Yesterday we celebrated a renewal of our baptism in worship. Our talk of water continues today.
Today is a central story of Jewish identity. Moses, with outstretched hand, is leading the people across the Red Sea. The Egyptians are following. The wall of water forms. The Lord turns part of the sea into dry land, and they pass on dry ground.
You know how the story ends. The Egyptians are trapped in the sea, and eventually drowned.
These dry land/dry ground distinctions are all throughout our faith. In Genesis, those of us on dry land are set apart in God’s creation. Here in Exodus, the “dry landers” become those chosen as God’s people. In Joshua, dry land leads the people to the promised land. With the East wind, the strength of the Lord, and the guidance of Moses, the identity of God’s Chosen people is hewn.
In Jonah we also see the sea as a force, and as a metaphor of chaos and death. To be on the rock, or on sure footing, or on dry land is seen as blessing and power. It certainly was for Noah.
Time and time again we see a consistency in the story. Frankly it is good writing. It is easy for children to remember and track. It makes for good bedtime stories.
It also leads us on a journey to discover God at work more deeply in our lives. Where are the waters of chaos in our lives? What is dry land going to look like for us spiritually? Where and how will I find that dry land?
Ironically, we are people of the water – we have come from the waters of baptism, and have entered the watery chaos of God’s Spirit on the move again. Our lives are marked by unpredictability and new life.
And so we are called into the waters – to lose our life in order to gain it.