Pastor Nelda’s Notes

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God’s Got Your back!

I know you have a lot on your mind today. Your family, finances, your health and your career. You feel alone, but you are never alone. Give all your concerns to God. God is our provider, our healer our strength and our shield. God is a way maker.

Our Scripture for Sunday is Exodus 14:19-31. God is present in this passage. The angel of God walks and the cloud of divine presence stands, first at the head of the camp, then at its protector. Previously their role was to lead. Now their role is to protect and confound.

Throughout this passage the Lord acts and speaks and saves. God again takes up the work of creation, now on behalf of God’s people. But like the cloud, this creative work also has a dark side. Beginning requires ending.
As God leads God’s people from slavery to freedom, God makes light in darkness and, by a fierce wind or spirit, rearranges sea, reveals land, and divides waters (Exodus 14:20-21).

The Exodus is the road out from slavery to freedom. It is a new creation. God’s power to create from nothing, from formlessness and void, is the same power by which God saves and transforms. It reveals a path for God’s people and builds walls to protect them from the chaos and death of the sea.

Yet the crossing remains treacherous. Though there is light in this new creation, there is also darkness. This passage helps us to see slavery’s end in vivid, violent detail. Chariots, technologies of conquest, and visible signs of royal power and status, become a trap for Pharaoh and his armies.

When God rearranges sea and land, the Egyptians want to re-capture their former slaves. As they enter between the walls of water, the gaze of God creates panic among them, their chariot wheels turn out, and they cannot retreat. At dawn, the waters return, and as the Egyptians flee, God hurls them into the water. When the Israelites have crossed to safety, they see the bodies of their former masters cast up dead upon the shore.

We can, we must, ask for God to go with us. That is the focus of our worship on Sunday, a recognition that in the difficult times, and in the comfortable ones, God is with us. God goes before and God follows behind. God is a Pillar of Cloud by day and a Pillar of Fire by night.

So, like the people of God on the shores of the Red Sea, let us rejoice that God is with us; when there seemed to be no way, God makes a way. When there seems to be no hope, God is our hope. And God continues to be our hope, the hope we live out in our moving forward, even when lying down and giving up seems like the thing to do.

Praise God!
Join us Sunday as we explore his passage.

“I don’t now how, but I know WHO!”
Grace and Peace,Pastor Nelda

Reverend Dr. Nelda Barrett Murraine is pastor at First United Methodist Church – PO Box 146 – 229 W 4th St. Kennedale, TX 76060

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