The cloud by day and pillar of fire by night led the people of Israel out of Egypt. Out of bondage and slavery into the promise of a Land of Promise.
But when Pharaoh changed his mind and wondered if it actually was such a good idea to let the people of Israel go and lose his workforce, he pursued them to the banks of the Red Sea.
Destruction behind, no way forward ahead, the people of Israel cried out to Moses, “It would have been better to have died at home than out here in the desert!”
Sometimes going back, going home is what we need to do. But sometimes, in the story world and ours today, there is no going back to the way things used to be.
Sometimes, it is wise to stay still and wait upon God, to make a space before jumping in, leaping ahead, to wait for an opening. But sometimes in the story world and ours today, staying still is as ineffective as trying to stop a rapidly flowing stream with our hands.
Sometimes, we have to do what the God of Promise and Spirit of Life is always calling us to do – to Move! Forward! Continue! Onward!
The presence of God, there in the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, moved from the front of the crowd to the back. God’s presence between the people of Israel and Pharaoh’s army behind them.
The people of Israel in the story world and we in ours, both look ahead into the unknown. No clear way ahead, but God making a way out of no-way as the sea parts. Watery death on either side, an unknown, untried way through the parted sea. God at our back behind. “Move! Forward! Onward”, God encourages us, urging us forward.
No going back, no standing still, but forward, forward into this unknown.
I invited us on Sunday to wonder on the unknown before you.
What’s a commitment you want to make so you keep going, keep moving forward? Where do you feel God at your back encouraging you to go?
Some of us last week had a conversation after Derek Chauvin’s trial. We want to commit to our next steps in the work of becoming an anti-racist people and community.
Some of us want to create something, make something new.
Some of us want to have a conversation with others about a topic we care about.
Some of us are called to widen our welcome to others.
Some of us are committed to take our love of nature out into something we can do for the healing of the earth.
Some of us are committed to the work of dying, the work of letting go, walking with an outstretched hand ourselves or with a spouse or loved one into their death.
Some of us want to continue to grow and nurture the connections we have so depended on this year. We have learned more than ever that we can’t do this work alone. We really need each other. We want to step into nurturing those connections with our children, friends, family, new friends.
What about you? If God has your back, what do you want to say yes to?
The children of Israel didn’t find their way into the unknown alone. They did it together.
The Spirit of the Living God is at our backs, calling us to step forward into this amazing new day full of unknown and full of possibility.
What do you want to say yes to?