Moses bobs down the Nile, starting the fantastic journey that is both his own and his people's. Jesus sits on a boat on the Sea of Galilee and teaches the people about the kingdom. Paul writes to the church in Rome, explaining his understanding of the gospel with passionate and analytical fervor.
Our scriptures are a blend of poetry and prose, family stories and formal history, lessons to live by and words that simply evoke the raucous delight in God's presence.
When pieces of all this are arranged together as the lectionary reading for a given Sunday, they both maintain their original identity and form a whole new story.
God's Word is living but not fragile.
Search out history, learn what you can about what the Word meant at a given place and time, to a certain people.
But also see what happens as the diverse words meet in your heart.
July 4: A Move Toward Deliverance
Exodus 1:6-14, 22-2:10, Romans 7:14-25a, Matthew 11:25-30, Psalm 124
As the book of Exodus begins, a people find themselves oppressed--turned against by neighbors, enslaved, sentenced to heavy labor. Some of the people's midwives don't fight the power directly, but they bravely trick it (1:15-22). Then, as the people will retell the story over the generations, God makes a move toward deliverance.
But it is just a basket on a river. It drifts, spins on a current, catches on some reeds, bobbles as the infant inside squirms. The baby's older sister reluctantly holds back, tries to will the basket to safety with attentive eyes. Pause, hold your breath, feel the tension, the quiet, the uncertainty of the moment. A people's hope, the movement of the Creator, is floating, egg-shell fragile, downstream.