around the house, but it just isn’t the same as a group of voices lifting praise to God together in the same room.  There’s something special about that.  The Biblical authors understood this.  Both Old and New Testaments are full of songs, prayers and poems meant to be sung by the gathered congregation.  One of the earliest we have is found here in Exodus 15.  The words sung by Moses, Miriam, and the Israelite nation as they cross the Red Sea and witness their Egyptians pursuers overcome by the waves, are songs of pure praise.  They are finally free, and what do they do before anything else?  Worship the God who delivered them.

You’ll notice this song is all about God’s strength and power, His faithfulness and goodness.  There is nothing here about how great the Israelites are, how much they had done because they did nothing really – except to trust and follow God.  Sometimes our worship can be too self-focused, but the truest worship is that which acknowledges the goodness and strength of God.  And singing is one of the most formative parts of worship together in community.  Even when we may not feel like singing about how wonderful God is, our brothers and sisters carry on the song and somehow our worship together shapes us and reminds us of who God is in the midst of our struggles.

Respond

Though we are still unable to gather together for worship in the sanctuary on Sundays, we know that we are called to continue to praise and thank our God.  How has your worship changed in the past few months?  Are there ways you may need to refocus on the object of worship (Jesus) rather than the subject of worship (you)?

Finally, I am always struck that in verse 20 we’re told that as Miriam began to lead the women in songs of praise, she took her tambourine and began to play.  I love that even in a hurried, secretive escape from slavery in Egypt when there wasn’t even time to bake leavened bread, Miriam chose to pack her tambourine.  It was not a luxury but a necessity as music and songs of praise were integral to her life and the life of her people.  So even in the midst of a global pandemic, even when we feel overwhelmed, fearful or uncertain, we too must follow Miriam’s lead and prioritize worship – true worship that focuses on Jesus and reorients us to the One who deserves all praise and honor.  So don’t forget your tambourine!

Pray

God of Deliverance, we admit that we can forget these stories of your great power and provision.  We can become too engrossed in our own personal bubbles and forget that the God of the universe, the God who parted the Red Sea and sent His Son to save us, is present with us now and at work in our world.  And you, O God, are worthy of all praise.  Draw us into that praise and give us words to sing (even if it’s a solo) so we might be reminded of our identity as your Beloved and be empowered to continue to serve you today and in the days to come.  In Christ, we pray. Amen.

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