This week, after leaving Joseph unjustly imprisoned last week at the hands of Mrs. Potiphar, we skip ahead quite a bit in the narrative to Exodus 14:5-7, 10-14, 21-29 and the story of the long walk to freedom for the Israelites, out of bondage in Egypt, through the Red Sea.

Working Preacher commentary is here. The Text this Week resources are here.

Do you have ideas to share about how/if you will bridge the gap in the story from last week to this one? Ideas for children’s stories to share?

In Cory Driver’s commentary at Working Preacher, he lifts up a verse that is one of his favorites, (and one that I’d never noticed at all. ahem.) God instructs Moses, “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the people to move forward” (Exodus 14:15).

It’s one of my favorite verses now. And certainly many churches have the “cry out to me” angle covered, as we mourn what is lost and fear an uncertain future in an uncertain world. How well do we “move forward”?

Last week’s text felt timely to me in a “seriously, God. We have a sexual/power misconduct case in scripture and all over the news? Thanks.” This text also feels very timely, if not quite in the same “ripped from the headlines” sort of way. How does your congregation, in it’s context, need to “move forward”?

Moving forward sounds great, until you realize they were facing a wall of water that Moses was telling them to walk into.

image used with permission from rgbstock 

I have a level of sympathy for Moses’ flock. And the future into which our churches have to walk look as daunting. How can we trust the unknown future will be loving (as my Aunt Gail often says) when all we can see is a wall of water, and maybe sharks (or sharknados!)? The path to freedom is one we are all called to walk, even if we don’t get guarantees it will be a straight, easy path. If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the road to freedom seems to be paved with water to cross, an army at your heels, and God’s pillar of fire to protect you (and possibly terrify you).

Share your preaching ideas here. What direction is this text taking you this week? Any great hymns or liturgies you’d like to share?

Buddy Miller has a great song called “Wide River to Cross”.

But I can not look back now
I’ve come to far to turn around
And there’s still a race ahead that I must run
I’m only halfway home I gotta journey on
To where I’ll find the things that I have lost
I’ve come a long long road still I’ve got miles to go
I’ve got a wide wide river to cross

Many traditions connect baptism to the deliverance through the water in the Exodus story. Are you going to make that connection clearly in liturgy or in a renewal of baptism? Or maybe in a mention in pastoral prayers? Share those ideas here too.

Blessings as you encounter this text this week.

Marci Auld Glass is the pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church and lives with her husband and sons in Boise, Idaho. She is a graduate of Trinity University and Columbia Theological Seminary. She serves on the Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood and the Mission Agency Board of the Presbyterian Church USA. Marci blogs at Glass Overflowing and is among the contributors to the RevGals book,There’s a Woman in the Pulpit (SkyLight Paths).

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4 thoughts on “Narrative Lectionary: Move Forward

  1. For our children’s sermon we are going to engage everyone to tell the story…the choir will be the army making galloping sounds. The kids are the Israelites. Will have an adult do Moses. Will use roll of blue plastic tablecloth down the center aisle and have the folks on that end of the pew “part the waters” for the kids to pass through.

    Liked by 2 people

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