It’s been over 40 days since Atlantans started sheltering in place. Lent is 40 days, and this feels like a second long Lent. 40 is a key biblical number. The rains fall in the Genesis flood for 40 days. Jesus spends 40 days in the wilderness, between his baptism and the start of his ministry.
For the Israelites, 40 years is the time that they spent in the desert before entering the Promised Land. During this coronavirus wilderness-wandering, away from our faith home, Exodus feels like ripe scriptural territory for us during these challenging days. So, our next worship series will carry us through the Exodus, past vibrant, hopeful, scary stories of faith and forgetfulness. We kick off this week, with the story of the parting of the Red Sea.
I have been listening to the Dixie Chicks a lot lately. I think it’s the comfort that comes with nostalgia. Plus, during quarantine, there’s hardly anyone who could make me want to dance like these ladies. As I have been thinking about our scripture, I’ve been listening to “Some Days You Gotta Dance”. (Here’s a fun version by the Chicks, with James Taylor.) It may be a little bit of a stretch of a tie to the Exodus story (which kicks off under the rule of a tyrannical, slave-driver king), but it starts off like this:
It was about five ’til five on Friday | We were all getting ready to go
And the boss man started screaming | And his veins began to show
He said you and you come with me | ‘Cause you’re gonna have to stay
My heart was thumping I was jumping | I had to get away
Some days you gotta dance | Live it up when you get the chance
‘Cause when the world doesn’t make no sense |And you’re feeling just a little too tense
Gotta loosen up those chains and dance
The difference between the Israelites and the Dixie Chicks is that when the going gets tough, the Israelites look back on their chains with fondness. They say, “Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians. For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” Join us on Sunday as we think about why we cling so closely to the thing that hold us captive.
Scripture: Exodus 14:10-15:21
Reflection: “The Chains We Know”
In preparation for Sunday, I encourage you to read our whole text. (If you’re feeling adventurous, read all of Exodus 1-15. It’s lively storytelling and will set the stage nicely for what’s to come.) This week’s story is one of freedom, fear, faithfulness, and dancing.
I look forward to sharing it with you,